Great leaders

Margaret Mead | J(ulius) Robert Oppenheimer | Robert Maynard Hutchins | Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. | George C. Marshall | Pope John XXIII | Eleanor Roosevelt | Martin Luther King, Jr. | Margaret Thatcher | Jean Monnet | Mahatma Gandhi

Margaret Mead
Born in 1901 in Philadelphia, Margaret Mead (1901-78) taught generations of Americans about the value of looking carefully and openly at other cultures to better understand the complexities of being human. Scientist, explorer, writer, and teacher, Mead, who worked in the Department of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History from 1926 until her death, brought the serious work of anthropology into the public consciousness

Mead studied at Barnard College, where she met the great anthropologist Franz Boas, who became her mentor and her advisor when she attended graduate school at Columbia University, where she earned advanced degrees in psychology and anthropology. She was twenty-three years old when she first doctoral dissertation. The resulting book, Coming of Age in Samoa, was -- and remains -- a best-seller. She continued her research throughout her life in such locations as New Guinea, Samoa, Bali, and many other places, including contemporary North America. Mead's work is largely responsible for the treasures on view in the Museum's Hall of Pacific Peoples.

In addition to her work at the Museum, Margaret Mead taught, wrote more best-selling books, contributed a regular column to Redbook magazine, lectured, and was frequently interviewed on radio and television. A deeply committed activist, Mead often testified on social issues before the United States Congress and other government agencies. She hoped that through all of these efforts others would learn about themselves and work toward a more humane and socially responsible society. As she once said, "I have spent most of my life studying the lives of other peoples -- faraway peoples -- so that Americans might better understand themselves."

Mead's Legacy
Ongoing: The Library of Congressís American Memory Exhibit On-line The Library of Congressís on-line exhibit of selections from Margaret Meadís papers and the South Pacific Ethnographic Archives. The Mead collection, bequeathed to the Library in 1978, includes more than 50,000 field notes, photographs, recordings, and films which are being digitized to be put up on the Internet over the next year. ClickHERE to see a letter from Mead to her grandmother explaining why she has chosen to keep her maiden name.

* October 1-4, 2000: Fourth Nursing Academic International Congress Sponsored by George Mason University College of Nursing and Health Science located in the metropolitan Washington DC area (USA). ìInternational Collaboration in Nursing: The Influence of Ethics and Policy on Health and the Quality of Lifeî Includes a special event to celebrate the Margaret Mead Centennial in honor of her efforts to improve global health. Keynote address by Mary Catherine Bateson,
author and daughter of Margaret Mead. For more information, call the Professional Development Office, College of Nursing and Health Science, George Mason University, 703-993-1910. Or Click HERE
* Nov 3-11, 2000: The Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival ~ New York, NY This annual Festival, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History, celebrates its 24th year as the premiere festival in the U.S. for cultural documentaries. Following the November event in New York, the Festival travels across the country and abroad to select locations. Click HERE to find out how to enter, where the 1999 Festival will be traveling, and a list of films and videos from the archives of the Festival.
* Nov 2000: American Anthropological Assn Annual Meeting ~ San Francisco, CA Every other November, the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology announce the winner of the Margaret Mead Award, recognizing an anthropologist clearly and integrally associated with research and practice, exemplifying skills in broadening the impact of anthropology, skills for which Margaret Mead was widely admired. The award, announced at this AAA fall meeting, will be presented to the recipient at the SAA's Spring 2001 meeting.
* Spring 2001: Barnard College ~ New York, NY The Department of Anthropology at Barnard College is planning a semester-long series of events in honor of the centennial of Margaret Meadís birth. This spring 2001 term event will consist of at least three lectures and panels that will be held in conjunction with an undergraduate seminar on ìMargaret Mead and Her Legacy.Although the series of events will be part of a seminar for Barnard and Columbia University students, the event will also attract participants from across the tri-state area, including both scholars and the general public. (Go Top)

J(ulius) Robert Oppenheimer

b. April 22, 1904, New York City--d. Feb. 18, 1967, Princeton, N.J., U.S.), U.S. theoretical physicist and science administrator, noted as director of the Los Alamos laboratory during development of the atomic bomb (1943-45) and as director of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (1947-66). Accusations as to his loyalty and reliability as a security risk led to a government hearing that resulted in the loss of his security clearance and of his position as adviser to the highest echelons of the U.S. government. The case became a cause célèbre in the world of science because of its implications concerning political and moral issues relating to the role of scientists in government.

Oppenheimer was the son of a German immigrant who had made his fortune by importing textiles in New York City. During his undergraduate studies at Harvard University, Oppenheimer excelled in Latin, Greek, physics, and chemistry, published poetry, and studied Oriental philosophy. After graduating in 1925, he sailed for England to do research at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, which, under the leadership of Lord Rutherford, had an international reputation for its pioneering studies on atomic structure. At the Cavendish, Oppenheimer had the opportunity to collaborate with the British scientific community in its efforts to advance the cause of atomic research.

Max Born invited him to Göttingen University, where he met other prominent physicists, such as Niels Bohr and Paul Dirac, and where, in 1927, he received his doctorate. After short visits at science centres in Leiden and Zürich, he returned to the United States to teach physics at the University of California at Berkeley and the California Institute of Technology.

In the 1920s the new quantum and relativity theories were engaging the attentions of science. That mass was equivalent to energy and that matter could be both wavelike and corpuscular carried implications seen only dimly at that time. Oppenheimer's early research was devoted in particular to energy processes of subatomic particles, including electrons, positrons, and cosmic rays. Since quantum theory had been proposed only a few years before, the university post provided him an excellent opportunity to devote his entire career to the exploration and development of its full significance. In addition, he trained a whole generation of U.S. physicists, who were greatly affected by his qualities of leadership and intellectual independence.

The rise of Hitlerism in Germany stirred his first interest in politics. In 1936 he sided with the republic during the Civil War in Spain, where he became acquainted with Communist students. Although his father's death in 1937 left Oppenheimer a fortune that allowed him to subsidize anti-Fascist organizations, the tragic suffering inflicted by Stalin on Russian scientists led him to withdraw his associations with the Communist Party--in fact, he had never joined the party--and at the same time reinforced in him a liberal democratic philosophy.

