Thursday, December 11, 2008

Salon Response

I (Erica) thought that the “Smile of Reason” documentary was very good. I think that the Enlightenment era was almost a continuation of the Renaissance, a grand finale. This documentary was focused on Voltaire (who I studied) and I thought that the narrator described Voltaire’s character really well. I think that his “Smile of Reason” said something like,” Isn’t this obvious?” Most of his works are common sense (like-hmm I know this...) but they are also quite profound so in that sense they are philosophical and impacting to the reader.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was born in Frankfurt-on-the-Main, Germany on the fine morning of 28th of August 1749. I grew up there in a large house with my younger sister, Cornelia, my mother and father. At the age of sixteen I left my home to study law in Leipzig. During that time I honestly hardly studied law at all. Instead I spent all of my time in poetry classes. Seeing how this didn’t improve my understanding of law I was forced to return to my beautiful home in Frankfurt on Stag-Ditch road. Yes, that’s correct, although I never could find stags or ditches anywhere. After only a short period there my father became made angry about my dedication to literature and I was forced to leave. I left and decided to travel the wonderful country of Germany. In 1774 at the age of 25 I wrote the book that would bring make me famous world wide, The Sorrows of Young Werther. Brilliantly written if I do say so myself. Shortly after I was invited by Carl August the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach himself to come and live with him in Weimar. How could I refuse? This is the place, I have a feeling, I would spend the rest of my life. I also have a good feeling that I will be remembed by all of mankind as one of the key figures of German literature and the movement of Weimar Classicism.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

In Response to the Salon

As a writer and consumer of satire I really enjoyed conversing with Jonathan Swift and found his piece A Modest Proposal to be inspiring and effective. I was surprised at how many deists were present. Being a deist myself I was happy to be in good company however I would have liked to had an arguement with a firm believer in some form of religion. At one point I was in a group with Catherine the Great and I found it interesting that she was such a firm supporter of feminism yet by ruling through monarchy she demonstrated that people were not equal and that she saw herself as being on a higher plane than her subjects. I am strongly against monarchies and dictatorships. I enjoyed the salon and found it very interesting.
- Sincerely
Thomas Paine

On the Salon

As a ruler that hardly ever leaves her great country, Russia, I am pleased to say that I am fascinated with the Salon atmosphere, a most pleasant surpirse contrast to my courts. Many thanks to Madam Isikdag and most factual presence to arbitrate in the discussions. Her blunt facts and reminders really helped to spark some interesting points. I would have to say, I really admire Mary Wollstonecraft. Her ideas on the advancement of women really inspired me, and while I am already an advocate for women in my country, it is nice to know another women goes as far. Mr. Adam Smith had some really enlightening principals on economy, and many thanks to Mr. Rousseau to help us keep the salon entertained. I rather think that society is good to raise children in... coming from the man who never properly raised children himself. Quite interesting points on the natural way of things though. Many thanks to Voltaire and his(and hers) reasonings about life in general, and judging the monarchs, (Frederick and myself.)
Catherine the Great

Salon response

In regards to the Salon and many conversations that I had, I must say that it was quite impressive with some people's views while others disapointed me. I wish to say thanks to all who attended and a big thank you to my friendn Voltaire for making an appearance despite the fact that we have had a sort of falling out with each other. I knew that neither of us would let a tiny inconvenience between the both of us get in the way of our ongoing friendship. He has truly come into his own with his inspirational talks of tolerance for religion, a strong belief of mine that i hold close. I wish to talk to him again, and hopefully rekindle our friendship. For those of you who believe that i look for more than a friend in this man, you are mistaken. Persih the thought!! I have never and will never be more than a friend to this man. On the subject of others that I conversed with, I was interested with Catherine the Great. She proved to know what she was talking about when talking of politics. She seemed to be quite the strong willed woman, as did Mary Wollstonecraft. her feminist ideals, although of no matter to me, were not my cup of tea, but she seemed like a lovely lady. I would like to thank all for attending the Salon and giving me a chance to meet you in person.

Sincerely,
Frederick the Great

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Response to Salon

I have to say that our intellectual gathering was very lively and impressive. And I thank for our hostess Ms. Isikdag. Now, there are some individuals that I especially had some meaningful conversations.
Mr. Swift I was impressed with your sense of humor. I assume though, many people must have been enraged by your writings. I think the free trade can make Ireland(oops) more opulent.
Mr. Kant I enjoyed our conversation. I think we can bring “good” to each other by pursuing our own interest since the invisible hand will guide us.
Mr. Frederick the Great, I saw your effort to make Prussia economically competent. I believe, however, the free trade will eventually benefit your country more than the strict economic system that you have now.
I also express my compassion toward those who have suffered from the censorship.
I sincerely wish that we can have another opportunity to have intellectual conversations.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A clarification on my (Rousseau's) opinion on the benefits of the arts and sciences (and censureship... as it's turned out)

I know that I was vague and unsure on my opinion of the arts and sciences and their role in the development of mankind. I believe that since neither the advancements in the arts nor in the sciences have improved the morality of mankind at all. In fact, I hold that they are responsible for a kind of moral decay among men (and women). This stems from my belief that men in the state of nature are the closest to being in the "natural order" than in any other state. I believe (unlike Hobbes) that immorality and vice are brought on by a corrupt or flawed social system, and that men were better off in a rustic and rudimentary existence than they are now (morally that is). The way I see it, science and art has caused idleness among men, and idleness leads to discontent, vice, and immorality. When man lives a rustic and simple life idleness is discouraged; so in that the simple life is a means to an end. Man has become detached from the natural goodness and morality that he has in a simple state of nature. He has become too concerned with things, like the development of art and science, that do not include moral improvement in their study and advancement. Arts and sciences have taken mans focus off the importance of morals and overly concerned him in the subject of knowledge. However I do not wish, nor do I consider it possible, to eradicate the arts and sciences from the world. Rather, since they are here to stay they offer a distraction to keep immoral people busy and out of trouble. Now, I understand that this view is quite contrary to the popular opinion of todays world. Yet, as I've said in my Discourse I am not out to impress or to please my contemporaries. Instead I am seeking to express my own opinion and criticism of today's society in the hopes that the open minded public will accept my views no matter how different they appear. However, I am assured that my hopes are unrealistic since my books have already burned and censured.

Alas, there's the same government that is so dependent on the absolute agreement of its people that it doesn't realize how enslaved it has become in its reliance. As you can see, man is a slave to his own desire for power and his "unnatural" ability to attain so much of it (like a child who gets whatever he wants from his parents) he has made such power one of his needs and must do immoral and unnecessary (as the same child throws a tantrum when his desires aren't met) things to maintain it. This is why I believe in a government in which the General Will of the people is the sovereign ruler of everyone- not just a small group of "representatives", as if one person could effectively represent the combined wills of hundreds. It is not the agreement between the people of the State and the people the state rules, but rather a social contract in which all people give up their own "natural liberty" of individual will, and opt to obey the general will to benefit themselves and the community as a whole. In this way a man continues to protect himself, but now gains the support and protection of the social contract law that allows him and his people to preserve themselves where without such law they would not be able to. All this is explained in my The Social Contract which explains my opinion on proper government.

Réponse de salon

After attending the salon I had made a number of new friends and caught up with some old ones. I saw my old friend Denis Diderot who talked to me about his belief that everyone is created equal and they choose to live their lives a certain way. I mostly agreed since I am well aware of all the different ways people live their lives. This is why I believe it is best for children to learn for themselves what is right and what is wrong instead of being forced to by their parents; in my book Emile I discuss this. Mary Wollstonecraft someone who I'd never met partook in mine and Diderot's conversation with her thoughts on society's control over women. In her opinion, women only seem inferior because society tells them that they are and they are led to believe it is the truth. I agreed. This is another example of how today's societies take away the natural freedoms of people. If women weren't told who they were and how they should act perhaps they'd discover that really they are just as capable as men. Perhaps we'd be better off weren't people so intent on maintaining power over as many people as they can; enslaving them. People forget that freedom means relying on yourself first and only relying on others for the things that you need, which I describe in my The Social Contract.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Salon Response

In advance of reflecting upon the recent gathering of personages, I must first express my gratitude to our hostess, Lady Isikdag, who so graciously provided sustenance.
I found the discussion to be most lively, and the company to be impressive. Some presences seemed to fill the room with their expanse of thought (and indeed, Voltaire seemed much more that one man in person). I enjoyed most keenly my discussions with Mr.s Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Pain, and their opinions on ethical guidelines with which to conduct one's life were most interesting, even if they were not in alignment with my own. On a further note, I found my discussion of a free global market with Mr. Adam Smith to contain many intriguing prospects. In total, I found the Salon to be an intellectual explosion of ideas, and occasionally humor. That silly Rousseau and his abandoned children!
Many Thanks for an Excellent Discussion,
Immanuel Kant

Salon

As i leave the Salon, I am thinking about the women i just met. Mary Wollstonecraft is an exceptional women whose ideas were dazzling. Of course she was similar to mine however gave a new side. I, being Denis Diderot, believe all people are created equal and God certainly created us but we choose our own destiny. As I conversed with Mary, she enlightened me on many things. I always wondered why women were so insignificant in contributing to society. i honestly felt that they believed their only purpose in life was to please and entertain, and they chose that. This of course is preposterous because God created them equal to men, but i did truly believe this prior to my meeting with Ms. Wollstonecraft. She told me then women definitely had the mental capacity and the want to get educated and be able to contribute to such things as Salons, but most women did not choose to be illiterate, they simply had to be otherwise they wouldn't be accepted into society. they wouldn't fit in. She told me many women who did not attend salons criticized the women who did as entertainers of the men. I found her views quite interesting and hope to see her there again soon.

