Wednesday, June 29, 2011


William James Glackens, 1914
William James Glackens (March 13, 1870 – May 22, 1938) graduated from Philadelphia's Central High with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1890. Two of his classmates were fellow artist John Sloan, and noted Art collector Albert Barnes. Later on, Glackens helped Barnes start what became one of the most famous art collections in America. But first, Glackens started his career in art out by illustrating for various newspapers, books, and magazines. He was considered an 'artist reporter' and did work for the Philadelphia Record, the Philadelphia Press and other papers in the early 1900's. Reporters would rush to the scene, make a fast sketch and then later finish it from memory before bringing it to the press. At the same time, Glackens was studying painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with contemporaries George Luks, John Sloan and Everett Shinn. It was at the Academy where Glackens and his friends met master teacher and artist, Robert Henri. Henri had a profound influence on them. These artists, together with George Bellows, Ernest Lawson and others would later become known as the 'Ashcan painters' because they often drew their subject matter from real life, urban life. The Ashcan School was not really a school, but a way of painting. The artists in this movement wanted to show turn-of-the-century New York City as it was; through portraits of daily life in the city, not idealized versions. It's been said that Urban Realism was the first important American art movement of the early twentieth century.

Blind Beggar in Store
charcoal heightened with white gouache
From Philadelphia Museum of Art at

After school Glackens became an artist-reporter for the Philadelphia Record. In 1892 he left that publication and began illustrating for the Philadelphia Press, where he covered various subjects. He then began taking classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He was not a steady pupil, as Forbes Watson asserts in an article written in 1923: “So much impression did the various instructors make upon him that today he can hardly remember who taught there when he was a pupil.” John Sloan also attended the Academy, and he introduced Glackens to Robert Henri. Henri began to arrange meetings at his studio to have discussions and give artistic criticism.
In 1895, Glackens traveled to Europe with several fellow painters, including Sloan and Henri. He first visited Holland where he studied the Dutch masters. They then moved to Paris where Glackens rented a studio for a year with Henri. Such a trip was common for artists of the time who wished to establish themselves in the artworld. It was Glackens’s first trip to Paris, but for the others it was a return trip. While in Paris, Glackens painted independently, but did not attend any schools. He returned to America in 1896 to work in New York. Later in his life, Glackens returned periodically to paint in Paris and the South of France.
Upon settling in New York in 1896, Glackens attained a job as an artist for the New York World. He got this position through his friend George Luks who was also an illustrator. Glackens soon became a sketch artist for the New York Herald. He also worked for various magazines as an illustrator.
In particular, Glackens illustrated for McClure's Magazine. McClure’s sent him to Cuba to make a series of drawings covering the Spanish-American War. When he returned, Glackens continued to illustrate for magazines, although his real passion was in painting. In 1901, he exhibited at the Allen Gallery with Henri and Sloan, and began to gain notice for his artwork.
In 1904 Glackens married Edith Dimock. She was also an artist, and they lived together in New York.

Hammerstein's Roof Garden, 1901

While establishing his reputation as a graphic artist, Glackens also began to paint in oils and was a regular participant in the Pennsylvania Academy's annual exhibitions. Hammerstein's Roof Garden (above), a cabaret scene, was his first important oil painting and was exhibited at the Allen Gallery in New York.
(Encylopaedia Britannica 2004)

William James Glackens
Glackens began to associate with a group of artists now known as The Eight, or the Ashcan Group. They included Robert Henri, Arthur B. Davies, Maurice Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, William Glackens, Everett Shinn, John French Sloan, and George Luks. These men did not create the name themselves, but after their exhibition of 1908, it became their unofficial title. They decided to hold a separate exhibition after being continually rejected from the National Academy’s events. It was a way to reject the controlling group's rigid definition of artistic beauty. Their exhibit was well received and was sent on tour as a traveling show curated by Sloan. They gained national recognition and were invited to exhibit at many institutions. Most of the Eight also participated in the "Exhibition of Independent Artists" in 1910, an attempt to break down the exclusivity of the academy.
The Eight are known for their realist style and are considered key figures in the realist movement. They depicted urban scenes and welcomed artistic freedom. Like Glackens, they were journalists, writers, or illustrators before becoming painters. They chose to continue with the style of illustration, which emphasized immediacy as well as community and interaction. Glackens was an integral part of the group. The “genre aspects” of Ashcan art are evident in his work of the time.

Chez Mouquin
Oil on canvas, 1905
The Art Institute of Chicago

Chez Mouquin, above, is arguably Glackens’s most celebrated painting. It is set in the well-known restaurant regularly visited by many of Glackens' associates. The painting is a portrait of James B. Moore, who was a restaurant owner. It depicts him and Jeanne Mouquin at a table. He is drinking, while the lady is turned away looking uninterested. They are reflected in the mirror behind them, along with a large crowd of people in the room. The painting is often compared to those of Degas, but “the sense of despair in Degas’s picture is replaced in the Glackens by a buoyant 'joie de vivre'.” He portrays realist subject matter, the urban life, but does so with happiness and humor.

The Shoppers
Oil on canvas, 1907
The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia

Two grand canvases dominated William Glackens's wall at The Eight exhibition: The Shoppers (above) and Chez Mouquin, originally titled At Mouquin's. In both paintings friends posed as elegant New Yorkers engaged in fashionable contemporary pursuits. The compositional sophistication and psychological complexity of these paintings prompted comparisons with the work of Manet. Glackens's other paintings in the exhibition depicted busy urban parks in Madrid and New York, as well as the more proletarian crowds at Brighton Beach. Less intense than the two large scale figure paintings, their dense and varied activity recalled some of the magazine illustrations he was making at the time.

Portsmouth Harbor New Hampshire
Oil on canvas, 1909
Private collection

Skating in Central Park
Oil on canvas, c. 1910
Private collection

After the Macbeth exhibition, Glackens moved away from making broadly brushed paintings in a dark toned palette toward manipulating stitchlike strokes of paint in brilliantly vibrating hues. Skating in Central Park, above, with its choppy brushwork and blue shadows, could have been inspired by the painting technique of the impressionists Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir, although the lively figures are distinctively Glackens's.
By 1910 Glackens began to focus on “highly personal coloristic style” instead of Ashcan ideas. His work was often compared to that of Renoir. It is said that “although he identified with The Eight, who struggled to infuse a lusty spirit into a nearly moribund American art, it was for a brief time only, because his art could not develop within the limits of Ashcan philosophy.” While Glackens continued to paint in a realist style emphasizing a single moment in time and real people, his art experienced a shift that distanced him from his fellow Ashcans.