After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in 1939, the physicists Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard warned the U.S. government of the danger threatening all of humanity if the Nazis should be the first to make a nuclear bomb. Oppenheimer then began to seek a process for the separation of uranium-235 from natural uranium and to determine the critical mass of uranium required to make such a bomb. In August 1942 the U.S. Army was given the responsibility of organizing the efforts of British and U.S. physicists to seek a way to harness nuclear energy for military purposes, an effort that became known as the Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer was instructed to establish and administer a laboratory to carry out this assignment. In 1943 he chose the plateau of Los Alamos, near Santa Fe, N.M., where he had spent part of his childhood in a boarding school.

For reasons that have not been made clear, Oppenheimer in 1942 initiated discussions with military security agents that culminated with the implication that some of his friends and acquaintances were agents of the Soviet government. This led to the dismissal of a personal friend on the faculty at the University of California. In a 1954 security hearing he described his contribution to those discussions as "a tissue of lies."

The joint effort of outstanding scientists at Los Alamos culminated in the first nuclear explosion on July 16, 1945, at Alamogordo, N.M., after the surrender of Germany. In October of the same year, Oppenheimer resigned his post. In 1947 he became head of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University and served from 1947 until 1952 as chairman of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission, which in October 1949 opposed development of the hydrogen bomb.

On Dec. 21, 1953, he was notified of a military security report unfavourable to him and was accused of having associated with Communists in the past, of delaying the naming of Soviet agents, and of opposing the building of the hydrogen bomb. A security hearing (hearing transcript) declared him not guilty of treason but ruled that he should not have access to military secrets. As a result, his contract as adviser to the Atomic Energy Commission was cancelled. The Federation of American Scientists immediately came to his defense with a protest against the trial. Oppenheimer was made the worldwide symbol of the scientist, who, while trying to resolve the moral problems that arise from scientific discovery, becomes the victim of a witch-hunt. He spent the last years of his life working out ideas on the relationship between science and society.

The Cold War having declined, President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1963 formalized Oppenheimer's reinstatement by presenting him the Enrico Fermi Award of the Atomic Energy Commission. He retired from Princeton in 1966 and died of throat cancer the following year.

Oppenheimer's philosophical ideas are expressed in his two books: Science and the Common Understanding (1954) and The Open Mind (1955). (Go Top)

Robert Maynard Hutchins

(b. Jan. 17, 1899, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.--d. May 17, 1977, Santa Barbara, Calif.), American educator, former chancellor of the University of Chicago and foundation president, who criticized over-specialization and sought to balance the college curriculum and to maintain the Western intellectual tradition. According to Hutchins, "the liberal arts are not merely indispensable; they are unavoidable. Nobody can decide for himself whether he is going to be a human being. The only question open to him is whether he will be an ignorant, undeveloped one, or one who has sought to reach the highest point he is capable of attaining. The question, in short, is whether he will be a poor liberal artist or a good one. The liberal artislearns to read, write, speak, listen, understand, and think. He learns to reckon, measure, and manipulate matter, quantity, and motion in order to predict, produce and exchange. As we live in the tradition, whether we know it or not, so we are all liberal artists, whether we know it or not. We all practice the liberal arts, well or badly, all the time every day. As we should understand the tradition as well as we can in order to understand ourselves, so we should be as good liberal artists as we can in order to become as fully human as we can."
After attending Oberlin College in Ohio (1915-17), he served in the ambulance service of the U.S. and Italian armies during World War I. He was graduated from Yale University (A.B., 1921) and Yale Law School (LL.B., 1925), where he was named dean in 1927. Two years later, at the age of 30, he became president of the University of Chicago; he remained at Chicago until 1951, the last six years as chancellor. A controversial administrator, he attempted to reorganize the departments for undergraduate and graduate study at Chicago. His Chicago Plan for undergraduates encouraged liberal education at earlier ages and measured achievement by comprehensive examination, rather than by classroom time served. He introduced study of the Great Books. At the same time, Hutchins argued about the purposes of higher education, deploring undue emphasis on nonacademic pursuits (Chicago abandoned intercollegiate football in 1939) and criticizing the tendency toward specialization and vocationalism. The university abandoned most of his reforms, however, after his departure and returned to the educational practices of other major American universities.
Hutchins was active in forming the Committee to Frame a World Constitution (1945), led the Commission on Freedom of the Press (1946), and vigorously defended academic freedom, opposing faculty loyalty oaths in the 1950s. After serving as associate director of the Ford Foundation (from 1951), he became president of the Fund for the Republic (1954) and in 1959 founded the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions (Santa Barbara, Calif.) as the fund's main activity. The Center was an attempt to approach Hutchins' ideal of "a community of scholars" discussing a wide range of issues--individual freedom, international
order, ecological imperatives, the rights of minorities and of women, and the nature of the good life, among others.

From 1943 until his retirement in 1974 Hutchins was chairman of the Board of Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica and a director for Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. He was editor in chief of the 54-volume Great Books of the Western World (1952) and coeditor, from 1961, with Mortimer J. Adler, of an annual, The Great Ideas Today.

Hutchins' views on education and public issues appeared in No Friendly Voice (1936), The Higher Learning in America (1936), Education for Freedom (1943), and others. Later books include The University of Utopia (1953) and The Learning Society (1968).

See also Hutchins' University: A Memoir of the University of Chicago, 1929-1950. (1991) and Innovation, Teaching, and Faculty Research
(Go Top)

Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.

Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. was born in New Haven, Connecticut, May 23, 1875, the first of five children of Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Sr., and Katherine Mead Sloan. His father, a machinist by training, was then a partner in a small company importing coffee and tea. In 1885 the family moved to Brooklyn, where it was particularly active in the Methodist Church. (Young Alfred's maternal grandfather was a Methodist minister.) Alfred, Jr., excelled as a student both in public schools and at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute where he completed the college-preparatory course. After some delay in being admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (which considered him too young when he first applied), he matriculated in 1892 and took a degree in electrical engineering in three years as the youngest member of his graduating class. Mr. Sloan began his working career as a draftsman in a small machine shop, the Hyatt Roller Bearing Company of Newark, New Jersey. At his urging, Hyatt was soon producing new antifriction bearings for automobiles. In 1898 he married Irene Jackson of Roxbury, Massachusetts. The next year, at age 24, he became the president of Hyatt, where he supervised all aspects of the company's business. Hyatt bearings became a standard in the automobile industry, and the company grew rapidly under his leadership. In 1916 the Hyatt Roller Bearing Company, together with a number of other manufacturers of automobile accessories, merged with the United Motors Corporation, of which Mr. Sloan became President. Two years later that company became part of the General Motors Corporation (itself established in 1908 as the General Motors Company), and Mr. Sloan was named Vice President in Charge of Accessories and a member of the Executive Committee.

He was elected President of General Motors in 1923, succeeding Pierre S. du Pont, who said of him on occasion: "The greater part of the successful development of the Corporation's operations and the building of a strong manufacturing and sales organization is due to Mr. Sloan. His election to the presidency is a natural and well-merited recognition of his untiring and able efforts and successful achievement." Mr. Sloan had developed by then his system of disciplined, professional management that provided for decentralized operations with coordinated centralized policy control. Applying it to General Motors, he set the Corporation on its course of industrial leadership. The next 23 years, with Mr. Sloan as Chief Executive Officer, were years of enormous expansion for the Corporation and of a steady increase in its share of the automobile market. (See the online museum)

In 1937 Mr. Sloan was elected Chairman of the Board of General Motors. He continued as Chief Executive Officer until 1946. When he resigned from the chairmanship in 1956, the General Motors Board said of him: "The Board of Directors has acceded to Mr. Sloan's wish to retire as Chairman. He has served the Corporation long and magnificently. His analysis and grasp of the problems of corporate management, his great vision and rare good judgment, laid the solid foundation which has made possible the growth and progress of General Motors over the years." Mr. Sloan was then named Honorary Chairman of the Board, a title he retained until his death on February 17, 1966. For many years he had devoted the largest share of his time and energy to philanthropic activities, both as a private donor to many causes and organizations and through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which he established in 1934.

Mr. Sloan, as a realist as well as a humanist and philanthropist, looked upon the Foundation as an extension of his own life and work. Although he recognized the inevitability of change that might dictate a different course, he expected the Foundation would "continue as an operating facility indefinitely into the future...to represent my accomplishments in this life." His accomplishments during his lifetime were of the highest order, and in themselves provide the most dramatic and lasting tribute to his extraordinary talent. Through the Foundation, his accomplishments have been extended and expanded.

 

See also My Years with General Motors (1963) by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.

George C. Marshall

In the immediate postwar period, Europe remained ravaged and thus susceptible to exploitation by an internal and external communist threat. In a June 5, 1947 speech to the graduating class at Harvard University, Secretary of State George C. Marshall issued a call for a comprehensive program to rebuild Europe. Fanned by the fear of communist expansion, in March 1948 Congress passed the Economic Cooperation Act and approved funding that would eventually rise to over $12 billion for the rebuilding of Western Europe. The Marshall Plan generated a resurgence of European industrialization and brought extensive investment into the region. It was also a stimulant to the U.S. economy by establishing markets for American goods. Although Soviet and East European participation initially was invited, due to Soviet concern over potential U.S. economic domination of its satellites and opposition by American politicians to funding recovery in communist nations, the Marshall Plan was applied solely to Western Europe. Thus, it exacerbated East-West tensions by effectively excluding the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc from any measure of cooperation with Western Europe and by reviving an economically-strong Germany. The Marshall Plan has been recognized as a great humanitarian effort, and Marshall became the only general ever to receive a Nobel prize for peace.


Pope John XXIII

Pope John XXIII (born 25 November, 1881; died 3 June, 1963) was pope from 1958 to 1963. His name was Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. He was born in Sotto il Monte (near Bergamo), he studied in Bergamo and in Rome, and he was ordained a priest in Rome in 1904. He began his long career in the Vatican diplomatic corps when he was appointed (1925), with the title of archbishop, to be the apostolic visitor to Bulgaria. Later he was named apostolic delegate to Turkey and Greece in 1935. Between 1944 and 1953 he served as nuncio to France. He was also Vatican observer at UNESCO (1946-53). In 1953 he was made a cardinal and named patriarch of Venice. When he was elected pope, Roncalli seemed to be a compromise candidate because of his advanced years. Although he served as pope for five years he accomplished a lot, including the calling of the Second Vatican Council.


See also these writings of Pope John XXIII:

 

  • On Truth, Unity and Peace (Ad Petri Cathedram) (29 Jun 1959) The first encylclical of John XXIII's reign discusses the three objectives of truth, unity and peace and indicates how they may be achieved and advanced in a spirit of charity;
  •   On the Rosary(Grata Recordatio) (26 Sep 1959) This encyclical covers the rosary, prayer for the Church, the missions and international and social problems;
  • On the Missions (Princeps Pastorum) (26 Nov 1959) Here the pope speaks of the necessity of extending God's Kingdom to the many parts of the world where missionaries labor zealously that the Church may grow and produce wholesome fruits;
  • Christianity and Social Progress (Mater Et Magistra) (16 May 1961) The pope says "though the Church's first care must be for souls, she concerns herself too with the exigencies of man's daily life, with his livelihood and education, and his general, temporal welfare and prosperity";
  •   (Aeterna Dei Sapientia) (11 Nov 1961) This encyclical commemorates the fifteenth centennial of the death of Pope St. Leo I and focuses on the See of Peter as the center of Christian unity;
  • On the Need for Penance (Paenitentiam Agere) (1 Jul 1962) This encyclical spoke of the need for the practice of interior and exterior penance; Address to Open the Second Vatican Council (11 Oct 1962);
  • (Pacem in Terris) (11 Apr 1963) In this encyclical the pope tells us that "peace on earth, which all men of every era have most eagerly yearned for, can be firmly established only if the order laid down by God be dutifully observed";
  •  On Saint John Vianney (Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia) (1 Aug 1963) Here the pope strives to help the clergy to foster and grow in friendship with Christ as the main source of the joy and fruitfulness of their priestly life.
  • See especially his contributions to the Documents of Vatican II.  