VOLTAIRE


Bonjour, my name is voltaire. i was born on November 21st 1694 as Francois Marie Arouet to a rather overbearing father. I was born in france, and lived there for a while untill after some rather satirical remarks against some high placed officials in france i spent some time in jail. after i was released i left paris and over the years visited england, geniva and many other places. I beleve in equallity. Man should always be lisend to and his opinions taken into reason, even when you don't agree with him. i am not only a writer of thoughts, i have written many plays as well, Oedipe, Artemire, Mariamne,L'Indiscret, Brutus, Eriphile, Zaire, Les Originaux, and many more. One of my personnall faveoret works is The Philosophical dictionary. In it i reccount one of my thoughts where i was met by a ginie who tok me to a barren waistland and showed me the bones of many a restricted soul. persons from all around the word who where punished for their beliefs. I also spoke with many an enlightend man who had been  punshed for their beleifs as well. This meditation period solidifyed my faith as a theist. i was a key mind in the Enlightenment (no surprise there) and my suprior intellect and thoughts on... well, everything. i directed many a king and queen in their govermental plans. Genius... me in a nutshell.    

Salon

To all fellow Salon attendees,

I, Benjamin Franklin, wish to thank you all for a wonderful afternoon of enlightening conversation and delicious food. But mostly I wished to express my gratitude toward the fabulous company. I spent most of my time discussing with Voltaire, Lady Catherine, Ms. Mary, as well as Rousseu and even Immanuel Kant. From these powerful men and women I learned much about their viewpoints on the American Revolution, Deism/Religious tolerance, and politics. Lady Catherine and I nearly got into a fight over the proper form of government. She claims it to be absolutionist which is an absolute atrocity! If it hadn't been for Ms. Mary I probably would've poured a bucket of that amazing iced tea all over her exquisite gown. Nevertheless I found that I tended to agree with mainly everyone during our deeply informative discussions on religion and the American Revolution. The consensus appeared to me that the belief in religious toleration was abundant throughout most of Europe's enlightened thinkers. I found Kant's take on virtues to be quite astonishing, however. The way he perceived accepted statements as moral laws just bewildered me. As for our humble rebellion, many if not all the Saloners that I encountered were in great favor of it. Some argued that it didn't show the proper respect towards the government which it should have (like Burke, you silly fool) but mostly they were proud of the Americans and their desire to be free and equal and have a ruler who is for the people and by the people. All-in-all, I wish to thank the host for her hospitality, the guests for their open-mindedness, and (although one should eat to live and not live to eat) the food, for being so tasty! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thomas Paine


I am Thomas Paine not to be confused with the popular rapper T-Pain. I was born on January 29th 1737 in Britain but I moved to the New World in 1774. Perfect timing to affect politics in the region. My pamphlet Common Sense was published on January 10th 1776. I used printing presses to produce 100,000 copies which is how many I sold that year. I produced the pamphlet anonymously. It was treason. I had to keep it on the DL (Down Low, as in undercover), I didn't want to get hanged or burnt, that would be bad. Many of my pieces were controversial. I wrote a book titled the Age or Reason. I am a Deist and I believe the church sways weak minded individuals and tries to control them. My book the Age of Reason discusses these ideas of mine and as you can imagine this made many people pretty angry. I also affected the French Revolution but they threw me in jail. I was jailed from 1793 to 1794 in Paris. I was actually a member of the French National Convention even though I did not speak French. I returned to America in 1802 when Thomas Jefferson invited me back.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Benjamin Franklin


We the People of Mrs. Isikdags's Salon, in order to form a more eloquent setting, add wisdom to the discussion, and provide a fun yet provacative atmosphere, do ordain and establish that none other than the infamous, light-hearted and multi-talented Benjamin Franklin shall be attending the Salon on the 3rd day of December in the year of our Lord two-thousand and eight.


My name is Benjamin Franklin. I was born in the beautiful city of Boston on the seventeeth day of January in the year 1706. I ran away to Pennsylvania all alone when I was 17 because I could no longer take the beatings I was taking at the hand of my brother in Boston. I am happy to say that the move paid off, and that it was in Philadelphia where the majority of my accomplishments took place. Over my long life I had many great achievements. Some I am most proud of include my publishing of the Richard's Almanack in 1733, my founding of the first public library, and of course my signing of both the Declaration of Independence and the new U.S. Constititution. Besides my civil and political commitments I also enjoyed dwelling in the great excitement that is science, and as a result of this wonderful ferver I invented the Franklin Stove (which is still in use today), swimming fins and bifocals just to name a few.
Contrary to what you may believe I did not write either the Declaration nor the Constitution. Even though Tommy likes to tease me and say that the only reason why I wasn't given the job to procure the wonderful documents (since it was basically my ideas that it included) was because I would have thrown in too many jokes and anecdotes amongst the rebellious and independence babble. I have to admit, though, that he's probably right. I am known throughout the colonies as a fun and, since the death of my dear wife, flirtatious man. If you ever read that Richard's Almanack it includes my best collection of thought-provoking as well as dastardly humorous one liners like "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." (There's some other stuff in there as well of course). In France, because of this great sense of humour and quick wit, I was most popular among the ladies.. and I mean who can blame 'em? Funny, it was actually due to this great popularity that enabled me to convince France to sign the Treaty of Alliance with the Americans in 1778. Anywho, I believe in a loving God, although, not necessarily in a particular religion, they all work. However, I do stand firm in the belief that a democracy is the best type of government out there, it gives people a voice, treats men as equal, and checks and balances the wise and passionate ruler known as the President.

My life was full of ups and downs, great accomplishments and great electric shocks (stupid kite), but all in all it is a life I am immensely proud of. It is a life that earned 20,000 spectators at my funeral when I passed at the age of 84 in the year 1790. It is a life that saw immense improvemtns in everyday living. And it is a life that saw and helped create the birth of a new nation.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Frederick the Great of Prussia


Hello,

The name I go by is Frederick the Great, Prussia. As you can tell from my picture I am extremely good looking. Anyway I was born in 1712 in Berlin of the Hohenzollern dynasty. As a child I was given tutors by my father in which to only teach me certain subjects, ruling anything to do with art and music. However, my mother managed to sneak in certain teachings about music and art. When my father found out he locked me up in a dungeon for months and fired all of my tutors. He then proceeded to making me watch one of my friends be beheaded in front of me. (He was quite the kidder) In 1740 when my father passed away I took the thrown as King of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg. I knew immediately what had to be done and fast. I quickly began developing the military extensively, seeing that for my nation to become a force to be reckoned with it would have to be respected, and the army could accomplish that for me. With this developing military I helped to further develop the Prussian economy, bringing in the wealt that we so desired and needed. I have been known as being a tolerant ruler of religions so long as the people conducting them are truly good people. I have also been quoted as saying that "may there be Turks or Pagans, we shall build mosques and churches". My love of music has never left my sight. I am more than proficient at the flute and have composed over 100 sonatas that are still being played in this day and time. I have written one famous work by the name of "On the Forms of Government" which states my view on what a good government requires to be fully functional. If anyone still wonders why I have been given the title, Frederick "the Great" just look at everything that I have done for my country. I increased our sea power, made Prussia a world power in record time, developed a system of government for which will spread through Europe like wildfire, and have never let the unimportant differences in life distract me from the truly main things tht I need to focus on. I am the ultimate ruler and as you can see I have the evidence to prove it.

