1815: Napoleon after Waterloo, which some historians say ended the long 18th century. Portrait: Robert Alexander Hillingford. Photo: Fine Art Photographic/Corbis/Getty

The '60s did not really get going in 1960, nor end in 1969. As we know it culturally, the decade began with the JFK assassination in 1963 and ended only with Nixon's resignation 11 years later. Neither, many historians say, did the 19th century finish in 1899. Instead, it continued until WWI — and even as long as the 1930s.

The big picture: Historians call these "long decades" and "long centuries" — super useful constructs for grasping big, prolonged events outside of mere time, and seeing them as eras, zeitgeists and social phenomena.

  • So it is with the 20th century, which as an era appears to have pushed straight through to 2016, when it came to a visible close with the financial crisis, Brexit and the election of Trump, experts tell Axios.
  • Now we are experiencing the foggy, dust-filled interregnum before a still-undefined 21st century, in which all that seems certain is that powerful forces are deliberately working to pull apart what was built.
  • "Trump is the beginning of a new paradigm," says Charles Kupchan, a professor at Georgetown University.

The backdrop: The 20th century's defining moment was WWII and its aftermath, producing the long, great power peace, broad prosperity, a decline of poverty and greater health, not to mention the transistor and space travel.

Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, tells Axios that this epochal break actually precedes Trump, whom he calls a function of the age rather than its impetus.

  • The new age "was coming no matter who the Americans elected," Bremmer says. "It's more about the rise of China, the divisions in the trans-Atlantic relationship and within liberal democracies themselves, [and] the willingness of the Russians to try to exacerbate those divisions."
  • Bremmer thinks the new order won't begin to be decipherable for another decade.
  • That is "in part because these U.S. and European issues need to play out. And perhaps in larger part because, [Chinese President] Xi Jinping notwithstanding, China isn't really ready yet for the global stage."

Go deeper

38 mins ago - Sports

Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak

A worker cleans a handrail at a Tennessee Titans game. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The NFL announced that Sunday's game between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers has been delayed after several Titans players and staffers tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's the league's first game delay caused by a COVID-19 outbreak during the season, which is not taking place in a "bubble," like the NBA and MLS.

Tim Scott says Trump "misspoke" when he told Proud Boys to "stand by"

Photo: Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

Lego, Sesame Workshop back early-learning startup

Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images

A number of leading children's brands, including Lego and Sesame Workshop, are among the investors pouring $50 million into BEGiN, the New York startup behind the early-learning program HOMER.

Why it matters: Thus far, HOMER has focused on reading apps, but with the new funding and partnerships, the company says it will expand to a full early-learning program combining digital, physical and in-person experiences, tapping some of its investors for both content and distribution.

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