Eleanor Roosevelt

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt (1884-1962) was a shy, awkward child, starved for recognition and love, Eleanor Roosevelt grew into a woman with great sensitivity to the underprivileged of all creeds, races, and nations. Her constant work to improve their lot made her one of the most loved--and for some years one of the most reviled--women of her generation.

She was born in New York City on October 11, 1884, daughter of lovely Anna Hall and Elliott Roosevelt, younger brother of Theodore. When her mother died in 1892, the children went to live with Grandmother Hall; her adored father died only two years later. Attending a distinguished school in England gave her, at 15, her first chance to develop self-confidence among other girls.

Tall, slender, graceful of figure but apprehensive at the thought of being a wallflower, she returned for a debut that she dreaded. In her circle of friends was a distant cousin, handsome young Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They became engaged in 1903 and were married in 1905, with her uncle the President giving the bride away. Within eleven years Eleanor bore six children; one son died in infancy. "I suppose I was fitting pretty well into the pattern of a fairly conventional, quiet, young society matron," she wrote later in her autobiography.

In Albany, where Franklin served in the state Senate from 1910 to 1913, Eleanor started her long career as political helpmate. She gained a knowledge of Washington and its ways while he served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. When he was stricken with poliomyelitis in 1921, she tended him devotedly. She became active in the women's division of the State Democratic Committee to keep his interest in politics alive. From his successful campaign for governor in 1928 to the day of his death, she dedicated her life to his purposes. She became eyes and ears for him, a trusted and tireless reporter.

When Mrs. Roosevelt came to the White House in 1933, she understood social conditions better than any of her predecessors and she transformed the role of First Lady accordingly. She never shirked official entertaining; she greeted thousands with charming friendliness. She also broke precedent to hold press conferences, travel to all parts of the country, give lectures and radio broadcasts, and express her opinions candidly in a daily syndicated newspaper column, "My Day."

This made her a tempting target for political enemies but her integrity, her graciousness, and her sincerity of purpose endeared her personally to many--from heads of state to servicemen she visited abroad during World War II. As she had written wistfully at 14: "...no matter how plain a woman may be if truth & loyalty are stamped upon her face all will be attracted to her...."

After the President's death in 1945 she returned to a cottage at his Hyde Park estate; she told reporters: "the story is over." Within a year, however, she began her service as American spokesman in the United Nations. She continued a vigorous career until her strength began to wane in 1962. She died in New York City that November, and was buried at Hyde Park beside her husband.

Now listen to Eleanor Roosevelt describe her life's most important work.

See also the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and the online guide to her life!
Martin Luther King, Jr.
One of the world's best known advocates of non-violent social change strategies, Martin Luther King, Jr., synthesized ideas drawn from many different cultural raditions. Born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929, King's roots were in the African-American Baptist church. He was the grandson of the Rev. A. D. Williams, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist church and a founder of Atlanta's NAACP chapter, and the son of Martin Luther King, Sr., who succeeded Williams as Ebenezer's pastor and lso became a civil rights leader. Although, from an early age, King resented religious emotionalism and questioned literal interpretations of scripture, he nevertheless greatly admired black social gospel proponents such as his father who saw the church as a instrument for improving the lives of African Americans. Morehouse ollege president Benjamin Mays and other proponents of Christian social activism influenced King's decision after his junior year at Morehouse to become a minister and thereby serve society. His continued skepticism, however, shaped his subsequent theological studies at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, nd at Boston University, where he received a doctorate in systematic theology in 1955. Rejecting offers for academic positions, King decided while completing his Ph. D. requirements to return to the South and accepted the pastorate of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

On December 5, 1955, five days after Montgomery civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to obey the city's rules mandating segregation on buses, black residents aunched a bus boycott and elected King as president of the newly-formed Montgomery Improvement Association. As the boycott continued during 1956, King gained national prominence as a result of his exceptional oratorical skills and personal courage. His house was bombed and he was convicted along with other oycott leaders on charges of conspiring to interfere with the bus company's operations. Despite these attempts to suppress the movement, Montgomery bus were desegregated in December, 1956, after the United States Supreme Court declared Alabama's segregation laws unconstitutional.

In 1957, seeking to build upon the success of the Montgomery boycott movement, King and other southern black ministers founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). As SCLC's president, King emphasized the goal of black voting rights when he spoke at the Lincoln Memorial during the 1957
Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. During 1958, he published his first book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. The following year, he toured India, increased his understanding of Gandhian non-violent strategies. At the end of 1959, he resigned from Dexter and returned to Atlanta where the SCLC headquarters
was located and where he also could assist his father as pastor of Ebenezer.

Although increasingly portrayed as the pre-eminent black spokesperson, King did not mobilize mass protest activity during the first five years after the Montgomery boycott ended. While King moved cautiously, southern black college students took the initiative, launching a wave of sit-in protests during the winter and spring of 1960. King sympathized with the student movement and spoke at the founding meeting of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in April 1960, but he soon became the target of criticisms from SNCC activists determined to assert their independence. Even King's decision in October, 1960, to join a student sit-in in Atlanta did not allay the tensions, although presidential candidate John F. Kennedy's sympathetic telephone call to King's wife, Coretta Scott King, helped attract crucial black support for Kennedy's successful campaign. The 1961 "Freedom Rides," which sought to integrate southern transportation facilities, demonstrated that neither King nor Kennedy could control the expanding protest movement spearheaded by students. Conflicts between King and younger militants were also evident when both SCLC and SNCC assisted the Albany (Georgia) Movement's campaign of mass protests during December of 1961 and the summer of 1962.

After achieving few of his objectives in Albany, King recognized the need to organize a successful protest campaign free of conflicts with SNCC. During the spring of 1963, he and his staff guided mass demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, where local white police officials were known from their anti-black attitudes. Clashes between black demonstrators and police using police dogs and fire hoses generated newspaper headlines through the world. In June, President Kennedy reacted to the Birmingham protests and the obstinacy of segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace by agreed to submit broad civil rights legislation to Congress (which eventually passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964). Subsequent mass demonstrations in many communities culminated in a march on August 28, 1963, that attracted more than 250,000 protesters to Washington, D. C. Addressing the marchers from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" oration.