Immanuel Kant

Greetings,


I am Immanuel Kant, esteemed philosopher hailing from the Prussian City of Konigsberg. In my lifetime, I wrote such works on reasoning, religion, and ethics as Lectures on Ethics, Critique of Practical Reason, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone, and Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals. With the thoughts contained within these writings, I have been a key influence on most philosophical movements since my time. The latter writing, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, is a statement that can be summed up in my ethical theory. My ethics of human behavior are based off of the principle of the categorical imperative, a rule that human action must satisfy in order to be ethical and thus “good”. Human actions should be first and foremost designed to promote the good and happiness of others and themselves, but the imperative can be considered an ethical law that must be followed. The end is not so important as the means, for how can anyone be good if not through good intentions? My ethical theories have been used, in conjunction with Utilitarianism and the theories other select thinkers (Ross), as guidelines for ethical decisions in medical situations.
I have spent all my life in my home city, as I have never been an overly “healthy’ individual. But the thinking and reflection I have performed I would deem most adequate to a healthy mind. In example, I would consider myself a deist in the sense that I have concluded that a God must exist. For, even if you can scientifically trace effect and cause back to the origin of the universe, where did this original cause stem from? The only conclusion can be the presence of some higher power, a good and benevolent God. I do not care what God is like, only that there is a higher power that drives and judges human actions. If there is no God, the intentions of society would be without guidance, without a moral compass, and ultimate cause would have no origin. I must, therefore, believe in the existence of a deity.
On that note, I must say that I look forward to making the acquaintance of you, my esteemed colleagues, and engaging in enlightening conversation on other pivotal topics.


Immanuel Kant

Edmund Burke



I am Edmund Burke. I was born on January 12th of 1929 in Dublin, Ireland. I'm pretty sure I'm going to die on July 9th of 1797, but what do I know? My father, Richard, was a lawyer. My mother raised me and my fourteen siblings, although not very well seeing as only four of us lived past the age of fifteen. When I was twelve my older brother and I were sent to Ballitore Academy. I studied there for four years under Abraham Shackelton. Master Shackelton was a quaker, and did much to teach me religious tolerance. In 1744, at the age of 16, I began attending Trinity College in Dublin. I studied the classics, logic, rhetoric, composition, moral philosphy, history, and physics in my four years at Trinity. I learned much in the ways of Oratory. After graduating from Trinity I enrolled at Middle Temple in London. My father pushed me to this, as he wanted me to become a lawyer like himself. Law did not interest me much, however, and I did little to apply myself to my studies. My father was not pleased by this, and withdrew my living allowances in 1756. It was then that I published my two most renound works, " A Vindiction of Natuarl Society" and "An Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sbulime and Beautiful". In 1757 I married the daughter of my physician, Jane Nugent. My first son, Richard, was born in 1758; another child was born soon after but died in infancy. At this time my main source of income came from the editorial work I did for the "Annual Register". I worked anonymously for the journal until 1791. In 1765, after coming to the attention of various local political figures, I was given a secretarial position in the office of the Prime Minister, Lord Rockingham. In that same year I was elected into the House of Commons. Many tried to keep me out of Parliment because of my humble status, and background; a lot of guys hated on my Irish accent. Others called me "the brain of the whigs" and considered me to be quite skilled in rhetoric and oratory. While in Parliment I tried to convince the government not to tax the American Colonies because I felt that a succesion from England by the colonies would be a detrimental. I also sought freedom and liberties for Irish Roman Catholics. Though I am a Protestant, I felt no people should be oppressed as the catholics of Ireland were. I also warned of the dangers of the French Revolution. I feared that anti government sentiments might cross to England and endanger the strength of the state. I stood for trust in government, and equality in all men. I was called "the father of modern conservatist thought" and was an unmatched orator on any podium or in any office.

Jonathan Swift


My name is Jonathan Swift, I was born November 30th (happy birthday to me) 1667 in Dublin Ireland. I am one Ireland's greatest novelist, satirist, and pamphleteer. I was enrolled at Trinity college in 1689. I worked under Sir William Temple in England loyally until his death in 1699. In 1704 my first two satires were published. The first being A Tale of A Tub, and the other one was titled The Battle of the Books. I was a firm believer in the Church of England. From 1699 to 1710 I worked at multiple different Church Posts. Until 1709 I endorsed the Whig Party but once the party fell I switched over in supporting the Tories. In 1720I moved back to Ireland where I lived the rest of my life. In 1720 I became active in Ireland's Political Affairs and wrote Pamphlets regarding the Issues. A famous Pamphlet of mine is called Drapiers Letters. This pamphlet made me a hero among the people of my land. My most famous work is Gulliver's Travels which I wrote in 1726. It was about a man who traveled to obscure places throughout the world. From 1736- until I imagine I die in 1745, I picked up Poetry. I diversified my writings and became a poet and wrote the Versus of Death. Many find that I am clinically insane, however, I think there is another reason why I have Deafness and Nauesa and Pain daily.


(Later on it was established that I in fact had Meniere's Syndrome,. A disease found in the Inner Ear)

Voltaire



My name is Francois-Marie Arouet. I was born on November 21st, 1694 in Paris. I went to a Jesuit school, where I received my education. When I was 16, I befriended some aristocrats in Paris and used my wittiness to entertain Parisian society. Unfortunately, my satirical attitude offended the French government and I was imprisoned for eleven months. While in prison, I wrote my first major play, Oedipus, and also adopted my pen name, Voltaire. A pen name would protect me from the government. After insulting Chevalier De Rohan, a nobleman, I was forced to choose between imprisonment and exile. I chose exile and moved to England for three years between 1726 and 1729. I was driven to read John Locke’s philosophy and also was very interested in Newton’s math and science. I later wrote a book praising English customs, but mostly John Locke. I am not an atheist, though many historians will argue that I am. I strongly believe that God exists, though in reason, not religion. In A Treatise on Toleration, I say that we should regard all men as our brothers; Virtue is Better than Science. I also think that individual freedom is important. I died in France in 1778. Someone stole my remains 36 years later and left them in a garbage heap.

Voltaire


My name is Francois-Marie Arouet, but most know me as Voltaire. I way born in 1694 in Paris and will most likely die around 1778. I am a French Enlightenment author, critic, essayist, historian, and philosopher. When I was a young man, I ended up attending a Jesuit College where I acquired many ideas and feelings of rebellion. These feelings led me to write satirical works, even in a time of strict censorship. The Catholic Church put me in jail for my extreme political, religious, and philosophical works. It was in jail that I adopted my pen name, Voltaire (an anagram of AROVET LI, the Latin spelling of my surname). From jail I wrote two of my most famous works, Henriade (celebrating the life of Henry IV), and a successful tragedy called Oedipe. I was basically exiled from France and will live in England, Germany, and Italy for most of my life. I will not allowed to enter France until I am basically on my deathbed, when I am welcomed into Paris as a hero. I am able to continue my work by living in bordering locations of France. Some of the plays, comedies and tragedies I’ve written include Brutus, Zaire, Erphile, Mahomet, Meope, and Semiramis. I also wrote Elements de la philosophie de Newton, The Age of Louis XIV, Micromegas, Candide, Treatise on Tolerance, L’Ingenu, and La Princesse de Babylone. The literature I wrote in the form of a series of letters, known as the letters philosophiques, are by far my most influential yet. They covered many issues like religion, trade, politics, government, art and philosophy. These letters were very strong representations of the society I live in and the Enlightenment. My main concern and contribution to mankind related to religious toleration and to find justice for those victims of persecution. Organized religion, in my opinion is not vital for mankind. That being said, I think religious toleration is the only way to go. Churches like the Catholic church had low toleration. I am a skeptic of the Bible, and I believe it will even disappear from the face of the Earth in 100 years or so. I believe God was invented by people to create the “higher power” they need in order to function. I argue that the best form of government would be a constitutional monarchy. An enlightened person should rule the people, allowing the equality, fair taxes, and personal freedoms. Under these guidelines, all people would have equal opportunities. I denounce supernaturalism, religion and the power of the clergy, according to my studies, for the ability of human progress. When in Italy, I studied sciences and wrote many essays on Newton. I admire him for his ability to bind all scientific findings and rules to one universal law.

