4 Things That Happened More Recently Than You Think
Women’s suffrage, combat on horseback, ubiquitous polio, and execution by guillotine
This video is part of our Kite & Key Shorts series—easy to understand...but hard to forget.
In a world that’s moving faster than ever, our perspective on history can get distorted. Many things that seem like ancient history actually occurred more recently than you may think.
For example, Americans think of women’s suffrage as a triumph of the early 20th century. But in some parts of Switzerland, women didn’t get the vote until 1991.i
Fighting on horseback might seem like something you only see in paintings ... but U.S. soldiers rode into combat as recently as 2001, during the war in Afghanistan.ii
As recently as the 1950s, polio paralyzed over 15,000 Americans a year.iii During summer outbreaks, beaches, movie theaters, and bowling alleys would close to stop the spread. Thanks to the polio vaccine, however, the U.S. hasn’t had a single case of the disease since 1979.
One piece of recent history is particularly grim.
We generally associate the guillotine with the French Revolution ... but France used the device to conduct executions as recently as 1977.iv
It’s always worth remembering that while the present day can seem stressful ... some things have definitely gotten better with time.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Switzerland did not allow all women to vote until 1991.
- U.S. soldiers fought on horseback in Afghanistan as recently as 2001.
- France carried out its last execution by guillotine in 1977.
- "50 Years of Women’s Suffrage in Switzerland" (Jenny Gesley) — Library of Congress
- How the ‘Horse Soldiers’ Helped Liberate Afghanistan From the Taliban 18 Years Ago (Diana Stancy Correll) — Military Times
- "Polio Elimination in the United States" — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- "Sept. 10, 1977: Heads Roll for the Last Time in France" (Tony Long) — Wired
SOUND: Old is New (The Texas Gypsies)
FOOTAGE: Mr. Cup / Fabian Barral (Unsplash)
CITED SOURCES AND NEWS OUTLETS ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH AND HAVE NOT ENDORSED OR SPONSORED ANY PORTION OF THIS PRODUCTION.
- Library of Congress
"50 Years of Women’s Suffrage in Switzerland" (Jenny Gesley)
- Military Times
How the ‘Horse Soldiers’ Helped Liberate Afghanistan From the Taliban 18 Years Ago (Diana Stancy Correll)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"Polio Elimination in the United States"
"Sept. 10, 1977: Heads Roll for the Last Time in France" (Tony Long)