During the year following the March, King's renown grew as he became Time magazine's Man of the Year and, in December 1964, the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Despite fame and accolades, however, King faced many challenges to his leadership. Malcolm X's (1927-1965) message of self-defense and black nationalism expressed the discontent and anger of northern, urban blacks more effectively than did King's moderation. During the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march, King and his lieutenants were able to keep intra-movement conflicts sufficiently under control to bring about passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but while participating in a 1966 march through Mississippi, King encountered strong criticism from "Black Power" proponent Stokely Carmichael. Shortly afterward white counter-protesters in the Chicago area physically assaulted King in the Chicago area during an unsuccessful effort to transfer non-violent protest techniques to the urban North. Despite these leadership conflicts, King remained committed to the use of non-violent techniques. Early in 1968, he initiated a Poor Peoples campaign designed to confront economic problems that had not been addressed by early civil rights reforms.

King's effectiveness in achieving his objectives was limited not merely by divisions among blacks, however, but also by the increasing resistance he encountered from national political leaders. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover's already extensive efforts to undermine King's leadership were intensified during 1967 as urban racial violence escalated and King criticized American intervention in the Vietnam war. King had lost the support of many white liberals, and his relations with the Lyndon Johnson administration were at a low point when he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while seeking to assist a garbage workers' strike in Memphis. After his death, King remained a controversial symbol of the African-American civil rights struggle, revered by many for his martyrdom on behalf of non-violence and condemned by others for his militancy and insurgent views.

MLK's Address delivered in Acceptance of Nobel Peace Prize, 10 December 1964, Oslo, Norway

Your Majesty, your Royal Highness, Mr. President, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:, I accept the Nobel Prize for Peace at a moment when twenty-two million Negroes of the United States are engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice. I accept this award on behalf of a civil rights movement which is
moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice.

I am mindful that only yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama, our children, crying out for brotherhood, were answered with fire hoses, snarling dogs, and even death. I am mindful that only yesterday in Philadelphia, Mississippi, young people seeking to secure the right to vote were brutalized and murdered. I am mindful that debilitating and grinding poverty afflicts my people and chains them to the lowest rung of the economic ladder.

Therefore, I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle, and to a movement which has not yet won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize. After contemplation, I conclude that this award, which I've received on behalf of that movement, is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.

Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later, all the peoples of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

The torturous road which has led from Montgomery, Alabama, to Oslo bears witness to this truth, and this is a road over which millions of Negroes are traveling to find a new sense of dignity. This same road has opened for all Americans a new era of progress and hope. It has led to a new civil rights bill, and it will, I am convinced, be widened and lengthened into a superhighway of justice as Negro and white men in increasing numbers create alliances to overcome their common problems.

I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.

I refuse to accept the idea that the "is-ness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "ought-ness" that forever confronts him.

I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of nuclear annihilation.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.

I believe that even amid today's mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow.

I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men.

I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.

I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up.

I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed and nonviolent redemptive goodwill proclaimed the rule of the land. And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid.

I still believe that we shall overcome.

This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.

Today I come to Oslo as a trustee, inspired and with renewed dedication to humanity. I accept this prize on behalf of all men who love peace and brotherhood. I say I come as a trustee, but in the depths of my heart I am aware that this prize is much more than an honor to me personally. Every time I take a flight I am always mindful of the many people who make a successful journey possible, the known pilots and the unknown ground crew. You honor the dedicated pilots of our struggle, who have sat at the controls as the freedom movement soared into orbit. You honor, once again, Chief Lutuli of South Africa, whose struggles with and for his people are still met with the most brutal expression of man's inhumanity to man. You honor the ground crew, without whose labor and sacrifice the jet flights to freedom could never have left the earth. Most of these people will never make the headlines, and their names will never appear in Who's Who. Yet, when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvelous age in which we live, men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness' sake.

I think Alfred Nobel would know what I mean when I say I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners: all those to whom truth is beauty, and beauty, truth, and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold. Thank you. [applause] nty-two million Negroes of the United States are engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice. I accept this award on behalf of a civil rights movement which is moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice.

Read MKL's FBI file. hear him speak, read his papers, as well as check out this extensive list of resources.



Margaret Thatcher


Margaret Thatcher, former Conservative Member of Parliament for Barnet, Finchley, was Britain's first female prime minister. She was appointed prime minister, first lord of the treasury and minister for the civil service on May 4, 1979, following the success of the Conservative Party in the General Election of the previous day.

When the Conservative Party subsequently won the General Elections of June 9, 1983 and June 11, 1987, Lady Thatcher became the first British prime minister this century to contest successfully three consecutive general elections. She resigned on November 28, 1990. In December 1990, she was awarded the Order of Merit by Her Majesty the Queen. On June 30, 1992, she was elevated to the House of Lords to become Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. In April 1995, she was made a member of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.

Margaret Hilda Thatcher was born October 13, 1925, the daughter of a grocer who was active in local politics as borough councillor, alderman and mayor of Grantham. She was educated at Kesteven and Grantham Girls' High School and won a bursary to Somerville College, Oxford, where she obtained a degree in natural science (chemistry). She is also a master of arts of Oxford University. In June 1983, she was elected Fellow of the Royal Society.

Upon leaving Oxford, she worked for four years as a research chemist for an industrial firm, reading for the Bar in her spare time. She was called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn in 1954, and practiced as a barrister, specializing in taxation law.

While an undergraduate, she was president of the Oxford University Conservative Association. As Miss Margaret Roberts, she contested two parliamentary elections of the Conservative Party, in 1950 and 1951, before being elected (after her marriage) to the House of Commons in 1959 as Member for Finchley.

Lady Thatcher's first ministerial appointment came in 1961, when she became a parliament secretary to the then ministry of pensions and national insurance, remaining in this position until the change of government in 1964. From 1964 to 1970, while the Conservatives were in opposition, she was a front-bench spokesman for her party, and from 1967, a member of the Shadow Cabinet.