Denis Diderot

My name is Denis Diderot. I was born on October 15th, 1713 in Langres, France. I grew up in an avid bourgeoisie household, and my father being a very strict religious man through me into the Jesuit Boarding school. Thanks to my smarts I excelled as a student and was thought of as brilliant. I aced everything. I became a writer after trying to become a preacher which I loathed, and failing to become a lawyer. My father rarely talked to me at that point. The one thing most people know me for is the Encyclopédie. I was selected as the general editor for the project and spent the next 26 years devoting my genius, and writing talents into publishing the 10 volume encyclopedia. My goal in creating the Encyclopédie was to assemble the knowledge scattered across the earth so everyone can have access and discover what man was made to be. Other works I am known for is my book Philosophical Thoughts, and Letters on the Blind. I play a huge role in the progress of mankind because my Encyclopedia spreads, teaches, and connects cultures and all of mankind in ways nothing else has before. It is based on science and fact, not religion. I was exposed to new technology and crafts when I was editing it and now the people who possess my 10 volumes can have that same experience. I most relate my self to René Descartes. He and I are both true philosophers. I agreed with Descartes in that the world was created by God but is based on fact and science, and everything on earth is sustained by a force that is distinct from all physical forces but life is self-determined. Censorship has caught up to me in my life. In my book Philosophical Thoughts, I wrote with a controversial voice. I was beginning to move away from my father’s wishes and was becoming an atheist… one of the first. The church saw it as a threat and used their power to put me in prison for 3 months. After that I didn’t publish any more of my writings (my daughter did after I died). It is definitely important to see and experience other parts of the world and other cultures. This is how I wrote my Encyclopédie, traveling and experiencing what other people have perfected and using more productive ways as substitute for yours. You learn much more from other cultures than you do from your own. I do not believe there is a god. A person who should rule over others should be smart, skilled in many fields and should use his power for the greater good. I have done what can be to promote human knowledge. Spreading and sharing knowledge is the best tool to maximizing progress to man. I like French music and I am a fan of Rousseau.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

My name is also, remarkably, Jean Jacques Rousseau. My early life was a troubled one. My mother died shortly after i was born due to birth complications. Throughout my childhood I received an informal education from my father. I learned to read and write, and a little bit of history, and I learned a lot about the Calvinist faith. When I was 13 my father got into a spot of trouble, and I was sent to live with an uncle. For several years I was apprenticed as a notary and then an engraver, but I left Geneva after three years. In Italy I received work and board from a French Baroness, who also happened to be a Catholic. Under her influence I converted to Catholicism, thus losing my citizenship of Geneva. In 1742, thinking I could establish myself with my new musical notation system, I left for Paris. There I befriended Denis Diderot, and when he was arrested and imprisoned for his writing, I realized how society corrupts humanity. This is when my real lifes work began. I believed in the natural goodness of humanity.
I developed strong ideas on education and on society. In Emile, translated to "On Education", I laid out how education would be most successful. The aim of education is to learn how to live righteously. The Social Contract outlines my ideas on society. Every person should have certain individual liberties. Both of these works were very controversial, and burned by governments. Catholic educators in France burned Emile, while in Geneva the Calvinist government did the same to The Social Contract. I fled persecution after my house was stoned, and took refuge with friend and fellow philosopher David Hume. For the rest of my life I was extremely paranoid of conspiracies against me. I lived the last years of my life under the patronage of two Frenchmen. In 1778, I died.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Adam Smith


I was born in 1723 in Scotland as the son of Adam Smith and Margaret Douglas. My father had died before I was born, so I was raised by my mother. I attended Glasglow and Oxford universities and became a professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow in 1752. After lecturing for a couple of years, I published The Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759. In the book, I argued that the human communication depends on sympathy between “agent and spectator.” But what I truly focused on was economy.

I believe that the impulse of self-interest work toward the public welfare in economy. I even wrote a book about it: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. A person “neither intends to promote the publick interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it… he intends only his own gain.” If each person chases his own interest, the general welfare of the society fosters as a whole. Free trade system is essential in this context for the maximum development of wealth; trades enable exchange of variety of goods. It is the “invisible hand” that regulate the market system and satisfied the economic needs.

The theory I developed is SO good that it will be still studied three hundred years later. How do I know? No comment.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

My mother gave birth to me on the 28th of June, 1712 in Geneva Switzerland. My mother died 9 days after I was born, and my father raised me on his own. I liked music when I was younger and I wrote an opera or two in my younger years. I never was very good at anything but I was strong enough to make it through on my own. I struggled off and on with women of pleasure and fortune much to my surprise and dismay. I discovered my talent and infinite passion for writing when I entered an essay writing contest for Dijon Academy. This essay (which won the contest) set me off on my writing career. I wrote a novel which became the pleasure of rich and poor alike called La Nouvelle Héloïse a masterpiece, of which I am quite proud, comparable to (but most probably better than) Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. With my new found talent I laid unto the world my thoughts on life. With L'Émile ou de l'éducation and Du contrat social I set forth my greatest maxims, that society is responsible for the banes of man and that life in the state of nature with mans natural liberties is better than the enslaving society of today. The first (this is me!) being a treatise on childhood education (although I never kept mine) and the second a piece on the necessary "social contract" of government that transforms primal man into a moral and reasonable human being (if gone about properly). Unfortunately the public was not ready for such genius and many barbaric authorities condemned and burned them. I had many friends who helped me along (many of whom I distrusted and/or deserted) like Diderot, David Hume, the Prince de Conti, and Étienne Condillac. In my old age I wrote an autobiography of sorts called Confessions. My life's work may have been called contradictory by later readers but I like the description different much better.

Why did the refutation of the Ptolemaic system by Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo and others raise uncomfortable questions about theology?

The Ptolemaic system was the belief that all the celestial bodies (the sun, moon, planets, stars, etc.) revolved around the earth in what were called spheres and that each was represented by an orb (a planet). The farthest out sphere was that of heaven, and as such, somewhat marked heaven as a place on the galactic map. With the discoveries of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo observational evidence was given to support the theory that the earth and all other "heavenly orbs" were in fact revolving around the sun (helio-centricity). This claim, were it to replace the one of Ptolemy, would go to disprove the idea of heaven as a place. It would almost be as if the church were "losing it's rights" to heaven. Furthermore the idea that earth were the center of the universe stands to reason with the bibles human-centered account of time. Finally, since these discoveries were scientific it would go to disprove the highly scholastic claims of theologians. All in all, the church was not happy with these ideas (mainly out of fear for its own safety) and thus labeled them as herecy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mary Wollstonecraft


I was born on April 27, 1759 in Hoxton, England. I spent most of my life living in London, but also traveled to France, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. My most famous work is A Vindication of the Rights of Women, but I am also known for Thoughts on the Education of Daughters, and A Vindication on the Rights of Men. This was a direct rebuttal to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France. The subject I wrote most on was education reform, particularly for women, but for men as well. I believed that women were considered inferior to men because they were taught to please instead of having a real education. I advocated Bacon's inductive method and thought that women should learn using this method as well. The best was to make observations was to travel and learn form experience. The first editions of many of my works were published anonymously and my name was only added to the title page in subsequent editions. In A Vindication of the Rights of Women, I cited the ideas of Rousseau and agreed with some, but disliked how he did not extend his ideas to women. I was married only once, but had a daughter from a previous affair named Fanny. While married, my husband William Godwin and I lived in separate, but adjoining residences so that we could retain our independence. Our only daughter, Mary, would one day grow up to write Frankenstein. I am often considered to be the first feminist.

Catherine the Great

Catherine was born May 2, 1729 as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst of Prussia. She married Peter of Russia August 21, 1745, (not Peter the Great) to stengthen ties between Prussia and Russia against Austria. When Peter's Aunt, tsarina Elizabeth I died, Peter assumes crown, and after a very short reign Catherine overthrows her husband with her lover Grigory Orlov, and his brothers, all prominent ranks in the Russian Army. Catherine ascends the throne in July of 1762 and dies in 1796. In her reign she successfully manages to worsen the conditions of serfdom while strengthening the government. She sets up a constitution for the people and takes away the state service act. Russai, Austria, and Prussia all gain new lands through the partition of Poland, and Catherine pushes for every piece of land she can get. She sells off crown lands and beats back the Ottoman Turks and aquires a large portion of land in the Black Sea Region. She increases trade through the new ports on the black sea, and manages to modernize Russia through enlightement and modern ideals. She attracted great enlightenment men and philosophers to her courts such as Voltaire, Arouet, and Diderot. She is a known intellectual and publishes a few books on ideal Russia government among other subjects. She believes that in order for a country to be strong, it needs a very large population, and Catherine therefore encoureages immigrants to come to her country and settle. She had at least 12 known lovers, and 3 children. Her eldest, a son ascended to throne upon her death in 1796. Her second, a daughter died at age 2. Her last was also a son.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How would you describe a scientific view of the world in the seventeenth century? What beliefs did many Europeans hold in the seventeenth century

Scientific outlook in the 17th century was pretty complicated. I think most people knew their lives could be easier but nobody had the spare time from their outrageous work lives, and nobody could really interact about these types of things freely. Because a lot of the new theories were invading the beliefs of the church it was seen as sin full. many people knew this however everyone promoted it. science made their lives easier. Technological advancements were the largest promoter for science in the 17th. only because it helped people do what they do, it freed up more time for everyone. But the astronomy part of it was risky. new advancements led to better means of discovering space. the new ideas discovered however went against both ancient knowledge and religion. thus creating a very skeptical outlook on it.

