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Friday, November 23, 2018

Plato Biography and life story



Plato (423 BC – 348 BC) was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens – the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science. Plato influenced a whole range of subjects from philosophy to maths, logic, and ethics.

The early life of Plato is only partially recorded, but he was born in an aristocratic family in Athens. This enabled him to gain a good education, where he soon impressed those around him with his speed of learning and clarity of thought.

Relationship with Socrates
A key element of Plato’s writings is his frequent references to Socrates. Socrates appears in most of Plato’s writings, and it is clear that Socrates and his Socratic dialogues had a big influence on the young Plato.

It is only through Plato, that we get a clear idea of Socrates’ philosophy and way of life. In ‘Apology of Socrates‘, Plato writes an account of Socrates defending himself in a trial which ultimately led to his own death.

However, Plato was not merely transcribing the words of Socrates; he was also using his own interpretations and ideas to those which he learned from him.

Plato’s Central Doctrines
Plato wrote on a whole range of topics, but it is his ethics and general philosophy which seemed to be his biggest interest. Plato wrote that he saw a distinction between the body (corporeal world) and the soul. He also saw a distinction between the imperfection of the material world and the highest ideals which transcend material imperfections. Plato felt that someone of a ‘philosophic mind’ could differentiate between outward limitations and the highest ideals of beauty, truth, unity, and justice. It is a philosophy which hints at the limitations of the material and mental world and encourages an aspiration to higher ideals.

He also mentions that the life we live is based on previous choices in either this incarnation of the soul or previous incarnations. Plato’s philosophy was also heavily influenced by Pythagoras, especially his religious views on transmigration.

In Politics, Plato developed the idea of a ‘Philosopher King’ someone who would be a wisdom lover and develop the necessary qualities to rule over his people with wisdom and justice. He makes the analogy to a ship’s captain or doctor. Someone who knows best what his patient needs.

“Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophize, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide, while the many natures who at present pursue either one exclusively are forcibly prevented from doing so, cities will have no rest from evils,… nor, I think, will the human race.” (Republic 473c-d)

This made Plato a critic of the current Athenian system of democracy.

Style of Teaching
Plato doesn’t write treatises, but writes in an indirect way, encouraging the reader to ask questions and think for himself. There is also signs of development and changes in thought, though some of this is due to uncertainty over whether letters ascribed to Plato, were actually written by him. But, like his teacher Socrates, Plato is often happy to play the role of observer rather than a preacher.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Pele Biography

Pele Biography
Pele Biography
PelePele is the most iconic footballer of the Twentieth Century. He epitomised the flair, joy and passion the Brazilians bought to the game.

Pele was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on 23 October 1940 in Três Corações, Minas Gerais, Brazil. He was named after the American inventor Thomas Edison (his parents removed the i). In his childhood, he gained a nickname ‘Pele’ – after he mispronouced the name of a goalkeeper ‘Bile’ – Initially Pele disliked it and complained, but the more he complained, the more it stuck. Pele has no meaning, though the word Bilé is Hebrew for “miracle.”

Pele grew up in poverty in São Paulo. He was taught to play football by his father (who used to play football), but often he had  to practise with a sock stuffed with newspapers because he could not afford to buy a football. As well as playing football, he worked as a waiter in local tea shops.

In his youth, Pele played in indoor leagues, and this helped increase his speed of reactions. He rose through the youth leagues and at the age of 15 was signed by Santos FC. He was soon marked out as a future star. By the age of 16 he was the top scorer in the Brazilian league and received a call up for the Brazilian national side. Interest was such that the Brazilian President declared Pele a national treasure to prevent him being bought by foreign clubs such as Manchester United.

As a teenager, the young and unknown Pele helped inspire Brazil to victory in the 1958 World Cup. He scored in the final during a 5-2 win over Sweden and finished the competition with six goals and a reputation as the brightest prospect in football. In 1962, Pele helped Brazil to retain the World Cup. In 1966, Brazil were hot favourites, but, lost out to the home nation England.

His crowning glory was the Brazilian victory in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. In this World Cup, some of the football played by Brazil and Pele was widely considered to the greatest in the history of the game. Brazil won the final 4-1 against Italy; it was a genuine advertisement for the ‘beautiful game’ and a fitting pinnacle of Pele’s international career.

Pele went on to score over 1,000 goals in professional games. (The 1000th goal coming as a penalty in the US league – sparking celebrations around the world). His strike rate in international games was one of the highest ever. In 92 appearances, he scored 77 goals.

peleIn the domestic league, Pele made his debut for Santos aged just 16. He played for Santos in the Brazilian league from until the 1972-73 season.

Pele finished his career in the lucrative US league. In 1975, he signed for New York Cosmos and played three seasons. He led the New York Cosmos to the US title in 1977 – the year of his retirement.

After retiring has gone on to be a great ambassador for football and sport in general. In 1992, Pelé was appointed a UN ambassador for ecology and the environment. He was also appointed a UNESCO goodwill ambassador. He is not only one of the most gifted footballers of his generation, but, also a mild-mannered man who used his fame and prestige for a positive effect.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Biography Margaret Thatcher

 Margaret Thatche Biography
Margaret Thatcher
Biography Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) was Britain’s first female prime minister (1979-90). She was known for her tough uncompromising, conservative political views, and became dubbed as ‘The Iron Lady’. On the UK domestic front she instituted many free market reforms, implemented the controversial poll tax and reduced the power of trades unions. In international affairs, she cultivated a close relationship with American President Ronald Reagan and also developed a working relationship with Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev as the Cold War drew to a close.

Early life
Margaret Hilda Roberts was born 13 October 1925 in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Her father owned a grocery store and was active in the local Methodist Church and Liberal politics. Margaret won a scholarship to the local Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School, where she became head-girl. She applied to Somerville College, Oxford University, and was accepted to study chemistry in 1943. She graduated in 1947 with second-class honours. During her time at Oxford, she was elected President of the Oxford University Conservative Association in 1946.

After graduating, she moved to Colchester, where she worked as a research chemist for BX Plastics. In 1951, she was invited to stand as the Conservative candidate in the safe Labour seat of Dartford. Although she lost, she impressed many in the party with her strong, articulate views. She also married Denis Thatcher in 1951. In 1953, she gave birth to two twins Carol and Mark.

Member of Parliament

In 1959, she was elected as MP for the seat of Finchley. Mrs Thatcher progressed through the ranks of the Conservative party to become education minister in Ed Heath’s government of the early 1970s. It was as education minister that Mrs Thatcher developed a rather crude nickname of “Maggie Thatcher – the milk snatcher” This was due to her policy as education secretary to end free school milk. However, although she was tipped as a rising star in the Conservative party, even as a cabinet minister, Mrs Thatcher proclaimed that Britain would never have a female prime minister.

