Stress Test 2016

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2016

Keynote speakers

After the state-sponsored mass deportations—the first in the modern era—who would cultivate the land? The s, if not precisely , represented the peak of the interstate slave trade, with a quarter of a million enslaved people marched or shipped west to labor on fields that only a few years earlier had belonged to Native Americans. In Congress, pro-slavery politicians refused to hear anti-slavery petitions, passing the first gag rule in May The speculative bubble would collapse the following year, leaving behind hundreds of ruined banks and millions of dollars of worthless debt.

The financial system would recover, but there was no second chance for the dispossessed. Claudio Saunt is the author of West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of Norton, and is at work on Aboriginia: Mass Deportation and the Road to Indian Territory.

Andrew Jackson left office, and even though Martin Van Buren had been elected to replace him without much difficulty, within months of his taking office the nation was plunged into what was then the worst economic depression it had ever seen. Alternatively, whites dragged enslaved people off to Texas, where the influx of Americans only increased pressures on Native Americans in the region. Almost no one got out of unscathed. Native Americans, of course, had been suffering from white incursions for years, but they saw their dispossession continue in thanks to the ongoing Seminole War itself unpopular among whites and the beginning of forced removal of the Chickasaws from the southeast to Oklahoma.

The Cherokee Trail of Tears would take place the following year. Meanwhile, in the Midwest a mob of whites in Illinois lynched the abolitionist minister and editor Elijah Lovejoy, escalating what was already widespread harassment and abuse of anti-slavery activists from routine violence to murder and keeping the politics of slavery aflame.

Certainly there are other fine candidates for the worst year ever, but that one was pretty darn terrible. The split presidential election set the stage for the bargain that ended Reconstruction. I would have nominated the highest casualty year of the Civil War as the worst, but the failure to defend racial equality in the South after so many lives were sacrificed seems far more tragic.

The fall of Reconstruction and the rise of Plains reservations are enough for a really bad year, and then you add race riots in South Carolina, and Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia forming the Intercollegiate Football Association, and you have a true stinker that will resonate for decades in bad race relations and head trauma.

Jon T. Coleman is the author of Here Lies Hugh Glass: A quick Twitter poll conducted by evankindley declared the not-yet-over the worst year of the s. I suspect its victory has a lot to do with the unending spate of terrorist attacks all over the world and the current state of presidential politics and police killings and retaliatory cop assassinations in the United States.

If Donald Trump is elected president, may well become the uncontested winner until the end of the century. The year Radical Reconstruction was overthrown. A 19th-century U. Our present woes have a lot to do with that fateful year. A History of Abolition. An isolationist Senate refused to ratify the League of Nations treaty while President Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke.

Meanwhile, as the government ended wartime spending and regulations, inflation skyrocketed and unemployment shot up to 20 percent. An influenza epidemic, one of the worst in history, killed a half-million Americans. The 18th Amendment introduced Prohibition and a decade of lawlessness. Chicago erupted in five days of brutal violence that left wounded and 38 dead. Meanwhile, lynchings continued to rise, with 76 black Americans killed, including 10 veterans.

The fall of featured massive labor strikes: To many, such strikes signaled that America was poised for a revolution like the Bolsheviks had just pulled off in Russia. In November, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, himself the target of a bomb, launched the first Red Scare, a massive series of arrest raids against suspected radicals, anarchists, and communists that turned into the biggest violation of civil liberties in a half-century.

All told, was a year of political chaos, social unrest, economic disasters, health epidemics, bloody race riots, giant labor strikes, and brutal government overreach. Definitely a contender. The Holocaust grew more deadly by the week, and Nazis had systematically deported and killed more than 1. News of these atrocities circulated internationally, but the Allies lacked the political will and military capacity to rescue European Jews. WWII also prompted an increase in food exports from British India to feed British soldiers and citizens, which produced a massive famine in the Bengal province , which killed an estimated 3 million people.

In the United States, racial violence raged across the country. During the summer of there were more than reports of interracial battles in cities and at military bases, including the Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles and riots in Harlem and Detroit. I chose not just because bad things happened but also because these histories are a depressing account of the capacity of humans to stop or prevent cruelty.

Oh, and Richard Nixon was elected. All this against the background of news every day about the horrors in Vietnam. And while social media has its own way of making everything feel immediate, so did the network news when there were only three channels and everyone was watching the death and destruction with their dinners.

In February of that year, as the Bush administration and its allies geared up for war, protesters eager to speak out against the mobilizations swamped cities around the world in the largest global demonstration for peace in world history.

In Manhattan, more than , protestors from all walks of life swamped the city, stopping traffic in the middle of the street, and assembling in a vast throng near the U. European cities saw even larger protests. The power of macho patriotism. The U. S media, still dominated by major networks, barely covered the event. In New York, the nightly news showed images, instead, of a sympathy protest in Baghdad—a damning substitution.

The failure of the captive media to cover the protest—and, more broadly, to aggressively question the Bush administration on the lies and half-truths used to rationalize the war—was catastrophic. The war went on as planned. And the terrible world we live in—jingoistic, bomb-scarred, drone-addled, and armor-clad—is the consequence.

Rebecca Onion is a Slate staff writer and the author of Innocent Experiments.

60 Selections

The Rio Games provided the best possible environment for peak performances. Nearly half of the athletes could reach their venues in less than 10 minutes, and almost 75 per cent could do so in less than 25 minutes. Of the 34 competition venues, eight underwent some permanent works, seven were totally temporary and nine were constructed as permanent legacy venues. At the same time, Rio was an opportunity to deliver the broader aspirations for the long-term future of the city, region and country — an opportunity to hasten the transformation of Rio de Janeiro into an even greater global city. Number of torchbearers:

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