How did the Newto reinforce confidence in human powers?nian system

Newton wanted a world where people weren't using religion as the reasoning for why something natural happens or exists. He wanted people to use the reasoning of which they were given to find a solid concrete reason that actually made sense to everyone and could be proven. I think this is the main thing that reinforced the "common people's" confidence in their own powers, their ability top reason. They had already realized through humanism that they could use their own individual powers to decide on certain things instead of relying on the word of GOD every time they needed an answer; Newton just showed them how they could put these powers of reasoning and knowledge to a good cause. This wasn't Newton's main goal. His goal was truly for science not for the people, although it could be quite possible that he had known what effects this would have on humans' idea of their abilities.

Friday, November 21, 2008

In what ways were Locke’s ideas about private property and human liberty contradictory?

While Locke promoted the idea of human liberty, he also supported the slavery. How was that possible? Human liberty, in Locke's view, only applied to the human beings who were rational, or were able to become rational through education. African Americans, who were believed to be inferior than the others, therefore could be denied fundamental human rights. African American slaves were only properties different from other "able" human beings, and since the right of private property was ought to be fulfilled, the enslavement was justified.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What beliefs did many Europeans hold in the seventeenth century that contradicted a scientific outlook?

There were many beliefs held by Euopeans during the 17th century that contradicted a scientific outlook. One of those was the strongly-held belief that the heavens were perfect. Until the development of Galileo's telescope no one had a reason to believe that the moon was in fact covered in craters formed by passing comets. Plus as more and more disoveries were made regarding the movement of the planets and the magnitude of the universe those that held faith in the beautiful crystalline spheres or the existance of Heaven began to become worried. Suddenly some of Christianity's deepest beliefs were in question. The heavens were the realm of God, the place of saints, so how could it be imperfect? Where was heaven if not in the stars? Many of these discoveries made by Galileo and others therefore shook the Chrisitian community and when more and more evidence came to call it true those that couldn't stand to let their deep faith be called untrue decided instead to call the great astronomers heretics and blasphemers and their work false. This religious faith was the most intense/ prominent contradiction to the scientific outlook during the 17th century.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bacon or Descartes? Deductive method or the inductive method?

I think Bacon and Descartes are equally important. Descartes was important because he decided that he existed and related thought to the universe and how relative thoughts are in a bigger picture. Bacon depicted information and conclusions as obvious and unnecessary: conclusions should only be based on fact and experience. Descartes also was very religious and that was important because it was science and the belief in God that influenced his experiments and reason. And inductive method...this is based again on truth and experience... and I think that that was what Bacon was trying to get across from the beginning.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Practical Ramifications of Science During Newton's Time

During Newton's time science was finally figuring out the rules of the Universe and Earth. Gravity was described, the laws of motion were written, light was being figured out, and the solar system and our place in the Universe was being defined. All of these things led to many devices that helped Europe in its expansion and control over a good part of the globe. With gravity and the laws of motion artillery and guns could be made more accurate through math and physics. Optics helped discover new lands through the use of eye pieces as well as peer into outer space with primitive telescopes.

Ptolemaic system vs. Copernicus, Galileo, and Kelper

The Ptolemaic system was first thought up in the 2nd century a.d. by the Greek scientist Ptolemy. His theory was that earth was the center if the system and that everything else orbited around earth in sphere of incresing perfection. After the last ring was Heaven, the most perfect, and Christians accepted this because it gave a good explanation of Heaven. Then in the 16th and 17th centuries a few scientists question this theory, mainly Copernicus. The Copernican theory said that the sun was the center of the universe and that the earth and the other celestial bodies moved around it. There was no realm for heaven, and basically it was right because it was preved by math to be more accurate than the Ptolemaic system. Kelper and Galileo expanded on the principle math and refined the theory. Now that it was proven that the Ptolemaic system was wrong, and there was no longer a physical place for heaven, the church and christians all over Europe were confused and had no idea what to believe. Several rejected the theory, and the church made Galileo recant his theories and beliefs of the new Copernican system. Christians were frightened of this new belief about the universe, and the French scientist Pascal himself a devout Christian was deeply troubled by this knowlege. If God and heaven could no longer be explained by the exestence of the realm beyond which man could somewhat see, then how did they know he even existed at all? While almost all scientists of the time were Christian and kept their faith in God, they felt they had to explain their world through science and math. Unfortunately theology was forced to change dramatically along with the ground breaking advances in science.

Cartesian dualism

Descartes' philosophy, Cartesian dualism, is based around the creation of two different realities in the universe. These two different realities are thinking substance and extended substance. Thinking substance is everything inside the mind, while extended substance is everything outside the mind. Descartes recognized the importance of mathematics in the world around him. To him, everything in the physical half of the universe (extended substance) could be interpreted through formulas and equations. This philosophy is an example of the biggest difference between Bacon and Descartes, which is Descartes' use of mathematics.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

acon or Descartes? Deductive method or the inductive method?

Both Bacon and Descartes were important in opening a new era of science. With the advent of both scientists, deductive method was replaced by inductive method. Bacon especially supported inductive reasoning and empiricism. He believed that abstract ideas should be drawn from concrete observations and experiments. Bacon failed to understand the importance of math, but Descartes solved this problem. He believed that nature could be reduced to mathematical form and paved the way to more simple, systematic science.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

William v. Peter the great.

I think Peter the great was the better of the two. only because he completely modernized Russia. he did, in one lifetime, what took most of Europe a few century's to figure out. now, granted, he learned allot from the french and the more sophisticated of the empires. but he built Russia into a super power that lasted. Prussia was strong yes, and revolutionized organized warfare. but their strength was short lived. where as Russia carried on.  

Which monarch was more important –Peter the Great or Frederick Wilhelm?

Peter the Great was more important then Fredrick. For one, Prussia did not last as long Russia and was not as powerful as Russia became. Before Peter the Great Russia was not a superpower and was essentially isolated from the rest of Europe. It was having problems with it's leaders and was in need of somebody powerful. Peter, who had lived in Europe throughout his life had a fascination of ship building. During his rule he saved Russian economy by taxing people particulary the lower class. He also replaced the Duma with a Senate that eventually was productive. All in all Peter the Great made Russia competition with all of hte other Powerful European nations.


Rob

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Service mentality in Russia and Prussia

Both the Prussian kings and Peter the Great tried to create a service nobility and a service mentality. Why? How successful were they in achieving their goals?

First off, I think the attempt to create a service nobility is merely part of the main movement towards a service mentality in a country. A service mentality (as the name suggests) makes it easier for the government to rule. Any military, in order to be successful, must be an efficient decision-making machine, where any decision made above is followed immediately and without question by those below. This makes for very effective legislation and a general malleability of society. The Prussian kings and Peter the Great undoubtedly saw a service mentality among the populace as the easiest path to their view of world rule, and thus pursued it. As to how successful they were, both parties were able to make the military (and service) a key part of society. But, it is very difficult, without an enormous amount of influence and control, to create a completely tiered society, be it because people are too widely spread or resistant factions. The best the Prussian kings and Pete were able to do was the make military service the respectable thing to do.

On President Dmitry Medvedev

The president of Russia gave a very lengthy speech to his people on November 5, the day after Obama's election to Office. Here are some key points I found in his speech that pertain to what we just covered in section 26:

-There is a new senate for the president, and it is named the State Duma.
-Georgia apparently attacked Russian peacekeepers.. (The tartars are still giving Russia trouble in this day and age)
-The president aknowleges the countries policies to become a state without people, since it prevailed in centuries before, and hopes to reverse that.
-The president says he is trying to get representation for all his people in the Duma, especially since some officials that represented at least 5 million people were not elected in...
-He apparently is still working on modernizing Russia as has some plans in place to expand the technology and connection to the outside world.
-He would like to expand the terms of Duma reps and his term to that of 5 or 6 years.
-Several laws have apparently been signed to reduce corruption in the government bodies, (he never goes over how this would be enforced, except for by appropriate disciplinary action.)
-He is pro-immigrant, like Peter the Great, but they must conform to Russia's social standards if they are to be allowed citizenship.
-He wants to employ drastic educational standards and reforms, along with finding talented children and using their talents and abilites to further Russia's modernization processes.
-He also believes the world, and the European Nations plus America specifically are testing Russia and are bullying him.
-He would like to get the government more involved in trade and idustry for regulation and government support.