March Day - Washington Square
Oil on canvas, 1912
Private collection

Italo-American Celebration, Washington Square
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

One of Glackens' favorite subjects was Washington Square Park (above), an old city square that separated Greenwich Village, a working-class neighborhood where many Italian immigrants had settled, and the well-to-do neighborhoods north of the square. Glackens drew and painted the view from his studio on the south edge of the square, focusing on the various types of people who frequented the park—children playing, boys with sleds, young tots with their mothers or nannies, people waiting for the bus, groundskeepers, casual strollers, people hurrying through the park on their way to or from work. Glackens' scenes record the mixing of social classes that occurred in New York City, as immigrants were transformed into American citizens.
In his more than twenty paintings of Washington Square between 1909 and 1914, Glackens often repeats certain figures and motifs. He frequently used the tree at the center of the picture to anchor his compositions, many of which depict the same corner as in the New Britain painting. The woman walking with her hands in a muff also appear in several pictures.
(Metropolitan Museum of Art).
What is more obvious is the artist's interest in using the Impressionist style to suggest weather conditions—rain, snow, mud. In the New Britain picture he uses thick brushstrokes of brown paint to suggest the heavy mud that comes with melting snow. The mud, however, is not just made up of one tone, but has other colors—reds, blues, greens—mixed in the brown brushstrokes. Similarly, the snow is not pure white, but has other tones mixed throughout. When he exhibited his Washington Square works in New York's Folsom Gallery in 1913, critics praised his colorful style and the convincing use of brushwork to suggest cloudy, misty weather.
After 1915 Glackens became most famous for his Impressionist still lifes and figure studies, which were often compared to those of the French Impressionist Pierre-August Renoir.
(Condensed from a larger manuscript written by Margaret Stenz for the museum's collection catalogue - New Britain Museum of American Art at
Glackens is often criticized for his similarity to Renoir. Some even call him an imitator. After the Exhibition of Independent Artists in 1910, Glackens’s style shift was quickly compared to Renoir’s style. It is said that during the 1920s and 1930s “his once vigorous artistic personality had been blunted by too close imitation of Renoir’s late style.” Glackens’s interest in color likens him most to Renoir; Watson claims Glackens to have a “rich palette akin to Renoir’s to express his pure delight in color.”
Glackens is compared to Pascin because they were both “among the best illustrators of their day.” They both used life for their subjects, and also cared about portraying how they view the world. But one strong similarity is the way they both are able to see and emphasize the “humorous aspects” of life.
Glackens died in Westport, Connecticut on May 22, 1938. His legacy is greatly linked to that of the Eight. Although having distanced himself from some of their ideals, he continued to be considered an integral part of the realist movement in American art.

Note: I found these images (above) from all over the web. If you own a photo’s copyright and think this page violates Fair Use, please contact me.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


The law embodies the story of a nation's development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics. In order to know what it is, we must know what it has been, and what it tends to become.
There are two errors equally to be avoided both. One is that of supposing, because an idea seems very familiar and natural to us, that it has always been so. Many things which we take for granted have had to be laboriously fought out or thought out in past times. The other mistake is the opposite one of asking too much of history. We start with man full grown. It may be assumed that the earliest barbarian, whose practices are to be considered, had a good many of the same feelings and passions as us.
It is commonly known that the early forms of legal procedure were grounded in vengeance. Modern writers have thought that the Roman law started from the blood feud, and all the authorities agree that the German law begun in that way. The feud led to the composition, at first optional, then compulsory, by which the feud was bought off. The gradual encroachment of the composition may be traced in the Anglo-Saxon laws, and the feud was pretty well broken up, though not extinguished, by the time of William the Conqueror. The killings and house-burnings of an earlier day became the appeals of mayhem and arson. The appeals de pace et plagis and of mayhem became, or rather were in substance, the action of trespass which is still familiar to lawyers. But as the compensation recovered in the appeal was the alternative of vengeance, we might expect to find its scope limited to the scope of vengeance. Vengeance imports a feeling of blame, and an opinion, however distorted by passion, that a wrong has been done. It can hardly go very far beyond the case of a harm intentionally inflicted: even a dog distinguishes between being stumbled over and being kicked.
The early English appeals for personal violence seem to have been confined to intentional wrongs. Glanvill mentions melees, blows, and wounds,—all forms of intentional violence. In the fuller description of such appeals given by Bracton it is made quite clear that they were based on intentional assaults. The appeal de pace et plagis laid an intentional assault, described the nature of the arms used, and the length and depth of the wound. The appellor also had to show that he immediately raised the hue and cry. So when Bracton speaks of the lesser offences, which were not sued by way of appeal, he instances only intentional wrongs, such as blows with the fist, flogging, wounding, insults, and so forth. The cause of action in the cases of trespass reported in the earlier Year Books and in the Abbreviatio Plaeitorum is always an intentional wrong. It was only at a later day, and after argument, that trespass was extended so as to embrace harms which were foreseen, but which were not the intended consequence of the defendant's act. Thence again it extended to unforeseen injuries.
The first requirement of a sound body of law is that it should correspond with the actual feelings and demands of the community, whether right or wrong. If people would gratify the passion of revenge outside of the law, if the law did not help them, the law has no choice but to satisfy the craving itself, and thus avoid the greater evil of private retribution. At the same time, this passion is not one which we encourage, either as private individuals or as lawmakers. Moreover, it does not cover the whole ground. There are crimes which do not excite it, and we should naturally expect that the most important purposes of punishment would be coextensive with the whole field of its application. It remains to be discovered whether such a general purpose exists, and if so what it is. Different theories still divide opinion upon the subject.
It has been thought that the purpose of punishment is to reform the criminal; that it is to deter the criminal and others from committing similar crimes; and that it is retribution. Few would now maintain that the first of these purposes was the only one. If it were, every prisoner should be released as soon as it appears clear that he will never repeat his offence, and if he is incurable he should not be punished at all. Of course it would be hard to reconcile the punishment of death with this doctrine.
The main struggle lies between the other two. On the one side is the notion that there is a mystic bond between wrong and punishment; on the other, that the infliction of pain is only a means to an end. Hegel, one of the great expounders of the former view, puts it, in his quasi mathematical form, that, wrong being the negation of right, punishment is the negation of that negation, or retribution. Thus the punishment must be equal, in the sense of proportionate to the crime, because its only function is to destroy it. Others, without this logical apparatus, are content to rely upon a felt necessity that suffering should follow wrong-doing.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it. This substantive principle is sometimes put in the form of a rule of evidence, that everyone is presumed to know the law. It has accordingly been defended by Austin and others, on the ground of difficulty of proof. If justice requires the fact to be ascertained, the difficulty of doing so is no ground for refusing to try. But everyone must feel that ignorance of the law could never be admitted as an excuse, even if the fact could be proved by sight and hearing in every case. Furthermore, now that parties can testify, it may be doubted whether a man's knowledge of the law is any harder to investigate than many questions which are gone into. The difficulty, such as it is, would be met by throwing the burden of proving ignorance on the lawbreaker.
"Malice aforethought means any one or more of the following states of mind.....”:
(a) An intention to cause the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, any person, whether such person is the person actually killed or not; "
(b) Knowledge that the act which causes death will probably cause the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, some person, whether such person is the person actually killed or not, although such knowledge is accompanied by indifference whether death or grievous bodily harm is caused or not, or by a wish that it may not be caused; "
(c) An intent to commit any felony whatever; "
(d) An intent to oppose by force any officer of justice on his way to, in, or returning from the execution of the duty of arresting, keeping in custody, or imprisoning any person whom he is lawfully entitled to arrest, keep in custody, or imprison, or the duty of keeping the peace or dispersing an unlawful assembly, provided that the offender has notice that the person killed is such an officer so employed."
Malice, as used in common speech, includes intent, and something more. When an act is said to be done with intent to do harm, it is meant that a wish for the harm is the motive of the act. Intent, however, is perfectly consistent with the harm being regretted as such, and being wished only as a means to something else. But when an act is said to be done maliciously, it is meant, not only that a wish for the harmful effect is the motive, but also that the harm is wished for its own sake, or, as Austin would say with more accuracy, for the sake of the pleasurable feeling which knowledge of the suffering caused by the act would excite. Now it is apparent from Sir James Stephen's enumeration that of these two elements of malice the intent alone is material to murder. It is just as much murder to shoot a sentry for the purpose of releasing a friend, as to shoot him because you hate him. Malice, in the definition of murder, has not the same meaning as in common speech, and, in view of the considerations just mentioned, it has been thought to mean criminal intention.
But intent again will be found to resolve itself into two things; foresight that certain consequences will follow from an act, and the wish for those consequences working as a motive which induces the act. The question then is, whether intent, in its turn, cannot be reduced to a lower term. Sir James Stephen's statement shows that it can be, and that knowledge that the act will probably cause death, that is, foresight of the consequences of the act, is enough in murder as in tort.
What is foresight of consequences? It is a picture of a future state of things called up by knowledge of the present state of things, the future being viewed as standing to the present in the relation of effect to cause. If the known present state of things is such that the act done will very certainly cause death, and the probability is a matter of common knowledge, one who does the act, knowing the present state of things, is guilty of murder, and the law will not inquire whether he did actually foresee the consequences or not. The test of foresight is not what this very criminal foresaw, but what a man of reasonable prudence would have foreseen.
To make an act which causes death murder, then, the actor ought, on principle, to know, or have notice of the facts which make the act dangerous. There are certain exceptions to this principle which will be stated presently, but they have less application to murder than to some smaller statutory crimes. The general rule prevails for the most part in murder.
But furthermore, on the same principle, the danger which in fact exists under the known circumstances ought to be of a class which a man of reasonable prudence could foresee. Ignorance of a fact and inability to foresee a consequence has the same effect on blameworthiness. If a consequence cannot be foreseen, it cannot be avoided. But there is this practical difference that whereas, in most cases, the question of knowledge is a question of the actual condition of the defendant's consciousness, the question of what he might have foreseen is determined by the standard of the prudent man, that is, by general experience. As the purpose is to compel men to abstain from dangerous conduct, and not merely to restrain them from evil inclinations, the law requires them at their peril to know the teachings of common experience, just as it requires them to know the law.
(Adapted from Project Gutenberg's The Common Law, by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Afghan Girl
Nasir Bagh refugee camp, 1984
Peshawar, Pakistan