“I don’t think there will be a woman Prime Minister in my lifetime.” (BBC Television, 5 March, 1973)

However, just a few years later in 1975, Mrs Thatcher defeated Edward Heath and was elected leader of the Conservative Party, and she became the leader of the Opposition. During the 1970s, Thatcher became acquainted with the ideological ideas of neo-conservative economists – influenced by figures such as Hayek and Friedman, they proposed less government, lower taxes and an end to Keynesian economics. This gave Thatcher a strong ideological stance, which she used to influence party policy.

Prime Minister 1979-90

Mrs Thatcher was elected Prime Minister in the Conservative landslide of 1979. Mrs Thatcher wasted no time in introducing controversial economic policies. She believed that a strict implementation of Monetarism was necessary to overcome the economic ills of inflation and low growth, which she blamed on the previous Labour government. However, although she was successful in reducing inflation, deflationary monetary policies caused a serious economic recession, in which unemployment rose to 3 million. Opinion was strongly against many of her policies. In a famous letter to the Times newspaper, 360 economists wrote a letter arguing the government should change its policies immediately. However, in true Thatcher style, she refused. Instead, she stood up at the Conservative party conference and stated: “You turn if you want to, but this lady is not for turning.” It was characteristic of her whole premiership – fierce in her beliefs and unwavering in her commitment. (See: UK economy under Mrs Thatcher, 1979-84)

“To me, consensus seems to be: the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that need to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner ‘I stand for consensus’?”

– Mrs Thatcher, The Downing Street Years (1993)

Margaret Thatcher eIn the midst of the recession, the Falklands islands were invaded by the Argentinean army. Mrs Thatcher sent a British expeditionary force to reclaim the islands. With relatively light casualties (although many hundreds died in the conflict) the islands were retaken. This military victory brought a fillip in support for Thatcher. However, it is worth noting she was criticised for both her decision to sink the Belgrano (which was sailing away from the conflict zone) Others also criticised her triumphalist spirit. On reclaiming the islands, Mrs Thatcher proclaimed:

“Just rejoice at that news and congratulate our forces and the marines. .. Rejoice.”

Many felt this was inappropriate given the recent casualties on both the British and Argentinian sides.

Another defining feature of the early Thatcher administration was her battle with trades unions. Thatcher wanted to reduce the power of trades unions; in particular, she wished to reduce the influence of the militant mineworkers union, the NUM, led by Arthur Scargill. Mrs Thatcher prepared the country for a long strike; when the miners went all out on strike in 1984, they were eventually forced back into work after a year-long bitter struggle.

In foreign policy, she got on well with American President Ronald Reagan. They often met and talked of a ‘special relationship’ between the US and UK. Mrs Thatcher also expressed respect for Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev. She famously said of Gorbachev, that ‘he was a man who we could do business with’

Mrs Thatcher visited the Soviet Union in 1987, and was well received with thousands turning up to see the Iron Lady. The term ‘Iron Lady’ was initially designed as a critical label by a Russian newspaper in regards to Thatcher’s criticism of the USSR, but Thatcher seemed to revel in the label, and it stuck.

On a domestic front, the remaining years of her premiership were overshadowed by her controversial and dogmatic decision to stick with the poll tax. This was widely regarded as an unfair tax because everybody paid the same amount regardless of income. Opposition to the poll tax spilt over into violent protest and her popularity plummeted. She also became associated with policies to promote individualism. In one quote (often taken out of context) she said:

“They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations.” (transcript of interview)

Because of her declining popularity, she was eventually forced out as leader of the party and PM in 1990. Although she was bitter about her perceived betrayal, she left an unprecedented mark on the UK economic and political landscape. For good or ill, she changed the British economic and political situation. In particular, Thatcher marked a break with ‘One Nation Conservatism’ and the post-war consensus.

It is ironic that when Labour eventually regained power in 1997, it was largely due to the fact Tony Blair and new Labour took on board many of the economic policies that Mrs Thatcher had initiated. There was often a mutual respect between Mrs Thatcher and Tony Blair.

Thatcher died on 8 April 2013 at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Queen Victoria Biography life style

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria Biography
Short Biography of Queen Victoria (1819 –1901)

Queen Victoria was born 24 May 1819. She was the granddaughter of George III, and her father, Edward was fourth in line to the throne. But when the prince of Wales died early, his brothers sought to get married and maintain the line of succession.

queen-victoriaEdward married Princess Victoria from Germany, and the couple had just one child, Alexandrina Victoria, who was born at Kensington Palace in 1819. As a young girl, Victoria’s father died, followed six days later by King George III. The throne then passed to  King William IV, but, he too died early. This left Victoria to be crowned at the age of 18, in June 1837. Queen Victoria was to reign until her death on 22nd January 1901.

Queen Victoria and Nineteenth-Century Britain
The 19th Century was a time of unprecedented expansion for Britain in term of both of industry and Empire. Although her popularity ebbed and flowed during her reign, towards the end of her crown, she had become a symbol of British imperialism and pride.

The Victorian period also witnessed great advances in science and technology. It became known as the steam age, enabling people to easily travel throughout the UK and the World.

Queen Victoria was emblematic of this period. She was an enthusiastic supporter of the British Empire. She celebrated at Lord Kitchener’s victory in the Sudan; she supported British involvement in the Boer War. She was also happy to preside over the expansion of the British Empire, which was to stretch across the globe. In 1877 Queen Victoria was made Empress of India, in a move instigated by the imperialist Disraeli. Famously, at the end of the Victorian period, people could say ‘the sun never set on the British Empire.’

Queen Victoria was conservative in her politics and social views. This led to an unfortunate episode. When she saw a servant who appeared to be pregnant, Victoria claimed she was having an affair. The Queen actually made her take a test to prove she was a virgin. The test was positive and the growth in her stomach was actually a form of cancer; a few months later the servant died, and Queen Victoria suffered a decline in her popularity as a result of this episode.

In the early part of her reign, she became a close friend and confident of the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. She spent many hours talking to him and relied on his political advice. Lord Melbourne was a Whig, with conservative attitudes. He tried to shield Queen Victoria from the extreme poverty that was endemic in parts of the UK.