The President overall resembles Peter the Great in his attitudes towards modernizing and reforming Russia and the legal systems, he also wants to 1 up the global competition and become an independent and self relying country. He is strengthening the armies with missles and states that it is merely for defense against the larger nations. Also his reforms of government sound good enough, but I have a feeling it will give his administration strength over the smaller parties which he wants to give power to so that they can weaken and 'counter balance' the larger parties.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Which monarch was more important –Peter the Great or Frederick Wilhelm?

First of all, which Frederick Wilhelm? The Great Elector of Brandenburg or King Frederick Wilhelm I of Prussia? It's not going to change my answer, I was just confused. Anyway. I think that Peter the Great was more important because his actions set Russia on it's course through 1917. Before his reign, Russia was more Asian than European. He brought the culture and government of France and the economic policies of England to Russia. He encouraged mercantilism and conquered important territories for Russia. He made Russia European. I think though, that he influenced the history of Russia more strongly through his government. He got rid of the duma (which was useless anyway) and made himself an absolute ruler. He made it so the tsar had the power to choose a successor that was not his firstborn son. Most importantly, I think, all of his reforms excluded the peasants. The serfs were like the African slaves of the Americas. Through this exclusion of the serfs, they became wary of any type of central authority. The serfs became more oppressed during his reign while the nobility became more powerful. It was this imbalance between classes that led to things like the Russian Revolution of 1917. Without Peter the Great's reforms, major historical events like that would not have happened.
P.S. I'm really sorry if this is confusing. I was kind of just rambling.

Using maps, compare Europe in 1648 and in 1748:why did they lose, why were they weak, and what happened to Poland?

In 1648 the 3 large states of the Holy Roman Empire, Kingdom of Poland, and the Ottoman Empire all lost a lot of territory. The Holy Roman Empire lost its lands in small chunks at the Peace of Westphalia at the end of the 30 years war. The peace also disintegrated the HRE into small nation-states and therfore they were more easily convinced to join other well off nations a little at a time. For the HRE Prussia was the major gainer, slowly Prussia inherited parts of the HRE and connected them through their new stronger monarchy due to the army. The Kingdom of Poland slowly shrank while the King struggled to keep his lords under control, as well as his diverse people. Peter the Great of Russia ended up getting Poland and the Lithuania area with new and strong Kingdom of Russia. The Ottoman Empire was slowly beaten back and out of Europe as the Emperor of the Ottomans struggled to keep his people united also. Christians and Muslims had their own laws, and cuture was kept, making them even more diverse. All the warring took their tolls, and the Ottmans did not fight with the vigor they once had, and the Austrian Habsburgs with their newly strengthened monarchy were able to beat them back into SE Europe.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Potosi now

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3740134.stm

"Which monarch was more important –Peter the Great or Frederick Wilhelm?"

Peter the Great changed the country of Russia drastically, for better or for worse. His determination to westernize Russia entered into many aspects of life for the Russian people. He even banned some Russian customs, such as simply having a beard, and repeatedly attempted to make Russia more European. The creation of St. Petersburg is a very significant event in that it moved Russia's lean from Asia to Europe. Peter created a new Russian army, and took control of the Russian Orthodox Church. Although both very important monarchs, Peter the Great made a much larger impact on his country and Europe as a whole.

Which monarch was more important –Peter the Great or Frederick Wilhelm?

I personally think that Fredrick Wilhelm was more important in respect to his country. Austria before him was almost struggling. The Turks were literally knocking on the door and they had to rely on their allies to fend them off. Fredrick's talents in military were his biggest strength. Since Austria at the time had next to nothing overseas and relied mainly on what goods they produced from withing their country, they had no foreign power. At this point in Europe an Army both in number and skill was absolutely vital if you wanted any power as a country. Fredrick created a skilled army that was also enormous... ranging near 7 million. Although he never got to use such a force, his predecessor Frederick II used it to claim Silesia which was a great population builder and provided more resources in which to gain profit. I truly think that Frederick Wilhelm was an excellent leader and ended up being more important to his country than Peter the Great.

To what degree and in what ways was Peter the Great successful in westernizing Russia?

Peter the Great did westernize Russia by building factories and mills to supply his army and initially improve the defense of his country but he overlooked something. Yes, he did accomplish a great deal towards the creation and strengthening of the national state of landlords and merchants. But he completely ignored the condition of peasants who at that time had become immersed in serfdom. Westernizing Russia had caused serfdom to multiply across the country. Peasants may not have been a huge concern of Peter's but they were still apart of his country and therefore depended on him.

Both the Prussian kings and Peter the Great tried to create a service nobility and a service mentality. Why? How successful were they in achieving it?

It's tough to say that this idea of a service nobility and mentality was a complete failure or complete success because it just wasn't. I think that it established both countries as a threat to other countrie, which is what these three rulers were aiming for; to put their countries on the map. They wanted it to be known that they weren't going to be pushed around by anybody else, and knew that putting emphasis on their armies and sea power was the way to do that. I think that, although not completely, this idea of "militarism" was therefore pretty successful in achieving what they wanted. I think that mainly this can be proved through the beginning and growth of Prussia. In the book it seems like at first, Prussia wasn't weak but was unorganized and in need of reform. Frederick William was basically waiting for this chance and, as I said before, made sure to focus on the army. He didn't just increase their training, but also got the townspeople involved with it as well, something that hadn't really been done before. He convinced the nobles and landed gentry to serve in the army by allowing them to hold peasants under Hereditary Subjection. With this new amount of people, the army became part of life in this country. through William's reign (1713-1740) as king the army grew from about 40,000 to 83,000 people, a huge and abvious change. Do I think that maybe this much emphasis on the army could have gone past its mark; yes I do think this, but for what this theory was created for it got the job done.

Friday, November 7, 2008

To what degree and in what ways was Peter the Great successful in westernizing Russia?

Peter was successful because he had a lot of examples which he used in westernizing Russia. Russia was behind compared to the rest of Europe and while traveling through Europe, he had been influenced by the artists, kings, scientists and took the ideas of modern Europe and wove them into the westernization of Russia. He held high standards for people of power. Education was emphasized, and the military was educated in both math and science. This helped the naval officers better navigate which ultimately made the country’s military stronger.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

To what extent did this era create the world’s first global economy?

The late 1700s and early 1800s was the basis to the beginnings of a global economy because everyone was involved and everyone owned someone or something else. with the exception of perhaps Austria, all of the superpowers in Europe began to draw away from business inside their country and push towards business that had inporting and exporting. this took place immedeatly after Europe had a craze of conquering foreign lands. Once they got the land, first they enslaved their people and farmed their lands for whatever was profitable, then brought it back and traded amungst the continent. then this process evolved into a universal trade market (East India) and eventually, once territories became more absolute (mainly after Westphalia) slaves were brought to other lands to do work for the lazy Europeans. So as you can see through the confusing words covorting in front of you... sick word... that this was a time that certainly was global. ranging from the far reaches of china and asia to the east coast of North Ameriaca and most of South America not only land and people were conquered but business was set up to accomidate the world.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How Peter the Great Westernized Russia


Peter the great gained power in 1689. He was annoyed with his country and wanted to make it a larger contender in the world. Peter wanted to make Russia more like Western Europe and so he toured Europe in search of ideas to incorporate into his country. He met engineers, kings, scientists, and ship builders and returned to his country with new ideas. He was so dedicated to modernizing his country that he hung 1200 elite army corps who did not want to westernize Russia. Peter also moved the capital of Russia to a new city named after himself called St. Petersburg. Peter increased his country's wealth and the strength of his armed forces.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What made Robert Walpole such an effective politician/prime minister?


So I was responding to Brittany's post, when I realized that my comment was long enough to become a post of it's own. But alas! When I looked there was no corresponding prompt to be found! Then I thought, "Gee , wouldn't this just be a great opportunity to create my own prompt!" So that's what I did.

Robert Walpole was one cool fellow. He had a knack for predicting the future; he seemed to have a developed understanding of how things done today will play out in the long run. Walpole saw the importance of the South Sea and East India Companies and the Bank of England--which gave Britain it's remarkable spending power through the National Debt system--even with all the problems they'd caused with the "bubble burst" of the 1720's. France on the other hand, failed to recognize this and in an act of frustration dissolved the valuable national bank that John Law had installed. Furthermore, Walpole had warned of the South Sea Companies eminent failure from the beginning. Walpole also skilled at not disturbing political hornets' nests and gaining allies. He kept land taxes down, thus convincing the Tory squires to join with the Whigs and causing the Jacobites to subside. During the calm, the Parliament had time to develop. Walpole always made sure to keep a majority in the issues he dealt with and to get rid of opposition; he piecemeal gave himself a greater say in matters. He was able to effectively introduce his innovative cabinet government which laid the grounds for the modern day executive branch. The cabinet in addition to the preexisting representative body strengthened Parliament greatly. He also kept taxes down by avoiding war as often as possible. All in all, Walpole did Britain a lot of good.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What factors most likely account for the West gaining global ascendancy?