Steve McCurry was born in Philadelphia, and graduated from Pennsylvania State University. After working at a newspaper for two years, he left to freelance in India.
His career was launched when, wearing native clothing, he crossed the Pakistan border into rebel-controlled Afghanistan just before the Russian invasion. When he emerged, he had rolls of film sewn into his clothes that contained some of the world's first images of the conflict. His coverage won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad Showing Courage and Enterprise. He has won numerous awards including the National Press Photographers' Association award for Magazine Photographer of the Year and an unprecedented four first prizes in the World Press Photo contest.

Steve McCurry
Author Ahmet Sel

McCurry has covered many areas of international and civil conflict, including the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, Beirut, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Gulf War and continuing coverage of Afghanistan. His work has been featured in magazines around the globe. His reportage for National Geographic has included Tibet, Afghanistan, Burma, India, Iraq, Yemen, Buddhism, and the temples of Angkor Wat.
A high point in his career was finding Sharbat Gula, the previously unidentified Afghan refugee girl, whose picture has been described as one of the most recognizable photographs in the world.
Sharbat Gula’s piercing gaze on the cover of National Geographic came to symbolize the plight of refugees around the world. Her identity was unknown until she was found again in 2002.
It was a long and a tedious journey to find this girl who is basically a woman today in a war torn country of Afghanistan. McCurry stated that he had searched though the whole of the 90’s but there was no sign of her, and eventually it was after 9/11 when he had the opportunity to intensify the search for this green eyed girl. After Steve found her, he felt like it was a miracle and that this whole journey to find her was very emotional indeed. When he was asked about Afghanistan and the feeling that pulls him to this country every time, he stated that this country and its people have always been inspirational to him. It is his specialty of color-saturated images foreground the human in times of war, which he brings out in photographs. And foremost it is the sense of respect and responsibility towards his subjects that makes his work incomparable.

The Afghan Girl
June 1985 issue of National Geographic magazine

In January a team from National Geographic Television & Film's EXPLORER brought McCurry to Pakistan to search for the girl with green eyes. They showed her picture around Nasir Bagh, the still standing refugee camp near Peshawar where the photograph had been made. A teacher from the school claimed to know her name. A young woman named Alam Bibi was located in a village nearby, but McCurry decided it wasn't her.
No, said a man who got wind of the search. He knew the girl in the picture. They had lived at the camp together as children. She had returned to Afghanistan years ago, he said, and now lived in the mountains near Tora Bora. He would go get her.
It took three days for her to arrive. Her village is a six-hour drive and three-hour hike across a border that swallows lives. When McCurry saw her walk into the room, he thought to himself: This is her.
Names have power, so let us speak of hers. Her name is Sharbat Gula, and she is Pashtun, that most warlike of Afghan tribes. It is said of the Pashtun that they are only at peace when they are at war, and her eyes—then and now—burn with ferocity. She is 28, perhaps 29, or even 30. No one, not even she, knows for sure. Stories shift like sand in a place where no records exist.
(Cathy Newman nationalgeographic. com)

Afghan Girl before and after, 1984 (L) and 2002 (R)