When the Conservatives returned to office in June 1970, she was appointed secretary of state for education and science and was made a privy counsellor. After the general election of February 1974, she was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet and became Opposition front-bench spokesman, first on the environment and later (in December 1974) on Treasury matters. She was elected leader of the Conservative Party and thus leader of the opposition on February 1975.

Lady Thatcher's husband, Sir Denis Thatcher, whom she married in 1951, served in the Second World War as a major in the Royal Artillery. He is a former director of Burmah Castrol and is a director of other companies. He was made a baronet in December 1990. Sir Denis and Lady Thatcher have a twin son and daughter, Mark and Carol, who were born August 15, 1953.

Lady Thatcher is chancellor at Buckingham University, England, and chancellor of William and Mary College, Virginia. She has received a large number of awards and honorary degrees. Lady Thatcher is patron of a number of charities and has established her own foundation.

Her books, The Downing Street Years and The Path to Power, were published in October 1993 and June 1995 respectively.


"Margaret Thatcher and the Rebirth of Conservatism" On Principle, v1n2, Summer 1993 by: Stephen Davies
Most politicians enjoy a brief moment in the public eye and then are gone, so soon forgotten that within ten years few can remember what they did or what they stood for. Some however make such a deep impression, for good or ill, that they will remain alive in the popular memory long after their career is over, even after their death. Margaret Thatcher is one of these.

By any standard Margaret Thatcher is an extraordinary politician. During her period as Prime Minister she had a profound and permanent impact on British politics. She changed the rules of political debate, transformed her own party, and altered and amended aspects of British life which had seemed fixed and permanent. Love her or hate her, no one could be indifferent to her. No one could mistake what she believed in and what she stood for. A "conviction politician," she had the rare distinction of having an ideology named after her--Thatcherism.

Today it is easy to forget how extraordinary her career and achievements have been. For a woman to become the leader of the Conservative party and then Prime Minister was unthinkable before she did it. More important, she challenged, and changed the definition of what was politically feasible, not only in Britain, but around the world. Pundits could see no future for a leader who so sharply questioned the conventional wisdom. When she became a party leader, the Economist, later one of her warmest admirers, declared that the Conservatives could be condemning themselves to years in the political wilderness. How differently things turned out! By onfronting established institutions and set ideas of what was proper and possible, she was able both to bring about radical change and to change the terms of political debate. The power of trades unions, which had so dominated British political life before 1979, was sharply curtailed. The privatization of state owned industries, unthinkable before, became commonplace and has now been imitated all over the world. This all went with unprecedented political success. Elected in 1979 with the biggest switch in votes since 1945, she went on to win two further general elections by landslide margins. In fact she never lost an election. A radical in a conservative party, she was ejected by her own MPs when her radicalism and willingness to confront the accepted beliefs of the elite became too much for them.

Indeed, the very qualities which brought her success and then led to her fall mean that Margaret Thatcher is still a relevant and important figure. Her standing and her ability to present the views and beliefs of ordinary people as opposed to those of a detached elite mean that her words and arguments are still listened to. Over the Maastricht Treaty and the future of Europe--the issue that more than anything else led to her ejection from office--her critique of the project (obvious but never openly admitted) of the creation of a federal and enclosed European state, has articulated the fears of ordinary people, against the wishes of the elite and the leadership of both main parties who want to avoid a debate at almost any cost. Other qualities which give her a continued relevance are her interest in ideas, an unusual feature in a politician, and above all her capacity to get to the nub of an issue and face up to tough decisions. Nowhere was this clearer than over Bosnia where h er dramatic and forceful interventions, in the form of an electrifying series of television interviews, highlighted the issues at stake and exposed the handwringing equivocation and moral cowardice of the official "line". Would this have been put so forcefully or received such attention if it had not been Margaret Thatcher who was speaking?

When the history of the twentieth century is written Margaret Thatcher is sure to have a prominent place. In the collapse of communism and the creation of what the late Peter Jenkins has called the "post socialist era," she has played a major part. However, right now she is still very much alive, still very active, and still fighting for her convictions and what she believes to be right.

Stephen Davies is Senior Lecturer in History at Manchester Metropolitan University, England. He is co-editor of A Dictionary of Conservative and Libertarian Thought and is author of the forthcoming, Private Goods, Public Benefit: The Voluntary Supply of "Public Goods."

See Time's Online Information on Thatcher.



Jean Monnet
For a man such as Jean Monnet (1888-1979), who understood from his earliest political experiences that, "reflection can not be separated from action", the salient facts of his life aiso represent an important guide to his philosophy and his way of conducting politics.After spending his youth helping his father inthe Cognac business,Monnet set himself at the outbreak of theFirst World War, in an effort to make himself useful, the "formidable problem" of organising supplies, which the Allies were unable to resolve and which could have compromised the outcome of the conflict. Having worked out the solution, namely joint planning by France and yngland he managed to obtain an audience with the President of the Council, Viviani, and convince him of the validity of his proposal. Monnet was sent to London, where he set up an Aug10-French pool that co-ordinated the acquisition and transport of supplies.

At the end of hostilities, due to his brilliant achievements, Monnet was nominated deputy to the secretary-general of the League of Nations. Monnet began his new mission with great enthusiasm. He felt, as did many of his contemporaries, that this new internationai organisation would be able to impose itself, "by its moral force, by appealing to public opinion and thanks to customs which would ultimately prevail". But he was soon forced to recognise that the League of Nations was simply unable to achieve the goals of peace and harmony which it had set itself. Decisions could only be taken unanimously. Commenting on his experience Monnet remarked that, "the veto is the profound cause and at the same time the symbol of the impossibility of overcoming national egoism". Neither a common will nor a common good could be achieved on this basis. In 1923, therefore, he resigned his post and returned to occupy himself with the family business. At the beginning of the Second World War, Monnet was once again sent to London to organise the common administration of the Allies' resources. Here, in June 1940, while the French army was being overwhelmed by Nazi troops, Monnet conceived a most audacious initiative which could have changed the entire course of the Second World War. He proposed a project for immediate federal union between France and Great Britain to Churchill and De Gaulle, who accepted it. The joint communiqué reads as follows; 'The two governments declare that in future France and Great Britain will no longer be two nations but a single Anglo-French Union. The constitution of the Union will entail common organisations for defence, foreign policy and economic affairs... The two Parliaments will be officially united". However this desperate attempt to prevent the defeat of France fail because the French political class was already resigned to surrender.

