Discover more from The Forgotten Files
That "HistoMap" on Mitt Romney's Wall
"After January 6, he became obsessed with it."
If you follow the news you know that Mitt Romney (Republican Senator from Utah) just announced he would not run again for his Senate seat in 2024. With perfect timing, The Atlantic just published an excerpt adapted from McKay Coppins’s book Romney: A Reckoning. It appears in the Atlantic’s November 2023 print edition with the headline “What Mitt Romney Saw in the Senate.”
The article is a fascinating look inside today’s Senate and especially the MAGAfied Republican Party. It also includes this passage about a map on Romney’s wall.
Shortly after moving into his Senate office, Romney had hung a large rectangular map on the wall. First printed in 1931 by Rand McNally, the “histomap” attempted to chart the rise and fall of the world’s most powerful civilizations through 4,000 years of human history. When Romney first acquired the map, he saw it as a curiosity.
After January 6, he became obsessed with it. He showed the map to visitors, brought it up in conversations and speeches. More than once, he found himself staring at it alone in his office at night.
The Egyptian empire had reigned for some 900 years before it was overtaken by the Assyrians. Then the Persians, the Romans, the Mongolians, the Turks—each civilization had its turn, and eventually collapsed in on itself.
Maybe the falls were inevitable. But what struck Romney most about the map was how thoroughly it was dominated by tyrants of some kind—pharaohs, emperors, kaisers, kings. “A man gets some people around him and begins to oppress and dominate others,” he said the first time he showed me the map.
“It’s a testosterone-related phenomenon, perhaps. I don’t know. But in the history of the world, that’s what happens.” America’s experiment in self-rule “is fighting against human nature.”
Here are some more screenshots of the sections of the histomap. You can find a full version in high resolution at David Rumsey Historical Map Collection List No: 1810.001
Looking for another histomap?
Full Title: The Histomap. Four Thousand Years Of World History. Relative Power Of Contemporary States, Nations And Empires.
Published: Histomap, Inc. Chicago, Ill. Printed and distributed in the U.S.A. by Rand McNally & Co., Chicago, Ill.
Publication Author: Sparks, John B.
Pub Date: 1931