Queen Victoria was also highly devoted to her husband, Prince Albert; together they had nine children. When Prince Albert died in 1861, at the age of 41, Queen Victoria went into deep mourning and struggled to overcome this loss. She became reclusive and was reluctant to appear in public. Parliament and Benjamin Disraeli had to use all their persuasive power to get her to open parliament in 1866 and 1867. Her hiding from the public led to a decline in popularity. However, by the end of her reign, her popularity was restored. This was partly due to the rise of Great Britain as the leading superpower of the era.

For various reasons, several attempts were made on the life of Queen Victoria. These were mostly between 1840 and 1882. She was always unharmed, but her courageous attitude helped to endear her to the public.

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of Queen Victoria”, Oxford, UK., 23rd May 2014. Last updated 8 March 2018.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Muhammad Ali Biography and boxer story

World Champion boxer
 Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali Biography
Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. January 17, 1942 – 3 June 2016) was an Olympic and World Champion boxer, who also had a unique personality, based on self-belief and strong religious and political convictions.  In 1999, Ali was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated. He won the World Heavyweight Boxing championship three times and won the North American Boxing Federation championship as well as an Olympic gold medal.

“I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round. “

Muhammad Ali

Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1942. He was named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr., (who was named after the 19th-century abolitionist and politician Cassius Clay). Ali would later change his name after joining the Nation of Islam. He subsequently converted to Sunni Islam in 1975.

Early boxing career
Standing at 6’3″ (1.91 m), Ali had a highly unorthodox style for a heavyweight boxer. Rather than the normal boxing style of carrying the hands high to defend the face, he instead relied on his quick feet and ability to avoid a punch. In Louisville, October 29, 1960, Cassius Clay won his first professional fight. He won a six-round decision over Tunney Hunsaker, who was the police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia. From 1960 to 1963, the young fighter amassed a record of 19-0, with 15 knockouts. He defeated such boxers as Tony Esperti, Jim Robinson, Donnie Fleeman, Alonzo Johnson, George Logan, Willi Besmanoff, Lamar Clark (who had won his previous 40 bouts by knockout), Doug Jones, and Henry Cooper. Among Clay’s victories were versus Sonny Banks (who knocked him down during the bout), Alejandro Lavorante, and the aged Archie Moore (a boxing legend who had fought over 200 previous fights, and who had been Clay’s trainer prior to Angelo Dundee).

muhammad_aliClay won a disputed 10 round decision over Doug Jones, who, despite being lighter than Clay, staggered Clay as soon as the fight started with a right hand, and beat Clay to the punch continually during the fight. The fight was named “Fight of the Year” for 1963. Clay’s next fight was against Henry Cooper, who knocked Clay down with a left hook near the end of the fourth round. The fight was stopped in the 5th round due to a deep cut on Cooper’s face.

Despite these close calls against Doug Jones and Henry Cooper, he became the top contender for Sonny Liston’s title. In spite of Clay’s impressive record, he was not expected to beat the champion. The fight was to be held on February 25, 1964, in Miami, Florida. During the weigh-in before the fight, Ali frequently taunted Liston. Ali dubbed him “the big ugly bear”, and declared that he would “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee,” Ali was ready to dance around the ring, as he said, “Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.”

This was a typical buildup for Ali, who increasingly enjoyed playing to the crowd and creating a buzz before a fight. It was good news for fight promoters, who saw increased interest in any fight involving the bashful Ali.

Vietnam War
In 1964, Ali failed the Armed Forces qualifying test because his writing and spelling skills were inadequate. However, in early 1966, the tests were revised and Ali was reclassified 1A. He refused to serve in the United States Army during the Vietnam War as a conscientious objector, because “War is against the teachings of the Holy Koran. I’m not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don’t take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers.” Ali also famously said,

Ali also famously said,

“I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong” and “no Vietcong ever called me nigger.”

Ali refused to respond to his name being read out as Cassius Clay, stating, as instructed by his mentors from the Nation of Islam, that Clay was the name given to his slave ancestors by the white man.

“Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name – it means beloved of God – and I insist people use it when people speak to me and of me.”

By refusing to respond to this name, Ali’s personal life was filled with controversy. Ali was essentially banned from fighting in the United States and forced to accept bouts abroad for most of 1966.

From his rematch with Liston in May 1965, to his final defence against Zora Folley in March 1967, he defended his title nine times. Few other heavyweight champions in history have fought so much in such a short period.

Ali was scheduled to fight WBA champion Ernie Terrell in a unification bout in Toronto on March 29, 1966, but Terrell backed out and Ali won a 15-round decision against substitute opponent George Chuvalo. He then went to England and defeated Henry Cooper and Brian London by stoppage on cuts. Ali’s next defence was against German southpaw Karl Mildenberger, the first German to fight for the title since Max Schmeling. In one of the tougher fights of his life, Ali stopped his opponent in round 12.

Ali returned to the United States in November 1966 to fight Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams in the Houston Astrodome. A year and a half before the fight, Williams had been shot in the stomach at point-blank range by a Texas policeman. As a result, Williams went into the fight missing one kidney, 10 feet of his small intestine, and with a shrivelled left leg from nerve damage from the bullet. Ali beat Williams in three rounds.

On February 6, 1967, Ali returned to a Houston boxing ring to fight Terrell in what became one of the uglier fights in boxing. Terrell had angered Ali by calling him Clay, and the champion vowed to punish him for this insult. During the fight, Ali kept shouting at his opponent, “What’s my name, Uncle Tom … What’s my name.” Terrell suffered 15 rounds of brutal punishment, losing 13 of 15 rounds on two judges’ scorecards, but Ali did not knock him out. Analysts, including several who spoke to ESPN on the sports channel’s “Ali Rap” special, speculated that the fight only continued because Ali chose not to end it, choosing instead to further punish Terrell. After the fight, Tex Maule wrote, “It was a wonderful demonstration of boxing skill and a barbarous display of cruelty.”

Ali’s actions in refusing military service and aligning himself with the Nation of Islam made him a lightning rod for controversy, turning the outspoken but popular former champion into one of that era’s most recognisable and controversial figures. Appearing at rallies with Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad and declaring his allegiance to him at a time when mainstream America viewed them with suspicion — if not outright hostility — made Ali a target of outrage, and suspicion as well. Ali seemed at times to even provoke such reactions, with viewpoints that wavered from support for civil rights to outright support of separatism.

Near the end of 1967, Ali was stripped of his title by the professional boxing commission and would not be allowed to fight professionally for more than three years. He was also convicted for refusing induction into the army and sentenced to five years in prison. Over the course of those years in exile, Ali fought to appeal his conviction. He stayed in the public spotlight and supported himself by giving speeches primarily at rallies on college campuses that opposed the Vietnam War.