“Even after all these years, I still find the image powerful. Her eyes have retained their fire and intensity. I think she's still quite beautiful despite all the hardship she had to endure.
It was one of those cases, where all the elements of the picture came together in a magical way; the light, the background, what she was wearing, her body language and her expression. I had a good sense that this would make a powerful, emotionally charged portrait, but it didn’t really hit me until I was looking at it in print. I don’t think a week has gone by for 15 or however many years that I still don’t get requests from people, trying to get information on her.
Over the years, we received so many letters and emails, I was determined to find her again. Finding her 17 years later made a big impact on my life. When we found her, we all knew it was her. They wanted to do a scientific check by examining a picture of the iris of her eye against the iris of the original picture, but we all knew it was her.”
(Steve McCurry Interview at
There is probably no photographer alive with quite as recognizable a photograph as the Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry. Originally published by National Geographic Magazine in 1985, Steve’s icon graced the cover …the most famous cover shot of all time….obviously it is the EYES that just kill us….stop us dead in our tracks….and even though we have seen this photograph thousands of times in the last 25 years, we still have to stop and take a look….photographically it is just a simple portrait…..taken straight on in just flat light (in a refugee tent)….there is nothing so remarkable about the picture, until her gaze simply bores a hole into your heart….
(David Alan Harvey, Magnum Photographer at

Steve Mc Curry at Union Square , New York
Author David Alan Harvey
Magnum Photographer

Friday, June 24, 2011


Police corruption is a specific form of police misconduct designed to obtain financial benefits, other personal gain, and/or career advancement for a police officer or officers in exchange for not pursuing, or selectively pursuing, an investigation or arrest. One common form of police corruption is soliciting and/or accepting bribes in exchange for not reporting organized drug or prostitution rings or other illegal activities. Another example is police officers flouting the police code of conduct in order to secure convictions of suspects — for example, through the use of falsified evidence. More rarely, police officers may deliberately and systematically participate in organized crime themselves.
Police officers have various opportunities to gain personally from their status and authority as law enforcement officers. The Knapp Commission, which investigated corruption in the New York City Police Department in the early 1970s, divided corrupt officers into two types: meat-eaters, who "aggressively misuse their police powers for personal gain," and grass-eaters, who "simply accept the payoffs that the happenstances of police work throw their way."
The sort of corrupt acts that have been committed by police officers have been classified as follows:
a. Corruption of authority: police officers receiving free drinks, meals, and other gratuities.
b. Kickbacks: receiving payment from referring people to other businesses. This can include, for instance, contractors and tow truck operators.
c. Opportunistic theftfrom arrestees and crime victims or their corpses.
d. Shakedowns: accepting bribes for not pursuing a criminal violation.
e. Protection of illegal activity: being "on the take", accepting payment from the operators of illegals, casino establishments such as brothels, or drug dealers to protect them from law enforcement and keep them in .
f. Direct criminal activities of law enforcement officers themselves.
g. Internal payoffs: prerogatives and perquisites of law enforcement organizations, such as shifts and holidays, being bought and sold.
h. The "frameup": the planting or adding to evidence, especially in drug cases.
i. "Fixing operation. ": undermining criminal prosecutions by losing traffic tickets or failing to appear at judicial hearings, for bribery or as a personal favor.
(wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Police misconduct and corruption are abuses of police authority. Sometimes used interchangeably, the terms refer to a wide range of procedural, criminal, and civil violations. Misconduct is the broadest category. Misconduct is "procedural" when it refers to police who violate police department rules and regulations; "criminal" when it refers to police who violate state and federal laws; "unconstitutional" when it refers to police who violate a citizen's CIVIL RIGHTS; or any combination thereof. Common forms of misconduct are excessive use of physical or DEADLY FORCE, discriminatory arrest, physical or verbal harassment, and selective enforcement of the law.
(Police Corruption and Misconduct - History, Contemporary Problems, Further Readings - Civil, Federal, Law, Officers, Rights, and Criminal at
As with many disciplines, theories about how police corruption comes about have flourished over the years. The three theories that are often in evidence in the criminal justice field are the society at large theory, the structural/affiliation theory and the rotten apple hypothesis. Each of these theories takes a different perspective about how police corruption comes about and each holds merit in its own right.
The society at large theory, brought to light by O.W. Wilson, maintains that the societal structure is at fault for police corruption. Under this particular theory, police corruption is the result of certain prevalent actions of society. As Wilson explained it to citizens of Chicago, "the same kind of special consideration" that citizens were "buying for small amounts, could, by the same logic, be purchased by criminals and crime syndicates for larger amounts" (as cited by Delattre). When a citizen, as a matter of hospitality or in exchange for some small consideration or favor, gives an officer a gratuity, that citizen has contributed to the corruption problem by opening the door for an officer to then accept larger amounts or goods in exchange for bigger favors. Another similar belief within the society at large theory is that officers become corrupt because of a belief that other sectors of the system are corrupt. If, for instance, officers see judges taking bribes to thwart justice, they might come to the conclusion that if a judge can do profit from such behavior, so too can they.
The structural/affiliation theory, first presented by Arthur Niederhoffer, states that officers become indoctrinated into corruption by watching the actions of veterans and superiors. Officers do not start out corrupt, but the deviant behavior and the response to such behavior in the law enforcement field starts a corruption cycle. Rookies are taught the behavior, and the acceptance of such behavior, by veterans who learned the behavior from yet others, and if not stopped, the rookies will later pass the behavior on to an entirely new crop of officers. Another important element to this theory is the belief that secrecy acts as a breeding ground for corruption.
The final widely accepted theory is the rotten apple hypothesis. This theory maintains that police corruption is the result of putting into a policing position individuals with an already established propensity for corruption. Subscribers to this theory believe that "indiscriminate hiring, inadequate training and poor supervision" erode personnel standards which ultimately results in widespread corruption within a department (Delattre).
(Senedra Glenn, Yahoo! Contributor Network at
Far more prevalent than the accepting of bribes is the fabrication of evidence. This form of corruption is to the police what charity is to the Salvation Army. It is second nature. No matter how honest you might be right now, no matter how religious you think you are, or how much personal integrity you think you may have, within weeks of joining the police force you will be standing in the witness box, swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, knowing full well that you intend telling a pack of lies. The reason for this radical change in your nature is known as peer group pressure. The police force of every nation is corrupt, rotten through and through, and for you to remain decent and honest in an organization which is corrupt is impossibility. You will either resign or go with the flow.
Some do try to resist the system. They report corruption to their superior officers and suddenly find themselves on shit duties. Poor fools, it hadn't occurred to them that their superior officers rose through the rotten ranks and are every bit as corrupt as the men they now supervise.
Nothing changes and nothing will change so long as the men at the VERY top of the force are corrupt. No matter how concerned and sincere these men appear to be when interviewed on TV, ask yourself how it's possible for a man to remain in the police force for twenty-plus years, to witness corruption at every level in every department, to hear canteen gossip all day and every day, and yet remain oblivious to anything and everything of an illegal nature that's taking place under his very nose. This man and dozens like him reached the top by playing the game, by not making waves, and by turning a blind eye to the thousands of routine perjuries and illegal atrocities being committed by his workmates on a daily basis.
When he reaches the top, is he suddenly going to go straight? How can he when his colleagues remember his bent history? The very first time he tries to reprimand an officer for accepting a bribe or for fabricating evidence, the miscreant simply reminds his boss of the times he did precisely the same thing!
How can a Commissioner say to his Commanders and Superintendents, "I insist that you do the job honestly" when they recall the same man entering the witness box and lying his head off? Not once, but hundreds of times.
(Adapted from Police Corruption by John Hornblower at
Authorities make pronouncements about how officers "shall" or "will" behave and what they "shall not" or "will not" do. The language is in the imperative voice with an expectation that officers will follow these ethical imperatives because they have been officially stated. The motivation for following is similar to obeying the law.
Laws must be obeyed and ethical principles should be heeded, but the two are not the same. The legal model assumes that there is only one system of values, the authority based system, and that assumption is false. Notice the change in wording from "ethics" to "values". The two are not the same, but they can't be separated.
There are several value systems by which people decide right and wrong, and the authority value system is only one means by which people build ethics. Each system exists in all people at varying degrees in different circumstances and times in their lives. For example, one system may predominate at home and another at work. Likewise, the values most affecting a rookie are not the same as the predominant values in an officer of ten years.
New officers come into law enforcement with different backgrounds and value systems. Since the nature of police work is enforcing laws, it is safe to assume that the authority system is strong in them. However, they soon feel the power of the tribal value system. Phrases such as "the police family", "the police brotherhood", and "the blue code of silence" reflect the tribal system.
Briefly, there are three universal characteristics of tribal values. First, tribal values focus on an identifiable group. Membership in the group provides emotional support and security. Second, members are expected to observe a certain way of life in which they find emotional identity. Third, the tribe needs an enemy.
Every tribe must have a common enemy to provide strong motivation to live and work in concert. Members form an "us versus them" attitude. They feel that their very survival is at stake-strong motivation indeed. This fear in each member is a strong reason why members submit to behavior demands of the tribe and change their ethics to allow them to stay in the tribe.
Without question, police officers have an "us versus them" attitude. Most people just assume that criminals are the enemy, but sadly, criminals are not the only enemy. Police administrators, city administrators, the media and the general public are enemies for many officers even more than criminals. Officers see more threat from these sources daily than they do criminals. In addition administrators, media and citizens discourage officers from viewing criminals as enemies. After all, they are citizens fully protected by the Constitution and the laws of the land. Officers should treat these errant people as fellow citizens-even friends-who have just made a mistake.
(Adapted from Police Stress The Police Tribe: Code of Silence at

