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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.

CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers

Rochelle Walensky listens during a confirmation hearing on July 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky on Friday reiterated her decision to go against a recommendation by a CDC advisory panel that refused to endorse booster shots for workers whose jobs put them at high risk for contracting COVID-19.

Driving the news: "Our healthcare systems are once again at maximum capacity in parts of the country, our teachers are facing uncertainty as they walk into the classroom," Walensky said at a Friday briefing. "I must do what I can to preserve the health across our nation."

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats release full text of Biden's $3.5T reconciliation package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday unveiled the full text of President Biden's $3.5 trillion social spending package.

Why it matters: Democrats are racing to finish negotiations and get the bill on the floor as soon as possible so Pelosi can fulfill her promises to both House centrists and progressives about the timing and sequencing of passing the party's dual infrastructure packages.

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