I think the most important factor in Europe's dominant global influence is the deep-seated desire for progress found so strongly in Europe. Other nations had no lack of technological, cultural, and moral progress, but Europeans always seem to be the first on the list when it comes to perfecting guns, making better slaver ships, and trying to find more ways to make themselves money. Maybe it’s not a need for progress, maybe its some kind of genetic desire for laziness, an innate disposition towards anything that makes their life easier. The Incas and the Maya, from what I have seen, had thriving civilizations that did not move towards new ways to avoid doing something themselves, whether by paying someone else to do it or finding a way to make it happen at the push of a button. Whatever this underlying feeling was, it was what drove Western merchants and patriots to other continents. Once there they attempted to westernize the area to make them compatible with the flow of money and ideas. And thus, through force and corruption, the Western way became the worldly way.

Which had a greater impact in setting the political stages for the rest of the century –the War of Austrian Succession or the Seven Years’ War?

The Seven Years' War was much more decisive, politically speaking, than the War of the Austrian Succession. First of all, the two were really more like one war with a little break in between, in which the alliances were changed (Diplomatic Revolution). That being said, the Seven Years' War was in some ways a continuation of the War of the Austrian Succession; the Habsburgs vs. Prussia and the French vs. Britain. However, unlike the first war, the Seven Years' was, considering where the battles were fought, more of a global war. In America (the U.S.), the French gave up their claims to the British and the Spanish opening up new opportunities for expansion economically and culturally . In India both the French and particularly the British became increasingly involved with politics. Also, Prussia displayed its formidable military strength proving itself as a nation and as more than a match for the Habsburgs. Russia reared its head in the war. All in all, the over all strength and influence of the British empire became more important and a new player was added to the game with the affirmation of Prussia (opposing the Habsburgs and creating the "dualism of Germany").

Was the eighteenth century, overall, a reasonably good time to live?

Generally speaking, life in eighteenth century Europe improved for those who were already living well, and got worse for those who already had it bad. Obviously, the wealthy noble class, the land owners, and aristocrats lived very well. The bourgeois' life tended to improve as well, although it was previously a solid lifestyle, for the line between bourgeois and nobility was no longer as clear. The stories of Thomas Pitt and Jean-Joseph Laborde exemplify this. As for the peasants and laboring class, quality of life lessened. In eastern Europe, a return of serfdom took away many peasants' liberties. Occasionally however, one who was poor would get lucky, and rise up through the social ranks. Opportunity existed moreso than previously.

How did the diplomatic revolution of the 1750s prove decisive in European history?

The diplomatic revolution “broke” old alignments that had been ongoing throughout European history. The alliances formed as a result of the Seven Years’ War were unexpected, as France and Austria had been enemies for a long time. Prussia and Britain, who were also unexpected allies, allied. This would be cause for later conflicts.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What caused the great financial scandals of the 1720s?

We all know of the Bubbles in England and France, and how it started out 1714-15. This great Bubble scandal started out as a few companies established by Scottish man named John Law. He personally financed the South Sea Company for England, and the Mississippi Company for France. While they created the monopoly over all other companies, he also established the national Bank of France and assumed all government debt through it. Many people invested in these seemingly profitable companies, and they were doing good for a few years. The companies were buying selling and trading the stock with good margins that kept increasing. Then John Law's credit and financing failed with such collassal stock prices, and while he fled, people lost entire life savings in failed companies. After this incident, the French company and all French assests in the company such as the Orleans company which was absorbed by it, and the French Bank were ruined and the country never recovered their credit. The French people refused to help the government and for another century the French people remained wary of government credit. In England however, the scandal played out and was fixed, Under teh direction of Robert Walpole the English people accepted the responsibility of bailing the gvernment out and several large independent corporations gave loans and bought bonds from the government and recovered and saved the bank of England and the credit of the government.

Over all, Was the 18th century a good time period to live in.

I think the 18th century was had its ups and downs, and it all depended on your social status. If you where rich and in the higher living class, you where all set. And naturally if one was poor his life wasn't the best. But, there was now a middle class where one could prosper comfortably and be able to supply for his family. The 18th century was a high point for a few country's also. if you where to live in Thea's countries during their "golden age" then of course the economy would be good, and there would be jobs for persons looking for work. i think that if one where to live i the 18th century then they would have more of a chance for success in anything that they did weather it would be a merchant or noble. there were more possibilities.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Does the European concept of “the balance of power” still have meaning? Does there need to be a counterbalance to the U.S. power in the world today?

In modern Europe, I do not think that there is stilla balance of power. Since the European Union has united all European economies and countries under one loose affiliation there is no real struggle for power. There may be disagreements over territorial matters, or issues with foreign policies, all countries are working towards the same goals. Since the league of nations, NATO, and the United Nations each country around the globe has a voice in a clooective forum, no large country can totally take all power. While it is true that a large country like America can have a significant influence over the descisions made by NATO and the UN, both organizations work for the good of all countries involved. Back post WW2 America may have needed a balance of power since we held the UN's main opinions and we became imperialistic in the sense that we wanted to capture all communist countries and convert them. We became too headstrong and involved in too many countries, and no one really stopped or questioned us. If they did, we called them communist and withdrew diplomatic ties. We bacme too powerful as a country and back then we needed some one to check us becasue nowadays our internatioal relations have taken a dive for the worse. In the current times no one respects us a country anymore, and we have lost our power in the same ways that we gained it, by warring with other countries that opposed our views. We are slowly losing our world power status unless drastic repair to our international affairs is done.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Under what conditions, is it legitimate to use violence to achieve political goals? In a revolution, is the execution of the king necessary or wise?

It is always better to use diplomacy to solve issues but often times violence is necessary. When someone feels so strongly about their ideas or thoughts that they are willing to die for them that is when violence is necessary, that is if you are threatened by them. Just because someone disagrees with you does not mean you should kill them but if it needed due to self preservation then violence becomes a tool. Think of all the people who claim they would accept death rather than change their lives. New Hampshire's state motto is Live Free or Die. Insurgents and terrorists also accept death. When your country's safety is threatened by someone who would die before listening to your diplomats or considering a compromise then the only solution is to remove your opponent from existence.
Killing a king or leader is a symbol. That leader was a symbol of old times, of what the rebels want to change, and as long as that symbol lives there will be those who want to follow that leader for their own gains. The death of a leader symbolizes the end of current policies and problems.

Does the European concept of “the balance of power” still have meaning?

The concept of "balance of power" from 16th and 17th century Europe does not apply today as it did then. In 16th and 17th century Europe, nation-states made and broke alliances that gave more weight to their value as a population/entity among other states. A small state could be "needed" in order to upset the balance of military threat for one side or another, because the resources that state offered might turn a war. Today, on the other hand, it only takes a few nukes to decimate a country. No one wants their country or people destroyed by war, but in 16th and 17th century Europe the destruction happened more slowly. It was possible to throw in the flag before you lost it all. Whichever side (alliance) could rip the most up fastest typically won. A terrorist sect with nuclear capabilities could bring any country on present day earth to its knees. You don't need fancy alliances to upset the balance. Just things that go boom.
As to whether the United States needing a counter-balance, the last time that happened was the Cold War. The balances achieved by 16th and 17th century European alliances were based on military threat. That is not the kind of balance needed today. Economically, competition (trying to keep up with the other side) is healthy, but the US is currently out balanced in that area anyway.

Does the European concept of “the balance of power” still have meaning? Does there need to be a counterbalance to the U.S. power in the world today?

When the question comes of does the European concept of “the balance of power” still have meaning the answer is yes. The balance of power today is exactly why we do not have sudden outbreak of wars. Living in the nuclear world, the power nations of the world understand that if you were to start war with another super power country you could easily potentially be starting World War III. A world war three in the nuclear world could easily mean destruction to a majority of earths population. Regarding does there need to be a counter balance to the US in the world, I believe that allies throughout the other continents and the United Nations would step in if the United States did something so unimaginably stupid regarding warfare. I personally believe that the US military is not that superior to other armies such as Russia or China so it's not necessary to have a counter balance to the US.

What makes a “golden age”?

A "golden age" is a period of time when a large number of areas are making advancements and/or succeeding in some way. During a golden age, the economy is very strong. A strong economy allows for patronage of the arts and sciences. El Greco and Cervantes were products of the Siglo de Oro in Spain. Poussin and Pascal did their work in France under Louis XIV. Of course, saying a country went through a golden age is always refering to the elite of the country.