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs?”

– Muhammad Ali – explaining why he refused to fight in Vietnam

In 1970, Ali was allowed to fight again, and in late 1971 the Supreme Court reversed his conviction.

Muhammad Ali’s comeback
In 1970, Ali was finally able to get a boxing license. With the help of a State Senator, he was granted a license to box in Georgia because it was the only state in America without a boxing commission. In October 1970, he returned to stop Jerry Quarry on a cut after three rounds. Shortly after the Quarry fight, the New York State Supreme Court ruled that Ali was unjustly denied a boxing license. Once again able to fight in New York, he fought Oscar Bonavena at Madison Square Garden in December 1970. After a tough 14 rounds, Ali stopped Bonavena in the 15th, paving the way for a title fight against Joe Frazier.

The Fight of the Century
Ali and Frazier fought each other on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden. The fight, known as ‘”The Fight of the Century”, was one of the most eagerly anticipated bouts of all time and remains one of the most famous. It featured two skilled, undefeated fighters, both of whom had reasonable claims to the heavyweight crown. The fight lived up to the hype, and Frazier punctuated his victory by flooring Ali with a hard left hook in the 15th and final round and won on points. Frank Sinatra — unable to acquire a ringside seat — took photos of the match for Life Magazine. Legendary boxing announcer Don Dunphy and actor and boxing aficionado Burt Lancaster called the action for the broadcast, which reached millions of people.

Frazier eventually won the fight and retained the title with a unanimous decision, dealing Ali his first professional loss. Despite an impressive performance, Ali may have still been suffering from the effects of “ring rust” due to his long layoff.

In 1973, after a string of victories over the top Heavyweight opposition in a campaign to force a rematch with Frazier, Ali split two bouts with Ken Norton (in the bout that Ali lost to Norton, Ali suffered a broken jaw).

Rumble in the Jungle
In 1974, Ali gained a match with champion George Foreman. The fight took place in Zaire (the Congo) – Ali wanted the fight to be there to help give an economic boost to this part of Africa. The pre-match hype was as great as ever.

“Floats like a butterfly, sting like a bee, his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.”

– Muhammad Ali – before the 1974 fight against George Foreman

Against the odds, Ali won the rematch in the eighth round. Ali had adopted a strategy of wearing Foreman down though absorbing punches on the ropes – a strategy later termed – rope a dope.

This gave Ali another chance at the world title against Frazer

“It will be a killer, and a chiller, and a thriller, when I get the gorilla in Manila.”

– Ali before Frazer fight.

The fight lasted 14 rounds, with Ali finally proving victorious in the testing African heat.

Muhammad Ali in retirement
Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the early 1980s, following which his motor functions began a slow decline. Although Ali’s doctors disagreed during the 1980s and 1990s about whether his symptoms were caused by boxing and whether or not his condition was degenerative, he was ultimately diagnosed with Pugilistic Parkinson’s syndrome. By late 2005 it was reported that Ali’s condition was notably worsening. According to the documentary ‘When We Were Kings’ when Ali was asked about whether he has any regrets about boxing due to his disability, he responded that if he didn’t box he would still be a painter in Louisville, Kentucky.

Speaking of his own Parkinson’s disease, Ali remarks how it has helped him to look at life in a different perspective.

“Maybe my Parkinson’s is God’s way of reminding me what is important. It slowed me down and caused me to listen rather than talk. Actually, people pay more attention to me now because I don’t talk as much.”

“I always liked to chase the girls. Parkinson’s stops all that. Now I might have a chance to go to heaven.”

Muhammad Ali, BBC

Despite the disability, he remained a beloved and active public figure. Recently he was voted into Forbes Celebrity 100 coming in at number 13 behind Donald Trump. In 1985, he served as a guest referee at the inaugural WrestleMania event. In 1987 he was selected by the California Bicentennial Foundation for the U.S. Constitution to personify the vitality of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights in various high profile activities. Ali rode on a float at the 1988 Tournament of Roses Parade, launching the U.S. Constitution’s 200th birthday commemoration. He also published an oral history, Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times with Thomas Hauser, in 1991. Ali received a Spirit of America Award calling him the most recognised American in the world. In 1996, he had the honour of lighting the flame at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1999, Ali received a special one-off award from the BBC at its annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award ceremony, which was the BBC Sports Personality of the Century Award. His daughter Laila Ali also became a boxer in 1999, despite her father’s earlier comments against female boxing in 1978: “Women are not made to be hit in the breast, and face like that… the body’s not made to be punched right here [patting his chest]. Get hit in the breast… hard… and all that.”

On September 13, 1999, Ali was named “Kentucky Athlete of the Century” by the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Galt House East.

In 2001, a biographical film, entitled Ali, was made, with Will Smith starring as Ali. The film received mixed reviews, with the positives generally attributed to the acting, as Smith and supporting actor Jon Voight earned Academy Award nominations. Prior to making the Ali movie, Will Smith had continually rejected the role of Ali until Muhammad Ali personally requested that he accept the role. According to Smith, the first thing Ali said about the subject to Smith was: “You ain’t pretty enough to play me”.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony on November 9, 2005, and the prestigious “Otto Hahn peace medal in Gold” of the United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN) in Berlin for his work with the US civil rights movement and the United Nations (December 17, 2005).

On November 19, 2005 (Ali’s 19th wedding anniversary), the $60 million non-profit Muhammad Ali Center opened in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to displaying his boxing memorabilia, the centre focuses on core themes of peace, social responsibility, respect, and personal growth.

According to the Muhammad Ali Center website in 2012,

“Since he retired from boxing, Ali has devoted himself to humanitarian endeavours around the globe. He is a devout Sunni Muslim, and travels the world over, lending his name and presence to hunger and poverty relief, supporting education efforts of all kinds, promoting adoption and encouraging people to respect and better understand one another. It is estimated that he has helped to provide more than 22 million meals to feed the hungry. Ali travels, on average, more than 200 days per year.”

Muhammad Ali died on 3 June 2016, from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease.

“Will they ever have another fighter who writes poems, predicts rounds, beats everybody, makes people laugh, makes people cry and is as tall and extra pretty as me?”

Muhammad Ali

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of Muhammad Ali”, Oxford, UK – Last updated 3rd February 2018

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Nelson Mandela biography and life story.