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Edward William Cooke (British, 1811-1880) was born in Pentonville, London, the son of well-known line engraver George Cooke; his uncle, William Bernard Cooke (1778-1855), was also a line engraver of note, and Edward was raised in the company of artists. He was a precocious draughtsman and a skilled engraver from an early age, displayed an equal preference for marine subjects and published his 'Shipping and Craft' – a series of accomplished engravings – when he was 18, in 1829. He benefited from the advice of many of his father’s associates, notably Clarkson Stanfield (whose principal marine follower he became) and David Roberts. Cooke began painting in oils in 1833, took formal lessons from James Stark in 1834 and first exhibited at the Royal Academy and British Institution in 1835, by which time his style was essentially formed.
(Wikipedia at

The Undercliff at Bonchurch Isle Of Wight

He went on to travel and paint with great industry at home and abroad, indulging/feeding his love of the 17th-century Dutch marine artists with a visit to Holland in 1837. He returned regularly over the next 23 years, studying the effects of the coastal landscape and light, as well as the works of the country's Old Masters, resulting in highly successful paintings. He went on to travel in Scandinavia, Spain, and North Africa and, above all, to Venice.
(National Maritime Museum, Greenwich at
Edward Cooke arrived in Rome with his sister Laura on December 23rd 1845. Except for a two week excursion to Tivoli, he remained in the city until May the following year. Rome was an unusual destination for a marine painter, and Cooke wrote to his family stating that he was 'taking it coolly' and adding that he had 'intended to paint one or two pictures for the Academy whilst here but it was impossible - 1st because I have been out of spirits and poorly, 2ndly the multitude of objects of intense interest have so completely seized all my thoughts since I left Genoa and the sea, that I seem for a time to have lost all my impressions of marine subjects and effects'.

Vesuvius, Catalan and Paranzella
Oil on canvas, 1847
Private collection
From ARC at

Dutch Yachting on the Zuider Zee, 1848
From NMM, Greenwich at

Above, the artist has shown a Dutch man-of-war on the horizon to the left, port-broadside on, with small coastal craft sailing in front of it through waves caused by the fresh breeze. The vessel in the centre foreground of the picture is probably a boeier, a round Dutch craft with a deep rail and a curved spoon bow, with two sailors looking out to the left towards the man-of-war, leaning right into the wind. Immediately behind to the right is a yacht flying the Dutch flag and pennant. More shipping can be seen on the horizon to the far right.
(National Maritime Museum, Greenwich at
E. W. Cooke first visited in Venice on August 26th 1850, recording in his diary that 'when the boat entered the Grand Canal, after passing the Salute the Moon rose and revealed the glories of the scene...the Piazza exceeded all that I could possibly have imagined'. The city was particularly captivating to an artist like Cooke who revelled in painting seascapes and boats as well as landscapes and topographical scenes. He returned to Venice on many subsequent sketching trips, making his last visit in 1877. Cooke made a particular study of the variety of different vessels to be found on the waterways of the city, displaying an understanding of their structure which is not necessarily evident in the work of other artists who specialized in Venetian subjects.