What Makes A Golden Age?

I believe that a "Golden Age" is certainly not what we're having currently in the US for sure. In the time period we are in however a Golden Age is defined mainly on income and government power. Spain lived a Golden Age but only for a short while. The government was powerful, they had a strong army, large foreign territories and colonies provided huge amounts of income for the country, the people didnt have to work for their money (the nobles at least) and it was unified under catholocism. These assets are all part of having a Golden Age. When the people are unified, the government is well centralized and well liked amungst its people, and the money is high and the army is strong. Through this the people are not only rich and have cheap puchaces, but they feel well protected and have confedence in thier leaders. Only now will a Golden Age truely happen. The US is almost in crisis mode. Our army is strong, but stretched to far. Our leadership is poor and the economy is in the dumps. This is the opposite of spain in their Golden Age with one exception. The rate of unemployment is both low, however in Spain, the nobles didnt have to work because they basically got their money from the gold that was being imported from South America.

REMINDER

There are two earlier posts on Unit 3 that are archived under 10/19 - 10/26

What were the commonalities and differences between 18th century elite and popular cultures?

I'm just going to list them.
1.) Their names; "elite" "popular"
2.) The number of letters in their names; "5" and "7"
3.) The word "elite"is a palindrome because it... (I'm just kidding)
Commonalities
1.)They both read books, if they knew how to read.
2.)They both got drunk and drank coffee.
3.)Many of them shared a common religion and even attended the same churches.
4.)Everyone took pleasure in the execution of witch's and believed in magic, but less and less throughout the 18th century.
4.)Both cultures attended carnivals where a good time of cross-dressing and bearbaiting could be had by all, but again, less and less as the century bumbled on.
5.)Both got the common cold (like today, you just had to let it take it's course).
6.)Some attended the same theatres to watch the same plays.
7.)Both had at least one candle.
8.)Both had windows of varying sizes and materials (for some popular persons, their window was the world itself, that's because they were homeless)
9.)Both were humans of varying height and eye color; neither one was perfect.
Differences
1.)They technically spoke different languages (no wonder why you weren't supposed to speak until spoken to, you'd give yourself away) the elite speaking the national language and the popular speaking varying vernaculars.
2.)The elite lived in large houses with glass windows and often times broke down and cried if the curtains didn't match the wall-paper, while the popular might've had a house, a chair, or both!
3.)When the elite were sick, they went to see expensive doctors. When the popular were sick they went to see the old hermit woman in the forest who gave them magic potions (sometimes for just one green rupee) to replenish their HP so that they could continue their quest to save princess Zelda.
4.)The elite often changed their educated minds with the times, while the popular remained barricaded in their huts under the assumption that the Thirty Years War was still being waged (they didn't get the newspaper).
5.)Many of the popular worked all day long in the field harvesting wheat, while muttering to themselves not to eat it, which they sold, and then, that night they sat down to a meal of oat bread and a bean in a wooden bowl. The elite, in an attempt to emulate the peasants' ruggedness, sometimes threatened their cook with a pay cut when he hung himself because the meat was a little dry, or maybe, just for tonight, they might eat from "used" china instead of brand new, "unused" dishware, while staring at themselves in their many mirrors lit by chandeliers.
6.)In famine, the elite worried if their favorite dish was all out, the popular rioted out of fear of hunger and ate acorns.
7.)The elite fancied Roman and Greek mythology, in which the God Saturn enjoyed nothing more than devouring his own children, while the popular were quite pleased with medieval tales of chivalry and heroic, long-legged, men like Robin Hood who lived in the woods and ran about the land tossing out pouches of gold wherever there was a poor person down on his luck in need of some relief.
8.)The popular went to school because all of they're wildest dreams had come true, the elite went to school because their parents said they had to.
9.)The elite studied astronomy, the popular studied astrology (personally I find astrology much more interesting . . . but that's probably because my sun sign is Leo but my moon sign is Capricorn and not to mention there's Jupiter in the third house in opposition with Saturn and to make matters even worse my rising sign is Virgo . . .)
10.)The elite were vegetarians by choice, the popular couldn't afford meat and therefore were vegetarians.
11.)The popular got drunk out in the streets, while the elite perferred to get drunk from the comfort of their own homes.
12.)The elite were born into wealth making them high class, the poor were born into poverty making them low class (good to see they both got what they deserved).

Laramie (sorry Ms. Isikdag, but I read your comment after I made the post, I promise this is the last long one)

Does the European concept of “the balance of power” still have meaning? Does there need to be a counterbalance to the U.S. power in the world today?

I think the answer must most definetly be yes; this idea of "balance of power does still have meaning to it in this time. However the answer to whether the USA needs a counterbalance from another country is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. In medieval and post-medieval times rulers and countries weren't necessarily greedy but the one thing that sets them apart from us is that they had the constantly oncoming findings of LAND! Naturally people of the time would want to conquer and inhabit as much land as possible to establish themselves as a major world power. I'm not criticizing the way these people lived but rather creating the setting and context of the way people acted. Now in the present time all major land is inhabited and "ruled over". Because of this there are already many different major world powers, and when I say many I mean more than Europe had, which was only 5 or 6. So I don't believe that one country needs to counterbalance the power of the USA, but instead many. As history has proved the more world powers that there seem to be, the more protected each one is. This, I believe, is because each country sort of counterbalances each other making it pretty much impossible for any one world power to just decide to try to take over the world.

Why did absolutism succeed in France while constitutionalism triumphed in England and Holland?

The biggest reason was because in France it was generally agreed upon that the king should be the top dog. It was during the French civil war that a group called the politiques got the idea that a supreme law giving force was necessary to maintain national order.
It does makes some sense, I mean if you are trying to put on a play and there's no director or there is one but they only direct a few actors, the play is going to be more difficult for the cast as a whole to perform than if there were a powerful leader in charge. And even if the directors ideas aren't always the best, the control that non-opposition gives to a single person allows for a beautiful sense of order and (if the director is a good organizer) organization in the performance; all the views are consolidated in one leader with complete control over his own actions and thus complete control over the theatrical body. This seems reasonable in theory, but a director must be sound and effective for his actors to consent to work under him/her; a director is useless without actors.
Anyways, the decision on an absolutist government was not made in England or Holland. In England, the Kings (primarily Charles I and James II) decided to act without consent from his people. Charles I decided to tax the people and make laws without their consent (not even representative consent). This was a particularly bad move in England where the people were well represented in a governing body called Parliament. Parliament was well organized, wealthy, mostly secular, and overall quite powerful. It represented England as a whole and not the separate states of England or provinces of England. The king didn't understand just how bad a move he was making and was outmatched by the strength of his own country. James II met the same odds when he decided to be Catholic; and that since he was king, he could decide that Catholicism was aloud in England even though there were members of the official Church of England and a number of Protestant Puritans in the country as well as in Parliament. These two groups made up the vast majority of Englishmen and they would not stand for a heretic king, nor did they. It was the single mindedness of the English kings that doomed absolutism in England; had they been more conscious of the will and opinions of their subjects who were obviously much stronger than them (they were not gods) they may have been able to win their consent and slowly bring about an absolutist government.
In the case of the Dutch it was the division of provinces and the strength of the bourgeois as aristocrats that prevented absolutism. In Holland, when William III, prince of Orange was elected as stadtholder he wanted to centralize the government. He couldn't do so simply because no one would let him, and he wasn't about to start civil war in Holland as there had been in England. His position was mostly for military leadership and protection; he ruled powerfully during times of war; but during times of peace the moneymaking bourgeois were the ones in command. This lack of consent and power was what kept William from achieving his goal, but unlike the English rulers he wasn't headstrong or money-hungry and understood the limitations of his position.
Not only was it the withstanding support for Louis XIV from his subjects (or at least the decisive ones) that kept France's absolutist government intact, but it was also the personal choices of Louis to maintain the support of the nobles and middle class (for the lower-classes were not powerful unless grandly amassed in a riot or having upper class support), who had given him his power in the first place and could just as well take it away from him, and to do all that he was able to do to gain personal power, like building up an army under his control and not under the control of self interested nobles and/or mercenaries, as well as creating a strong administrative political hierarchy with him at the top. The fact that Louis created these things meant that he was responsible for their maintenance and funding; without him they would lose their positions and paychecks, therefore they were given good reason to remain loyal to their king. With this personal power, and respect for the power of those under his leadership, Louis XIV gave himself the tools he needed to lead France with an effective absolutist government.
It basically comes down to the cast-director relationship of rulers and their people, neither one can work alone. (unless it's a one person play . . . but that is HARD!)

Laramie