Biography Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
 Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) was a South African political activist who spent over 20 years in prison for his opposition to the apartheid regime; he was released in 1990. In 1994, Mandela was later elected the first leader of a democratic South Africa. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (jointly with F.W. de Klerk) in 1993 for his work in helping to end racial segregation in South Africa. He is considered the father of a democratic South Africa and widely admired for his ability to bring together a nation, previously divided by apartheid. Nelson Mandela is one of the most admired political leaders of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Century for his vision to forgive and forge a new ‘rainbow’ nation.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Short Bio of Nelson Mandela
A young Nelson Mandela (1938)

Nelson Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa on July 18, 1918. He was the son of a local tribal leader of the Tembu tribe. As a youngster, Nelson took part in the activities and initiation ceremonies of his local tribe. However, unlike his father Nelson Mandela gained a full education, studying at the University College of Fort Hare and also the University of Witwatersrand. Nelson was a good student and qualified with a law degree in 1942.

During his time at University, Nelson Mandela became increasingly aware of the racial inequality and injustice faced by non-white people. In 1943, he decided to join the ANC and actively take part in the struggle against apartheid.

As one of the few qualified lawyers, Nelson Mandela was in great demand; also his commitment to the cause saw him promoted through the ranks of the ANC. In 1956, Nelson Mandela, along with several other members of the ANC were arrested and charged with treason. After a lengthy and protracted court case, the defendants were finally acquitted in 1961. However, with the ANC now banned, Nelson Mandela suggested an active armed resistance to the apartheid regime. This led to the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe, which would act as a guerilla resistance movement. Receiving training in other African countries, the Umkhonto we Sizwe took part in active sabotage.

In 1963, Mandela was again arrested and put on trial for treason. This time the State succeeded in convicting Mandela of plotting to overthrow the government. However, the case received considerable international attention and the apartheid regime of South Africa became under the glare of the international community. At the end of his trial, Nelson Mandela made a long speech, in which he was able to affirm his commitment to the ideals of democracy.

“We believe that South Africa belongs to all the people who live in it, and not to one group, be it black or white. We did not want an interracial war, and tried to avoid it to the last minute.”

– Nelson Mandela, Supreme court of South Africa, Pretoria, April 20, 1964

Closing remark at the 1964 trial

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

– Nelson Mandela, Supreme court of South Africa, Pretoria, April 20, 1964. (See: full speech)

Time in Prison
mandela-prison-roomMandela’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and from 1964 –1981 he was incarcerated at Robben Island Prison, off Cape Town. In prison the conditions were sparse; however, Mandela was with many other political prisoners, and there was a strong bond of friendship which helped to make more bearable the difficult prison conditions. Also, in prison, Nelson Mandela was highly disciplined; he would try and study and take part in exercise every day. He later said these year of incarceration in jail were a period of great learning, even if painful. Mandela also created friendships with some of the guards. Mandela would later say that he felt he was fighting the apartheid system and not individual white people. It was in prison that Mandela became aware of the passion that Afrikaners had for rugby, and he developed an interest himself.

F.W.De Klerk and Nelson Mandela at World Economic Forum 1992.

During his time in prison, Mandela became increasingly well known throughout the world. Mandela became the best known black leader and was symbolic of the struggle against the apartheid regime. Largely unbeknown to Mandela, his continued imprisonment led to a world-wide pressure for his release. Many countries implemented sanctions on apartheid South Africa. Due to international pressure, from the mid-1980s, the apartheid regime increasingly began to negotiate with the ANC and Nelson Mandela in particular. On many occasions, Mandela was offered a conditional freedom. However, he always refused to put the political ideals of the ANC above his own freedom.

Freedom and a new Rainbow Nation
Mandela voting in 1994 election. Photo. P.Weinburg

Eventually, Nelson Mandela was released on February 11, 1990. The day was a huge event for South Africa and the world. His release symbolic of the impending end of apartheid. Following his release there followed protracted negotiations to secure a lasting settlement. The negotiations were tense often against the backdrop of tribal violence. However, in April 1994, South Africa had its first full and fair elections. The ANC, with 65% of the vote, were elected and Nelson Mandela became the first President of the new South Africa.

“The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us.”

– Nelson Mandela

As President, he sought to heal the rifts of the past. Despite being mistreated, he was magnanimous in his dealing with his former oppressors. His forgiving and tolerant attitude gained the respect of the whole South African nation and considerably eased the transition to a full democracy.

“If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named goodness and forgiveness.”

– Nelson Mandela

Governor-General of Australia
Photo: Governor-General of Australia

In 1995, the Rugby World Cup was held in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was instrumental in encouraging black South Africans to support the ‘Springboks’ – The Springboks were previously reviled for being a symbol of white supremacy. Mandela surprised many by meeting the Springbok captain, Francois Pienaar, before the World Cup to wish the team well. After an epic final, in which South Africa beat New Zealand, Mandela, wearing a Springbok jersey, presented the trophy to the winning South Africa team. De Klerk later stated Mandela successfully won the hearts of a million white rugby fans.

Nelson Mandela also oversaw the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee in which former crimes of apartheid were investigated, but stressing individual forgiveness and helping the nation to look forward. The Committee was chaired by Desmond Tutu, and Mandela later praised its work.

Nelson Mandela retired from the Presidency in 1999, to be succeeded by Thabo Mbeki. In Mandela’s later years, ill health curtailed his public life. However, he did speak out on certain issues. He was very critical of the US-led invasion of Iraq during 2003. Speaking in a Newsweek interview in 2002, he expressed concern at American actions, he said:

“I really wanted to retire and rest and spend more time with my children, my grandchildren and of course with my wife. But the problems are such that for anybody with a conscience who can use whatever influence he may have to try to bring about peace, it’s difficult to say no.” (10 September 2002)

He has also campaigned to highlight the issue of HIV / AIDS in South Africa.

Mandela was married three times, fathered six children, and had 17 grandchildren. His first wife was Evelyn Ntoko Mase. His second wife was Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, they split after an acrimonious dispute. Winnie was alleged to have an involvement in human rights abuses. Mandela married for a third time on his 80th birthday to Graça Machel.

Graça Michel, Sri Chinmoy and Nelson Mandela holding Peace Torch. Source

Nelson Mandela was often referred to as Madiba – his Xhosa clan name.

Nelson Mandela died on 5 December 2013 after a long illness with his family at his side. He was 95.

At his memorial, Barack Obama, the President of the US said:

“We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela ever again, so it falls to us, as best we can, to carry forward the example that he set. He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages.”