Monnet thus decided to go to the United States in order to work on the Victory Program, convinced that America could fulfil a role as "the great arsenal of democracy". The economist Keynes was to say at the end of conflict that through his co-ordinating Monnet had probably shortened the Second World War by one year. In 1943, in Algiers, he joined the National Liberation Committee, "Free France", in which he collaborated with De Gaulle to organise the resistance in exile. During a meeting on 5th August 1943, Monnet declared to the Committee: "here will be no peace in Europe, if the states are reconstituted on the basis of national sovereignty... The countries of Europe are too small to guarantee their peoples the necessary prosperity and social development. The European states must constitute themselves into a federation..."

Immediately after liberation Monnet proposed a "global plan for modernisation and economic development" to the French government. Appointed Planning Commissioner, he carried out essential work for the reconstruction of the French economy. It was from this position that, in 1949, Monnet realised that the friction between Germany and France for control of the Ruhr, the important coal and steel region, was rising to dangerous levels, presaging a possible return to hostilities as had happened after the First World War. The solution to this state of affairs could not however be the federation, because France, proud of its so-recently recovered sovereignty, rejected it. For this reason Monnet, together with a few collaborators, drafted a revolutionan proposal: to pool, under the control of a European government, Franco-German coal and steel resources. The Monnet Memorandum to foreign minister Schuman states: "Bv pooling basic production and the establishment of a new High Authority, whose decisions will be binding on France, Germany and the countries that join them, this proposal will lay the first concrete foundations of a European federation, which is indispensable to the maintenance of peace". Schuman accepted the proposal and, in agreement with Adenauer, rendered it public on 9th May 1950. One year later, with the Treaty of Paris, six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg) founded the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). So began the Franco-German pacification which today still represents the profound sentiment underpinning the process of European unification.

In 1955, after the serious crisis provoked by France's refusal to ratify the European Defence Community (EDC), Monnet founded the Action Committee for the United States of Europe through which, until his death, he tirelessly called on the European political class not to abandon the path of European unity.

Gradualism and constitutionalism

The strategy indicated by Monnet for constructing European unity can be termed the gradualist, or functionalist, method. The ECSC proposal represents the model, which subsequently inspired a large number of variants. Monnet felt there was only one way out of the impasse between France and Germany: "with a concrete and resolute action on a limited but decisive point, which provokes a fundamental change on this point and progressively modifies the actual terms of the problem as a whole" (Memorandum of 3rd May 1950). The creation of the ECSC did indeed bring about the results envisaged by Monnet. With Franco-German pacification, all aspects of the European problem were modified. There was a shift away from confrontation and the threat of a resurgence of power politics, toward the politics of cooperation, and over time it even became possible, through timely initiatives, to develop the seeds of democratic power contained in the ECSC project.

Initially Altiero Spinelli and the federalists criticised Monnet's functionalist approach, because it allowed confederal features of European politics, by which the governments retained a power of veto, to exist alongside supranational aspects. The pooling of certain sectors in reality masked the fact that governments were unwilling to cede sovereignty, which remained intact at the national level for the fundamental sectors of the currency and defence. In contrast to the functionalist method, Spinelli proposed the constituent method as the only democratic way to build a Europe of the people with the involvement of the people themselves. However, the long hard struggles to renderthe European Comniunity democratic have convinced the federalists of the complementary nature of the gradualist and constituent methods. As long as the framework of international politics remains favourable to the European unification process, every institutional reform which favours unitv reinforces the position of the pro-European forces and enables more advanced forms of struggle. This is the case with monetary union, which is provided for in the Maastricht Treary. and which, if realised without a democratic European government, will expose crucial contradictions. Only through a democratic constitution which clearly defines the powers. responsibilities and rights of citizens, will European institutions cease to be considered by public opinion as the bureaucratic Europe of governments, and finally become the democratic Europe of citizens. In short, while Monnet's gradualist method made it possible to start the process of European unification, Spinelli's constituent method is indispensable in order to bring it to completion.

by "The Altiero Spinelli Institute for Federalist Studies" Directorate: via Porta Pertusi, 6 - 27100 Pavia, Legal Headquarter: Municipio di Ventotene (Latina)

The Greatness of Jean Monnet

Monnet was never the leader of a government, a party, an administration, or an organised force; and when he found himself at the head of an organisation (the French Planning Commissariat, and the European Coal and Steel Community), they were organisations that he himself had created, and which he managed for as long as they remained in a "nascent state". Precisein for this reason his case is worthy of meditation. Jt is usually held that one man alone is reduced to impotence in our organised and complex world, even as regards knowledge (this is why the boundations of morality, which rest on nothing but individuals, are shaky)...

Without Monnet's action there would be no Community. Over the years, months anddays before its arrival, there was not a hint or a trace ofsuch a project to address the issue in question (what role West German) was to be given in the Atlantic system) among the parties, their deliberative and executive bodies, the government ministries or the governments themselves. The project was Monnets. and the action of securing its acceptance by the governments was Monnet's (to Schuman and Adenauer belongs the credit, which in political terms was immense, of having immediately accepted Monnet's proposals. These are the facts, and their significance is clear. Monnet created the Community, and the Communitv conditioned European and world politics. This means that for the last twenty five years , the great historical forces have followed or opposed a course of affairs that was established in part by one man alone, Jean Monnet.

M. Albertini, Il Federalista, 1977

Politics According to Jean Monnet: Man of Action and Man of Power


What I undertook in every important phase of my life proceeded from one choice and one alone, and this limitation to a single goal has preserved me from the temptations of variety and also from the taste for power with its many facets.

This is how I am made, and could not be otherwise. But I also believe that some things demand to be treated this way to obtain a result. This rule does not apply to those who must occupy themselves with all the affairs of state, since they have to consider all problems asa whole. This other attitude of mind, which is necessary to the politician, contains in itself the limits of his power over things. If he were dominated by a single idea, he would no longer be available for others, which however are also included in his duty; inversely, by dedicating himself to all, he risks losing that chance to act which is unique. Finding myself faced with this dilemma, I realised that I had better things to do than to try to exert power myself. I realised moreover that in order to accede to this position I would have had to force myself For the politician, the objective of every instant is to be in government, and there to be the first.