The Lagoon of Venice
Oil on canvas, 1853
Private collection
From ARC at

The Pier and Bay Of St. Ives, Cornwall
Oil on canvas, 1853
Private collection
From ARC at

A North Sea Breeze on the Dutch Coast, 1855
From NMM, Greenwich at

Inspired by Dutch 17th-century marine painters, the artist was very interested in creating scenes of Holland and Dutch shore life. He gave this work, above, the secondary title, 'Scheveling fishermen hauling the 'pinck' out of the surf'. In it he has included Scheveningen church tower in reference to the earlier masters, who often included it as a landmark. Scheveningen, on the northern tip of the Hague on the North Sea coast, has a wide beach very suitable for operating fishing pinks.
The man in the foreground to the left carries the anchor ashore over his right shoulder and holds the shore-line attached to the boat in his left hand. The Dutch vessel which dominates the picture is in port-quarter view and the artist has created the impression of wind through the surf and flapping sails. A pink was a small but substantial Dutch fishing vessel rigged with a square mainsail and sometimes with a square foresail on a small mast in the eyes of the boat. They were broad and flat-bottomed to assist stability and beaching and a substantial fleet of them were associated with Scheveningen. One man in the water holds the rope controlling the boat as he prepares to haul it ashore. There are eight men in the boat, which is pitched at an acute angle, and they lower the sails and are busy with its landing, with two other figures in the surf. The artist has invested this commonplace fishing scene with the drama of human struggle against the elements. The rigging and other gear is carefully observed.
The artist made his basic studies in the open air and on his visit to Holland in 1855, the year of this painting, he recorded in his diary for October that the sea was very rough and that he 'pottered about the strand, (and) got some sketches'.
(National Maritime Museum, Greenwich at

Trabaccoli Carrying Wood
Oil on canvas, 1859
Private collection
From ARC at

E. W. Cooke left England in September 1860, travelling through France with another artist, Robert Bateman. On reaching Marseilles they boarded a steamer to Barcelona and then took another boat which sailed to Tortosa via Monserrat and Tarragona. Cooke and his companion then travelled overland to Valencia and Madrid also visiting Alicante, Murcia and Cartagena. By January 30th they had reached Granada where Cooke stayed for over two weeks before taking an excursion to Gibraltar and Tangiers.

A Calm Day on the Scheldt, 1870
Private Collection

Steeple Rock, Kynance Cove, Lizard, Cornwall, Low Water
Oil on canvas, 1873
Provenance Mr Blockow Esq., London1891
Purchased by Lord Michelham, Hamptons, 1926
From ARC at at

E. W. Cooke visited Egypt in the winter of 1873-4, travelling to Brindisi where he boarded the Simla steamer. En route he met John Fowler and Richard Owen and travelled with them for part of the way. All three stayed in Alexandria in early January before Cooke set off down the Nile on a dahabieh (or houseboat) named the Queen Victoria, visiting Feshan, Sohag, Luxor, Karnak, Aswan and various other sites on the way. Cooke sketched as he sailed down the river, and his drawings demonstrate his particular interests in botany and in the variety of sailing vessels to be found on the Nile. According to John Munday, Cooke's 'pencil studies of Egyptian subjects (there is a good example in the Royal Academy collection) show his careful assembly of references, the architecture, palm trees, grouping of figures, camels, boats and landscape, are of course drawn with possible future needs in mind. He worked at his oil sketches in uncomfortable conditions and his scientific interests dictated some of the subjects'.

View Of St. Agnes, Scilly Isles, 1880
From Wikipedia at

Cooke became a widower early in life, and died at his residence, Glen Andred, Groombridge, near Tunbridge Wells, on 4 Jan. 1880, leaving several sons and daughters. He was a member of various learned and scientific societies, the Alpine Club, honorary associate of the Institute of British Architects, of the Royal Academy of Stockholm, and of the Accademia delle Belle Arti, Venice. He exhibited altogether two hundred and forty- seven pictures; i.e. one hundred and twenty- nine at the Royal Academy, one hundred and fifteen at the British Institution, and three in Suffolk Street. There are by him two pictures in the National Gallery, 'Dutch Boats in Calm,' engraved by I. Jeavons, and ' The Boat-house,' engraved by S. Bradshaw…..
(Art Journal, 1869, manuscript notes in the British Museum, from WIKISOURCE at

Gosport, flag ship saluting
Engraving and etching
Source Emmet Collection of Manuscripts
From NYPL Digital Library at

Cooke was an extremely accomplished draughtsman of ships, their gear and rigging, hull shapes and characteristics as well as of architectural subjects. The thousands of sketches made in the course of his working life were mounted on cards filed in solander boxes in his studio by subject giving a formidable reference library which to call when wanting details for paintings. He died in 1880

Note: I found these images (above) from all over the web. If you own a photo’s copyright and think this page violates Fair Use, please contact me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Roger Fenton
Self-Portrait, February 1852
Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York
From NGA, Washington, DC at

Roger Fenton was born in Crimble Hall, Heap, Bury, Lancashire, 28 March 1819. His grandfather was a wealthy cotton manufacturer and banker, his father a banker and Member of Parliament. Fenton was the fourth of seven children by his father's first marriage. His father had 10 more children by his second wife.
In 1838 Fenton went to University College London where he graduated in 1840 with a "first class" Bachelor of Arts degree, having studied English, mathematics, Greek and Latin. In 1841, he began to study law at University College, evidently sporadically as he did not qualify as a solicitor until 1847, in part because he had become interested in studying to be a painter. In Yorkshire in 1843 Fenton married Grace Elizabeth Maynard, presumably after his first sojourn in Paris (his passport was issued in 1842) where he may briefly have studied painting in the studio of Paul Delaroche. When he registered as a copyist in the Louvre in 1844 he named his teacher as the history and portrait painter Michel Martin Drolling, who taught at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, but Fenton's name does not appear in the records of that school. By 1847 Fenton had returned to London where he continued to study painting under the tutelage of the history painter Charles Lucy, who became his friend and with whom, starting in 1850, he served on the board of the North London School of Drawing and Modeling. In 1849, 1850, and 1851 he exhibited paintings in the annual exhibitions of the Royal Academy.

Queen Victoria, 11 May 1854
(Before the cage crinoline became fashionable)
Commissioned by Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert re-enact their wedding

The Cloisters, Tintern Abbey
From NGA, Washington, DC at

Fenton himself photographed Tintern Abbey, and his landscapes reveal a reverence for nature that echoes Wordsworth's passion. These lines also suggest Fenton's belief that the perceptive eye of the camera could record "all the mighty world." Always exploring new subjects and testing the limits of his practice, Fenton photographed Britain's ruined abbeys and stately homes, Russian architecture, romantic landscapes, the collections of the British Museum, the Crimean War, the royal family, as well as "Orientalist scenes" and still lifes.
(National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC at
The photographic career of Roger Fenton (1819-1869) lasted only eleven years, but during that time he became the most famous photographer in Britain. Part of the second generation of photographers who came to maturity in the 1850s—only a decade after the process was invented—Fenton strove to elevate the new medium to the status of a fine art and to establish it as a respected profession. He was the first official photographer to the British Museum and one of the founders of the Photographic Society, later named the Royal Photographic Society, an organization he hoped would help establish the medium's importance in modern life.
In the 1850s Fenton took the new technology of wet-plate photography to high levels of artistic achievement and public visibility. In that decade he was the pre-eminent landscape and architectural photographer in England and a founding member of the Royal Photographic Society. His photography was many-sided: he made reproductions of collections in the British Museum, took portraits of the Royal Family at Windsor and at their country seat in Scotland and went to the Crimea to record a controversial war. Fenton brought a painter’s eye to the new medium, enthusiastically exploiting the new methods as they evolved.
(The Hungarian Quarterly at