Abraham Lincoln, famous american president

Abraham Lincoln Biography
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln Biography
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds…. ”

– Abraham Lincoln--

Abraham Lincoln was born Feb 12, 1809, in a single-room log cabin, Hardin County, Kentucky. His family upbringing was modest; his parents from Virginia were neither wealthy or well known. At an early age, the young lincolnAbraham lost his mother, and his father moved away to Indiana. Abraham had to work hard splitting logs and other manual labour. But, he also had a thirst for knowledge and worked very hard to excel in his studies. This led him to become self-trained as a lawyer. He spent eight years working on the Illinois court circuit; his ambition, drive, and capacity for hard work were evident to all around him. Lincoln became respected on the legal circuit and he gained the nickname ‘Honest Abe.’ He often encouraged neighbours to mediate their own conflicts rather than pursue full legal litigation. Lincoln also had a good sense of humour and was deprecating about his looks.

“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”

Work colleagues and friends noted that Lincoln had a capacity to defuse tense and argumentative situations, though the use of humour and his capacity to take an optimistic view of human nature. He loved to tell stories to illustrate a serious point through the use of humour and parables.

Lincoln was shy around women but after a difficult courtship, he married Mary Todd in 1842. Mary Todd shared many of her husband’s political thinking but they also had different temperaments – with Mary more prone to swings in her emotions. They had four children, who Lincoln was devoted to. Although three died before reaching maturity – which caused much grief to both parents.

As a lawyer, Abraham developed a capacity for quick thinking and oratory. His interest in public issues encouraged him to stand for public office. In 1847, he was elected to the House of Representatives for Illinois and served from 1847-49. During his period in Congress, Lincoln criticised President Folk’s handling of the American-Mexican War, arguing Polk used patriotism and military glory to defend the unjust action of taking Mexican territory. However, Lincoln’s stance was politically unpopular and he was not re-elected.


braham_Lincoln_by_ByersAfter his political career appeared to be over, he returned to working as a lawyer in Illinois. However, the 1850s saw the slavery question re-emerge as a prominent divisive national issue. Lincoln abhorred slavery and from a political perspective wished to prevent slavery being extended and ultimately be phased out.

He gave influential speeches, which drew on the Declaration of Independence to prove the Founding Fathers had intended to stop the spread of slavery. In particular, Lincoln used a novel argument that although society was a long way from equality, America should aspire towards the lofty statement in the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal”

Lincoln had a strong capacity for empathy. He would try to see problems from everyone’s point of view – including southern slaveholders. He used this concept of empathy to speak against slavery.

“I have always thought that all men should be free; but if any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly, those who desire it for others. When I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”

Lincoln’s speeches were notable because they drew on both legal precedents but also easy to understand parables, which struck a chord with the public.

In 1858, Lincoln was nominated as Republican candidate for the Senate. He undertook a series of high-profile debates with the Democratic incumbent Stephen Douglass. Douglass was in favour of allowing the extension of slavery – if citizens voted for it. Lincoln opposed the extension of slavery. During this campaign, he gave one of his best-remembered speeches, which reflected on the divisive nature of America.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. ” (House Divided)

In this House Divided speech, Lincoln gave a prophetic utterance to the potential for slavery to divide the nation.

Although he lost this 1858 Senate election, his debating skills and oratory caused him to become well known within the Republican party.

On February 27, 1860. Lincoln was also invited to give a notable address at Cooper Union in New York. The East Coast was relatively new territory for Lincoln; many in the audience thought his appearance awkward and even ugly, but his calls for moral clarity over the wrongness of slavery struck a chord with his East coast audience.

“Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” (Cooper Union address)

The reputation he gained on the campaign trail and speeches on the East coast caused him to be put forward as a candidate for the Republican nominee for President in 1860. Lincoln was an outsider because he had much less experience than other leading candidates such as Steward, Bates and Chase, but after finishing second on the first ballot he went on to become unexpectedly nominated.

After a hard-fought, divisive campaign of 1860, Lincoln was elected the first Republican President of the United States. Lincoln’s support came entirely from the North and West of the country. The south strongly disagreed with Lincoln’s position on slavery

The election of Lincoln as President in 1861, sparked the South to secede from the North. Southern independence sentiment had been growing for many years, and the election of a president opposed to slavery was the final straw. However, Lincoln resolutely opposed the breakaway of the South, and this led to the American civil war with Lincoln committed to preserving the Union.

Lincoln surprised many by including in his cabinet the main rivals from the 1860 Republican campaign. It demonstrated Lincoln’s willingness and ability to work with people of different political and personal approaches. This helped to keep the Republican party together.

Abraham-linconThe Civil War was much more costly than many people anticipated and at times Lincoln appeared to be losing the support of the general population. But, Lincoln’s patient leadership, and willingness to work with unionist Democrats held the country together. Lincoln oversaw many of the military aspects of the war and promoted the general Ulysses S Grant to command the northern forces.

Initially, the war was primarily about the secession of southern states and the survival of the Union, but as the war progressed, Lincoln increasingly made the issue of ending slavery paramount.

On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared the freedom of slaves within the Confederacy.

“… all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free” (Emancipation Proclamation)

The Proclamation came into force on January 1, 1863. Towards the end of the year, many black regiments were raised to help the Union army.

Gettysburg address


After a difficult opening two years, by 1863, the tide of war started to swing towards the Union forces – helped by the victory at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. Lincoln felt able to redefine the goals of the civil war to include the ending of slavery.

Dedicating the ceremony at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, Lincoln declared:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address November 19, 1863

Eventually, after four years of attrition, the Federal forces secured the surrender of the defeated south. The union had been saved and the issue of slavery had been brought to a head.

After the Civil War
Lincoln 1862

In the aftermath of the civil war, Lincoln sought to reunite the country – offering a generous settlement to the south. When asked how to deal with the southern states, Lincoln replied. “Let ’em up easy.” Lincoln was opposed by more radical factions who wanted greater activism in the south to ensure civil rights for freed slaves.

On January 31, 1865, Lincoln helped pass through Congress a bill to outlaw slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was officially signed into law on December 6, 1865.

Some northern abolitionists and Republicans wanted Lincoln to go further and implement full racial equality on issues of education and voting rights. Lincoln was unwilling to do this (it was a minority political view for the time) Frederick Douglass, a leading black activist (who had escaped from slavery) didn’t always agree with the policies of Lincoln but after meeting Lincoln, he said enthusiastically of the President.

“He treated me as a man; he did not let me feel for a moment that there was any difference in the color of our skins! The President is a most remarkable man. I am satisfied now that he is doing all that circumstances will permit him to do.”


Five days after the surrender of Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth while visiting Ford’s Theatre. Lincoln’s death was widely mourned across the country.