I have known no great politician who was not strongly' egocentric, and for good reason: if he were not so, he would never have imposed his image and his persona. I could not have been this way, not that I was modest, but one cannot concentrate on one thing and on oneself. And this thing has always been the same for me: to make all men work together, to show them that beyond their divergences or over and above frontiers, thev have a common interest. If competition was lively around power, it was practically zero in the domain in which I wanted to act, that of preparing for the future, which by definition is not illuminated bv the lights of current affairs. Sin ce I did not bother the politicians, I could count on their support. Moreover, whereas it takes a long time to reach power, it takes very little to explain to those who have arrived there how to get out of present difficulties: it is a language which they are glad to listen to at the critical moment. At that moment, when they' are short of ideas, they are glad to accept yours, so long as they can claim the credit. Since the risks are theirs, they need the laurels. In my work. one has to forget about laurels. Whatever others may say about it, I have no liking for the shade, but if it is only at the price of self-effacement that I can conclude matters, well, in that case I choose the shade.

J. Monnet, Memoires, 1976.



Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), popularly called Mahatma (Great Soul) Gandhi, was the main architect of the Indian nation and is rightly called the Father of the Nation. Gandhi was among India's most fervent nationalists, fighting for Indian independence from British rule. Gandhi spearheaded the non-violent method of protest, which was termed "Satyagraha". For his dedicated service to the Indian Independence movement, Gandhi is often called the "Father of the Nation." (Listen to Gandhi)

Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869, in Porbanda, India. His family belonged to the Vaishya (merchant) class of Hindus and the young Gandhi received a fairly orthodox, upbringing. At the age of 13 years, Gandhi's marriage was held, his bride, Kasturba, being the same age and chosen by his parents. Gandhi was soon sent to London to study law and there he quickly became aware of his ineptness in social gatherings. In his autobiography, Gandhi narrates his attempts at getting Westernized, including violin and ball-room dancing lessons. In 1891 Gandhi returned to India to practice law but was too shy and awkward and thus met with little success.

In 1893, Gandhi went to South Africa, then under British control, for legal work. Racial discrimination was freely practiced and in a incident that would change his life, Gandhi was forcefully evicted from a first class train compartment. This incident in South Africa opened Gandhi's eyes to the rampant racial discrimination and humiliation faced by non-whites. For 21 years, Gandhi stayed in South Africa, working towards rights for Indians in South Africa. He began the "Tolstoy Farm" in South Africa and edited the newspaper called 'Indian Opinion'. Gandhi began experimenting with non-violent methods of protest, promoting civil disobedience and strikes or "hartals." Gandhi was arrested several times but his action prompted some reforms. Ironically, for his humanitarian work during the 1899-1902 Boer War and Zulu Rebellion, Gandhi was decorated by the British authorities.

In 1915 Gandhi returned to India and toured the country extensively, making Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat, his base. In July 1917, Gandhi first stepped into the limelight in India, when he headed a protest against the exploitation of the Indigo workers in Champaran (Bihar). By March 1918 Gandhi led a peaceful strike of Ahmedabad (Gujarat) Mill workers for higher wages.

In protest against the Rowlatt Act imposing war time restrictions on Indians, Gandhi launched the Rowlatt Satyagraha on 6th April 1919. It was a combination of hartals, fasting and prayer meetings and breaking of some civil laws. But the Rowlatt Satyagraha ended amidst the violence of the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre and Gandhi called of his "Himalayan blunder." But the initial phase of the Rowlatt Movement had proved the potential of Satyagraha and thus both the Indian National Congress and Khilafat leaders supported the Non Co-operation Movement of 1920. The participation of women, children, all castes and religions made this a truly mass movement and the era of Gandhism entered its greatest phase. But Gandhi called off the movement because of a violent incident at Chaurichaura (United Province).

During the 1942 Quit India Movement, Gandhi gave a suprisingly agitated speech, exhorting Indians to "Do or Die" employing any measures they saw fit while opposing the British. Many believed Gandhi himself was frustrated with British inaction and was therefore indicating he would not protest against violence. But on the eve of Independence and after, Gandhi spent much time in fasting, grieving over partition and performing Satyagrahas to quell the sectarian violence that partition brought. On Independence day, Gandhi was in Calcutta praying for peace and indeed the city, which had seen Hindu-Muslim massacres for months, remained calm. In January 1948 Gandhi once again began a fast to protest against religious violence but assurances from religious leaders led him to break his fast on 18th January 1948. 12 days later, a Hindu fanatic, Naturam Godse, blaming Gandhi for partition and "betraying" Hindus, shot Gandhi at a prayer meeting inDelhi. This was a tragic end for a man dedicated to non-violence.

In his personal life Gandhi's staunch adherence to his principles was often seen as eccentric. His pre-occupation with diets, meditation and abstinence from sexual relations have been widely written and commented upon. As a family man, the 'Father of the Nation', often had no time to be a father to his 4 sons. Indeed Gandhi's relationship with his eldest son was deeply troubled and in 1948, Harilal was disallowed from lighting his father's pyre, for once having converted to Islam. Kasturba, was always seen supporting her husband, but whether she was offered any other choice is unlikely. Indeed when Gandhi insisted on not sending their sons to government educational institutions, Kasturba protested. But Gandhi had his way. Historians have numerous portrayals of Gandhi. Nationalists revere him, Hindu fanatics blamed him for partition, Dalits suspected Gandhi's commitment to their upliftment and British imperialists, like Winston Churchill, hated him. Judith Brown portrays Gandhi as a master of symbolism and cultivator of mass support, while recent authors harp on Gandhi's "eccentricities." But no one view could possibly represent the man whose philosophy of Satyagraha influenced people as far flung as the Civil rights campaigns of Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela's anti-aphartheid movement. Ultimately Gandhi became synonymous with the Indian Independence movement and R. Tagore expressed the vision of millions when he called Gandhi the "Great Soul"; "the Mahatma."

See also Gandhi's works online!