A group of Croat laborers, 1855
Source Library of Congress

Hardships in the Camp, 1855

Tartar laborers

Sententiae: Crimean War

Roger Fenton's Crimean War photo series is the first historic attempt to portray war campaign with the help of new magic photo media, then still in its infancy. Sent as a replacement for the Richard Nicklin, a civilian photographer, who was lost at sea, along with his assistants, photographs, and equipment, when their ship sank during the hurricane that stuck the harbor at Balaklava on November 14, 1854. Fenton spend March-June 1855 in Crimea as an official campaign photographer, payed by the British government, recording participants and landscapes for posterity. These records never managed to capture battles, explosions, devastations, wounds, blood and tears, partly due to the limitations of photographic techniques of the period, but also because of official wish to glamorize the war and shift public attention away from government and military mismanagement, for which Crimean campaign became infamously known.
(The Apricity forums at

Fenton's Photographic Van, 1855

The valley of the shadow of death, 1855
Source Taken from A World History of Photography
Original in the Science Museum, London.

Shadow of the Valley of Death, 1855
Dirt road in ravine scattered with cannonballs, Crimea
Source Library of Congress

Due to the size and cumbersome nature of his photographic equipment, Fenton was limited in his choice of motifs. And because the photographic material of his time needed long exposures, he was only able to produce pictures of unmoving objects, mostly posed pictures. But he also photographed the landscape, including an area near to where the Light Brigade - made famous in Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade" - was ambushed, called The Valley of Death; however, Fenton's photographs were taken in the similarly named The Valley of the Shadow of Death. Modern photographers consider this picture, taken while under fire, to be a seminal piece of war photography. Two pictures were taken of this area, one with several cannonballs on the road, the other with an empty road. Opinions differ concerning which one was taken first. Filmmaker Errol Morris wrote a series of essays canvassing the evidence and concluded that the photo without the cannonballs was taken first, but he remained uncertain about who moved the balls onto the road in the second picture - were they deliberately placed on the road by Fenton to enhance the image, or were soldiers in the process of removing them for reuse?

Kamiesch in the distance
Sir John Campbell's marquis tent in the foreground

Cossack Bay, Balaklava

Field Marshall Lord Raglan

Lieutenant General Sir John L. Pennefather

Sir Colin Campbell

Council of War
Lord Raglan's Head Quarters
Lord Raglan, Maréchal Pélissier, & Omar Pacha
Morning of the successful attack on the Mamelon

No text descriptions, drawings or paintings wouldn’t be able to surpass realism of Fenton’s photo of the besieged Sebastopol; the main allies ports at Kamiesh and Balaclava; mortar batteries, field trains, camps and every day camp life; portraits of legendary allies leaders: Lord Raglan, Lord George Page, General Pennefather, Sir John Brown, Sir Colin Campbell, commander of the “Thin Red Line”; French Maréchal Pélissier, General Bosquet, “Little Nephew of the Great Uncle” Prince Napoleon; Turkish Ismail Pacha and Omar Pacha; officers of the Guards regiments, colorful highlanders and zouaves, sergeants, soldiers, orderlies, reverends, Royal commissioners, railway engineers, camp followers, laborers, fellow artists, war correspondents and civilian travelers. With the end of the Crimean War, quite modest public interest in Fenton's photos quickly faded away; in 1862 he left photography for good, dying several years later, financially broken and almost forgotten. In our days, however, historians unanimously recognize Fenton's remarkable accomplishments not only for his keen artistic eye and seminal role in establish photography as an artistic endeavor, but also honor him as one of the first professional war photographers.
(The Apricity forums at

Pasha and Bayadère

A rare 19th century print, above, by Roger Fenton will remain in Britain after Bradford's National Media Museum intervened to prevent it from export. With help from the Art Fund, the NMM reached its fundraising goal of £108,506 to keep the image, regarded as one of Fenton's finest works, from being sold to overseas buyers.
The image, called Pasha and Bayadère, dates from 1858 and features Roger Fenton himself among the subjects. In the image, a dancing girl (the bayadère) performs for a high ranking official (the pasha, played by Roger Fenton), who watches her intently. Seated on the floor on the left hand side of the Pasha, a musician (played by the English landscape painter Frank Dillon) plays a stringed instrument. Keen viewers will note the string tied to the ceiling, used to keep the pasha's hands fixed above her head during the long exposure.
The picture is from a series of 50 Orientalist photographs that Fenton made following his expedition during the Crimean War and has been passed down directly from Frank Dillon's descendants to the image's previous owners.
Pasha and Bayadère was originally due to be sold abroad until the NMM stepped in. On issuing a temporary export bar, Lord Inglewood, Chairman of the Reviewing Committee, said: “Photography is sometimes undervalued in this country, but Pasha and Bayadère demonstrates how the best photographs can hold their own aesthetically against other art forms. As well as being a remarkable image, the work is also important for the study of the history of photography. The fact that the Getty Museum chose to make their own version of this image the subject of a scholarly monograph shows just how highly Fenton’s work is regarded outside the UK.”
The photograph is one of only two examples of this image, the other being in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The Getty’s version is uncropped and believed to be a proof.
(Jeff Meyer at

Note: I found these images (above) from all over the web. If you own a photo’s copyright and think this page violates Fair Use, please contact me.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


“Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage."
Even though no one is certain who first spoke or penned this statement, truer words were never uttered.
(Why Democracy Doesn't Work by Joseph Farah, a nationally syndicated columnist at
Where are the great empires of the past? Where is the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, and the Roman Empire? You can find what is left of them in museums, in ruins and in a few ancient stone buildings frequented only by modern tourists.
We cannot help but be impressed by the great empires of the past. The Babylonian Empire ruled the Middle East, and the armies of Nebuchadnezzar were unstoppable. The mighty Roman Empire lasted for 500 years, before falling to the Vandals and the Heruli. World War II saw the blitzkrieg expansion of the Third Reich across Europe and North Africa. Hitler's ambitions included conquest of the Soviet Union, but he failed, and Allied armies pummeled mighty Germany into a rubble heap. Can any nation or empire long endure?
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics consisted of 15 republics and one-sixth of the world's land surface, or 2.5 times the area of the U.S. This great superpower reveled in its Communist ideology; it fought for the hearts of nations all over the world and lost. On November 9, 1989, the symbol of its subjugation of Eastern Europe, the Berlin Wall, came tumbling down. Now this once-mighty power has shattered into 15 struggling nation-states, with 12 tied together in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Who could have predicted the fall of this great superpower?
(Rise and fall of Nations, Cover Story: Richard F. Ames at
History shows us that all of the great nations of the world have never lived much more than 200 years and there has been sequential stages in every case.
The first stage moves from bondage to spiritual faith. The second stage moves from spiritual faith to great courage. The third stage moves from great courage to liberty. The fourth stage moves from liberty to abundance. The fifth stage moves from abundance to selfishness. The sixth stage moves from selfishness to complacency. The seventh stage moves from complacency to apathy. The eighth stage moves from apathy to moral decay. The ninth stage moves from moral decay to dependence. And the tenth and last stage moves from dependence to bondage.
These are the ten stages through which all the great nations have gone. We can't help from noticing the progression from bondage to liberty back to bondage. It seems that the law of circularity might be at work. Nevertheless, the first generation throws off the shackles of bondage only to have a later generation ... through apathy, indifference, and dependence upon the government ... to allow it to once again be enslaved.
The people of the great nations of the past seem normally to have imagined that their pre eminence would last forever. Rome appeared to its citizens to be destined to be for all time the mistress of the world. The Abbasid Khalifs of Baghdad declared that God had appointed them to rule mankind until the day of judgment. Seventy years ago, many people in Britain believed that the empire would endure for ever. Although Hitler failed to achieve his objective, he declared that Germany would rule the world for a thousand years. That sentiments like these could be publicly expressed without evoking derision shows that, in all ages, the regular rise and fall of great nations has passed unperceived. The simplest statistics prove the steady rotation of one nation after another at regular intervals.
The belief that their nation would rule the world forever naturally encouraged the citizens of the leading nation of any period to attribute their pre eminence to hereditary virtues. They carried in their blood, they believed, qualities which constituted them a race of supermen, an illusion which inclined them to the employment of cheap foreign labor (or slaves) to perform menial tasks and to engage foreign mercenaries to fight their battles or to sail their ships.
These poorer peoples were only too happy to migrate to the wealthy cities of the empire, and thereby, as we have seen, to adulterate the close knit, homogeneous character of the conquering race. The latter unconsciously assumed that they would always be the leaders of mankind, relaxed their energies, and spent an increasing part of their time in leisure, amusement or sport.
In recent years, the idea has spread widely in the West that ‘progress’ will be automatic without effort, that everyone will continue to grow richer and richer and that every year will show a ‘rise in the standard of living’. We have not drawn from history the obvious conclusion that material success is the result of courage, endurance and hard work a conclusion nevertheless obvious from the history of the meteoric rise of our own ancestors. This self-assurance of its own superiority seems to go hand in hand with the luxury resulting from wealth, in undermining the character of the dominant race.
It is of interest to note that decadence is the disintegration of a system, not of its individual members. The habits of the members of the community have been corrupted by the enjoyment of too much money and too much power for too long a period. The result has been, in the framework of their national life, to make them selfish and idle. A community of selfish and idle people declines, internal quarrels develop in the division of its dwindling wealth, and pessimism follows, which some of them endeavour to drown in sensuality or frivolity. In their own surroundings,they are unable to redirect their thoughts and their energies into new channels.
(Adapted from THE FATE OF EMPIRES and SEARCH FOR SURVIVAL by Sir John Glubb at
We can find about 28 symbols of different civilizations in world history, out of which 18 are now extinct, 9 are on the decline and only one civilization remains that is progressing. But the future of this civilization may also not be different from the other civilizations. Before Toynbee (British historian), many historians and social philosophers had given their theories on the concept of rise and fall of civilizations. Spangler said, “Society is like an individual. It is born and then after passing through various stages it expires”. Plato was also of the same view. Toynbee differed with all these concepts. He said that the fall of a nation or civilization takes place with the failure of self determination. The subject of the fall of civilizations is very vast and cannot be dealt with in one go.
The first situation is that there is an eruption of a new social force in a society and that society fails to bring the essential changes in various organs of the society to cope with the change. This lack of ability to bring contemporary change gives rise to a revolution, as a result of which everything is destroyed and the new energy is also usurped.
The second situation says that the ingenious and intricate ability of the human mind is beneficial and at the same time harmful also. If you achieve the success by employing your ingenuity on one occasion, you may develop such an over confidence that you tend to lose in the face of a very trivial difficulty subsequently. If repeated time and again at the higher level of society, it ultimately leads to downfall.
The third situation is that you make an attachment and association with successful institutions like the monarchy, the parliament or the clergy in such a manner that if the downfall of those institutions starts, you are unable to detach yourself from those institutions. In that case the ship will sink along with everybody onboard.
The fourth situation is that you adopt some principles, doctrines or the instruments of war and as a result you achieve many successes. But as with the passage of time these rules, doctrines and the instruments of war (or even instruments of peace like tools of production etc) become outdated and the superior concepts and doctrines over take them, you are unable to adapt to the changes required by the prevailing situation. You tend to apply old solutions to resolve the newly emerged problems and thus face the defeat.
The fifth situation is the unwise and irresponsible use of power (Also refer to the philosophy of power given by Bismarck ). The Greek used to explain this reason of downfall in three words: abundance, irresponsibility and destruction. The Assyrians had excelled in the art of warfare. After every conquest they would add new force to their fighting ability. Their conquests continued till many decades. But there was an inbuilt weakness in their strategy. The continued and unabated wars dissipated their energies. The ultimate result was their annihilation.
When Phillip II sent land force against Holland and naval force against England, when Napoleon III attacked Prussia, when William II attacked Belgium, when Charlemagne attacked Italy five times and when Tamer-lane spent his 42 years in fighting wars. All these are the examples of the violation of the philosophy of power and thus met with failure.
The sixth situation of down fall is the state of intoxication acquired due to successes achieved. The victory and triumph creates temporary satisfaction but also opens Pandora box of new problems. The intoxication, whether of power or victory, does not allow time to take stock of other problems. And this is what proves fatal. In 2nd century BC the Roman Empire got intoxicated due to extensive military victories and ultimately it became one of the causes of their downfall. The Rome got intoxicated by the victorious to such an extent that they neither took rest nor did they allow others to rest. The peace is needed even by the victorious, and the defeated ones want asylum and safety. Both the situations became nonexistent.
(Adapted from Rise and fall of the Nations: What does history have for the bright future of mankind? by Peace at

Reflections on the History of Nations
(Jones Very, 1868)
When I consider mighty nations’ fate,
Their rise, their growth, their grandeur, and decline;
And all their varied history contemplate,
I see and own in each the Hand divine!
Not of themselves they rose to wealth and power,
And gained on earth a glory and a name;
Alike, to God, the nation of an hour,
And that which stands a thousand years the same.
To such as walk in righteousness and truth,
He gives long years of steady, sure increase;
They, like the eagle, shall renew their youth,
Their honor and their glory never cease;
While such as from his just commandments stray,
Shall sudden fall; or waste by slow decay.