Lincoln is widely regarded as one of America’s most influential and important presidents. As well as saving the Union and promoting Republican values, Lincoln was viewed as embodying the ideals of honesty and integrity.

Donald Trump Biography and politics.

Donald Trump Biography
Donald Trump
Donald Trump Biography
Donald Trump (1946 – ) is the 45th President of the US. For many years he was chairman and president of the Trump Organisation, which has a diverse range of business and real estate businesses. Trump also rose to prominence through his appearance in The Apprentice (U.S.) a reality tv show where contestants bid for the opportunity to head one of Trump’s companies.

Donald Trump was born 14 June 1946, in Queens, New York to German immigrant parents. His father Fred Trump was a successful real estate developer.

Donald attended the private Kew-Forest school, Fordham University and then the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1968 with a degree in economics. He was eligible for the Vietnam draft but received deferments for being a student, and later a medical deferment, attributed to heel spurs in both feet.

After leaving university, he worked with his father in real estate development in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. In the 1970s, with help from his father, he then moved to Manhattan, where Trump created the Trump Organisation.

“It was good for me,” Donald later commented. “You know, being the son of somebody, it could have been competition to me. This way, I got Manhattan all to myself.”

His business interests expanded, taking in hotels, casinos, Trump Shuttle airline and a mega-yacht. For Trump, the key attraction of his work was often in negotiating a deal.

“I don’t do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.”

– Donald Trump, The Art of the Deal (1987)

In 1991, losses from the Taj Mahal Casino forced Trump into bankruptcy, but he sold off parts of his business and was able to continue in business.

A distinctive feature of Trump’s business and real estate ventures has been the prominent use of his own name. For example, Trump World Tower, Trump Place and Trump clothing ranges. Trump is also a keen golfer and has brought many golf courses across the world, including Ireland and Scotland.

Many real estate property dealers and businesses have paid to license the Trump brand name. However, since his presidential election campaign of 2015 and 2016, many have sought to distance themselves from Trump’s controversial political views on Mexicans, women and Muslims. Retailers, such as Macy’s have dropped Trump-branded products.

Net Worth of Donald Trump
In 2012, Trump declared his own net worth at around $7 billion. In 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth at $4 billion. When running for Presidential candidate in 2015, Trump claimed a net worth in excess of ten billion dollars, though he said it can fluctuate with markets.

Trump was given $40 million from his father in 1974 (1)

Before the 2016 Presidential election, he refused to release his income tax returns – breaking with tradition. The New York Times released a tax return from 1995 which showed that Trump lost $916m in a single year and as a result could use tax laws to avoid paying federal taxes for 18 years, a charge he did not deny.

Other interests
From 1996 to 2015, Trump owned part of Miss Universe beauty pageants. Though Trump sold his interests in 2015, after a dispute over his presidential address on Mexican immigrants.

In 2003, Trump became the executive producer of the NBC programme – The Apprentice. It was one of the most popular tv programmes, with Trump selecting a candidate to gain a job in his business. During the series, Trump would fire the unsuccessful candidates with the catchphrase “You’re fired”

donald_trumpTrump has had mixed political affiliations. He has been both a registered Democrat and Republican. He has given money to both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. He was critical of both George Bush presidencies and said Bill Clinton was one of the best modern presidents. Since 2012, he has been in the Republican party and in 2015 announced his intention to seek the Republican candidacy.

During the 2016 primaries, his outsider persona made him an unexpected front-runner – dismaying the Republican establishment. Through the campaign, Trump projected a populist appeal. He has focused on dealing with electorate’s fears over immigrants and terrorism. His campaign slogan is “We are going to make our country great again.”

He also projected himself as a Washington outsider – from the private business sector rather than the political establishment, and a willingness to “tell it like it is” – with a willingness to be politically incorrect.

Trump’s controversial policies include the suggested deportation of illegal immigrants in the US and the building of a wall between Mexico and the US. He has called for a ban on Muslims entering the US, and greater surveillance of mosques.

His pledge to ban Muslims coming into the US has been criticised by many world figures and the US Pentagon. It would include banning many Muslims who are allies in the fight against terrorism. However, this has been controversial both home and abroad. The Pentagon issued a statement that “anything that bolsters ISIL’s narrative and pits the United States against the Muslim faith is certainly not only contrary to our values but contrary to our national security.”

On social issues he is conservative, declaring himself pro-life. He also is opposed to gun control and favours replacing the Affordable Care Act with a free market plan.

He has called global warming a “total hoax created by the Chinese to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” He supports increased fracking and is opposed to wind power.

Throughout his campaign, Trump’s controversial statements seemed to attract more popular support. As Trump himself stated on 23 January 2016

William Shakespeare life story and poet.

William Shakespeare life story
William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare
ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare (1564-1616). English poet and playwright –  Shakespeare is widely considered to be the greatest writer in the English language. He wrote 38 plays and 154 sonnets.

Short bio of William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon on 23rd April 1564.

His father William was a successful local businessman, and his mother Mary was the daughter of a landowner. Relatively prosperous, it is likely the family paid for Williams education, although there is no evidence he attended university.

In 1582 William, aged only 18, married an older woman named Anne Hathaway. They had three children, Susanna, Hamnet and Juliet. Their only son Hamnet died aged just 11.

shakespeareAfter his marriage, information about the life of Shakespeare is sketchy, but it seems he spent most of his time in London – writing and acting in his plays.

Due to some well-timed investments, Shakespeare was able to secure a firm financial background, leaving time for writing and acting. The best of these investments was buying some real estate near Stratford in 1605, which soon doubled in value.

It seemed Shakespeare didn’t mind being absent from his family – he only returned home during Lent when all the theatres were closed. It is thought that during the 1590s he wrote the majority of his sonnets. This was a time of prolific writing and his plays developed a good deal of interest and controversy. His early plays were mainly comedies (e.g. Much Ado about Nothing, A Midsummer’s Night Dream) and histories (e.g. Henry V)

By the early Seventeenth Century, Shakespeare had begun to write plays in the genre of tragedy. These plays, such as Hamlet, Othello and King Lear, often hinge on some fatal error or flaw in the lead character and provide fascinating insights into the darker aspects of human nature. These later plays are considered Shakespeare’s finest achievements.

Some academics, known as the “Oxfords,” claim that Shakespeare never actually wrote any plays. They contend Shakespeare was actually just a successful businessman, and for authorship suggest names such as Edward de Vere. Nevertheless, there is evidence of Shakespeare in theatres as he received a variety of criticism from people such as Ben Johnson and Robert Greene. When writing an introduction to Shakespeare’s First Folio of published plays in 1623, Johnson wrote of Shakespeare:

“not of an age, but for all time”

Shakespeare the Poet
William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets mostly in the 1590s. These short poems, deal with issues such as lost love. His sonnets have an enduring appeal due to his formidable skill with language and words.

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:”

– Sonnet CXVI

The Plays of Shakespeare
The plays of Shakespeare have been studied more than any other writing in the English language and have been translated into numerous languages. He was rare as a play-write for excelling in tragedies, comedies and histories. He deftly combined popular entertainment with an extraordinary poetic capacity for expression which is almost mantric in quality.

 “This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!”

– Lord Polonius, Hamlet Act I, Scene 3

During his lifetime, Shakespeare was not without controversy, but he also received lavish praise for his plays which were very popular and commercially successful.

His plays have retained an enduring appeal throughout history and the world. Some of his most popular plays include:

Twelfth Night
Henry V
Romeo and Juliet
King Lear
“All the world’s a stage,
and all the men and women merely players:
they have their exits and their entrances;
and one man in his time plays many parts…”

—As You Like It, Act II,
Death of Shakespeare
Shakespeare died in 1616; it is not clear how he died, and numerous suggestions have been put forward. John Ward, the local vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford (where Shakespeare is buried), writes in a diary account that:

“Shakespeare, Drayton, and Ben Jonson had a merry meeting and it seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted.”

In 1616, there was an outbreak of typhus (“The new fever”) which may have been the cause. The average life expectancy of someone born in London, England in the Sixteenth Century was about 35 years old, Shakespeare died age 52.

Shakespeare’s Epitaph

Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare
To digg the dust encloased heare
Blessed by y man y spares hes stones
And curst be he y moves my bones

– More interesting facts on Shakespeare


Quotes on Shakespeare
“Shakespeare, no mere child of nature; no automaton of genius; no passive vehicle of inspiration possessed by the spirit, not possessing it; first studied patiently, meditated deeply, understood minutely, till knowledge became habitual and intuitive, wedded itself to his habitual feelings, and at length gave birth to that stupendous power by which he stands alone, with no equal or second in his own class; to that power which seated him on one of the two glorysmitten summits of the poetic mountain, with Milton’s his compeer, not rival.”

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria (1817)

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of William Shakespeare”, Oxford,, 18th May 2006. Last updated 1 March 2018.

Popular quotes of Shakespeare
“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

– Polonius, giving Laertes a pep talk. (Hamlet)

“To be, or not to be: that is the question
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die: to sleep;”

– Hamlet

Adam Smith short Biography and aconomic research.

Adam Smith short Biography
Adam Smith
Adam Smith
Adam Smith Adam Smith (1723-1790) was a Scottish social philosopher and pioneer of classical economics. He is best known for his work ‘The Wealth of Nations‘ which laid down a framework for the basis of free-market economics. Though often considered a champion of capitalism and laissez-faire economics, he was also aware of the limitations of unbridled capitalism and considered his most important work to be “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”. In this work, Smith outlined the importance of sympathy for other people as a key element of human morality. He was good friends with David Hume and together they were a key element in the Scottish Enlightenment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Short Biography of Adam Smith
Adam Smith was born 5 June 1723 in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.

After studying at the Burgh School of Kirkcaldy, he entered the University of Glasgow to study moral philosophy. He excelled and gained a scholarship to study at Balliol College, Oxford University. However, Smith found his time in Oxford disappointing; he was unimpressed by the standard of teaching, finding that most tutors had little interest in teaching. As a consequence, he returned to Scotland where he began giving lectures in Edinburgh before taking up a post at Glasgow University. From 1751, he was a professor of Moral philosophy at Glasgow University. His teaching and lectures became widely known and he attracted students from all over Europe.

Around 1750, he met the philosopher David Hume. They shared a similarity of beliefs about liberty, free speech and philosophy. It became an important personal and intellectual friendship for Smith, and it played an important role in his own moral philosophy.

In 1759, he published The Theory of Moral Sentiments. This developed the idea that in human relations, sympathy for other people is a key element of morality and human behaviour.

This concentration on sympathy may sound contradictory to his later writings on economics, which emphasised how selfish actions can contribute to the greater good. However, Smith was aware that taking into account the welfare of others contributed to our own feeling of well-being. Also, different aspects of life brought out different sides to people. For example, in designing a factory, you would seek to make the most efficient decision (e.g. division of Labour). In deciding how to deal with the poor, human sympathy became an important element of individual choice.

Adam Smith and Economics
After moral philosophy, Smith became more interested in the subject of political economy. His writings concentrated on the value of labour. This was a different approach to the philosophy of Mercantilism which was common at the time. Mercantilism suggested a countries wealth depended on the reserves of gold and silver. Smith argued the productivity of labour was the key factor.

Smith clarified some existing ideas on economics and helped popularise the concept of an ‘invisible hand’ in production. He stated that if people seek to maximise their own self-interests it would lead to an efficient outcome for the whole of society. This suggested there was no conflict between pursuing selfish ends and the whole society benefiting. He also produced a theory suggesting free trade was in everyone’s interest, even when it involved importing cheap goods from abroad.

Despite offering a justification for capitalist society and the workings of the market, Smith was also aware private business could end up exploiting consumers if they were not checked. In particular, he was concerned about the growth of monopoly power. He also supported the imposition of progressive ‘fair’ taxes which took proportionately more from the rich than poor.

Outside of economics, Smith opposed imperialism, slavery and vast inequality.

His biggest legacy was perhaps in the development of modern economics. His work would later be expanded upon by economists who developed his models of supply and demand, such as Walras (general equilibrium) and Paul Samuelson (supply and demand in wages and rent). Smith’s theory of labour was also used in part by Karl Marx during his work Capital. Smith was also an important influence on the free trade movement of the 19th Century and hastened the demise of mercantilism as the prevailing ideology of political economy.

Smith is best remembered for his support of free markets, though his work suggests it is more complicated and it would be unfair to label him as an unbridled supporter of laissez-faire (no government intervention).

Smith remained unmarried and stayed close to his mother, until her passing. He was characterised as rather ungainly in appearance and was rather absent-minded in the real world. He often paid little attention to outer details, caught up in his own world of thought and ideas.

Smith’s father was a strong Christian but, at Oxford, Smith appears to have lost interest in the Christian church, professing beliefs that could be interpreted as Deist (Belief in personal God similar to some of the founding fathers of US).