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.


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)
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.
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!)

What makes a “golden age”?

I think that a “golden age” refers to a cultural high point-artistically, politically and is also in a time of peace and stability, almost a utopia. The Dutch Golden age was a time of wealth (Trading companies, banks, expansions to Americas) and art (Frans Hals, Jan Vermeer, Rembrandt….) This was the Dutch high point, thematically, the Dutch fell after William of Orange became stadholder, and England passed the Navigation Act…
"Why did absolutism succeed in France while constitutionalism triumphed in England and Holland?"

I think absolutism succeeded in France, as opposed to in England, because the French aristocrats had very little political power. In France the king was only required to consult the aristocrats, and nobles when increasing taxes. In order to gain the loyalty of the noble class, Louis XIV gave the aristocrats tax exemption. After the nobles gained their tax exemption, they were submissive and allowed Louis his "Absolutism".

In England, the aristocratic class formed the parliment and for the most part stood in direct opposition of the King. The Parliment had their own agenda, and thought keeping the King's power in check was more important than a tax break. The English were stronger then the French aristocrats and as a result didn't succumb to the absolute rule of their King.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Golden Age Prompt

I think that there are a lot of common factors in the making of a "Golden Age". If we compare the Elizabethan Era in England and the siglo de oro in Spain we will find some similarities. Both countries enjoyed immense artistic output during these times. Spain had artists like El Greco, playwrights such as Lope de Vega, and of course Cervantes's Don Quixote. England had the work of William Shakespeare, need I say more? Both kingdoms has strong rulers during these periods and had economic security. In Spain, this security came from the outside, and there was no innovation on the inside, but the economy was still in decent shape. If we compare different Golden Ages, we will see common factors in arts, government, and economics. Check Spelling

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Violence Prompt

Whether or not violence should be tolerated for political gain is a rather unfair question, in my opinion. Violence is one of those things no one likes, obviously, but it is, as a matter of fact, very effective. Take the American Revolution, if violence had been banned from polictical endeavors where would the United States be today? Not the "United States" that's for sure. What about Britian's Civil War? The U.S's Civil War? The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s in America. Violence has been and always will be the most effective way of accomplishing political change. It is most certainly not the best way but it has been proven to work. I suppose then that I would have to say violence is acceptable for political gain. As for executing the King after a revolution... I think the King should be given a form of pardon, like Jimmy Carter was after watergate. Let the King disappear and be forgotten, putting him to death isn't necessary.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Prompt 4

Fisrt of all, I was not sure if we were supposed to wait for another unit or just pick a new promt(this is why I wrote two comments but not a new post last week). But it seems like we were supposed to pick another one for the second week. So I will write two posts for this week instead. This is the first post.

I think France was able to recover from the religious wars in contrast to Germany because of fewer reigious minority and devoted leaders such as Henry IV and Richelieu. Huguenots in France only consisted of five percent of the population while there was no reigious majority in Germany. This was definitely a huge contributing factor. Also, Henry IV's decision to put civil order over religion - the politique concept - further enabled the french unification. Then, Richelieu solidified the royal absolutism by suppressing the Rochelle rebellion, prohibitting private warfare and ordering the destruction of all fortified castles.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Prompt 5

There are absolutely have been recurring patterns in the fall of world powers. The two that come specifically to mind are the fall of the Roman Empire and Soviet Union. Both powers enjoyed immense military power, but in the end they killed themselves instead of others invading them. The Soviet Union was in terrible shape economically and Rome's government was corrupt. In short, they imploded. 16th century Spain also suffered from these problems. As we have discussed there was no innovation in an economic sense with almost no industry. During the reign of Charles II, the government was in tough shape too. A superpower tends to die from the inside out instead of from outside influences.

Prompt 2

Although I don't know much about this Adam Smith character yet, I think that mercantilism was a brilliant factor in improving economies during the 16th century. As Benny said in an earlier post, the 21st century is all about less government involvement in economic affairs. This is mainly due to what has happened as a result of too much government involvement during the last century. Government involvement is not a bad thing at all, if it is at the right place and time, although economists and Adam Smith would tear me apart for saying so. When a government is discreet about it, why shouldn't they help protect their country's economy. Mercantilism advanced international trade astronomically.


Prompt 3 babyy

Personally Spain were just a bunch of lazy arrogant rich people. They only relied on the shiny valuable things that were being imported from South America which definitely made them extremely rich in the first place but as the amount of valuables coming dropped, they had no source of money since they didn't really care about the material things they could sell. Secondly, they didn't work. They basically had a system where they rich people got more rich because of the gold they imported, but they didn't work for actual income. Sounds great does it not? Thirdly they started a war they couldn't finish and their royal house became filled with inbreds. So basically Spain was a dreamland when they were importing tons and tons of gold. No work, plenty of income, no conflicts with other countries, hey life was great. Then, all of a sudden, the amount of gold dramatically changes, forcing people who have never had a job to attempt to get one and a war breaks out with the Dutch. If the Spanish had stopped to think for a second they would have realized how almost "dumb" they really were. It easily could have been avoided or prevented if they had been more humble and thought of the future and not get caught up in the moment with riches.

Prompt 5

There most definitely are patterns in the rise and decline of world powers. I think the largest factor is the dynamic fluctuations in human ethics and values, and the changes in human lifestyle that must accompany said fluctuations. Governments and religions are attempts to set ethical guidelines that the majority of people already abide by to improve the overall quality of life of humans(i.e. not killing others, not stealing, monogamous relationships). These values are guidelines designed to allow humans to function more efficiently as a group, and thus combine efforts more efficiently for the benefit of more people. The problem occurs when the opinion of the majority of people moves away from the guidelines of the government, or the practices of the government violate the ethics of the majority. Then stagnation and decline occurs, as the government/religion becomes more and more useless to the majority of people. The actions of the people begin to be guided less and less by the guidelines set by the government and more and more by their own, self-motivated, values and ethics. Eventually, when virtually no one follows the guidelines, the establishment collapses and the process of building a government/religion that is most beneficial to the majority begins again.
In summary, governments and religions rely on the support of people, so they represent values that people support. Thus, the people will uphold the establishment (picture a lot of people holding up a large building). But, with time, the values of people change (people holding the building are walking). If governments/religions attempt to uphold the same (old) values, slowly people holding the structure of the establishment up will leave (people walking begin to walk out from under the structure). With too little support, eventually the establishment collapses (the very few people who didn't walk fast enough: their knees buckle under the weight). Often a lot of the people still holding it up are killed (SQUISH).

Prompt 5

I think that there are definitely reoccurring patterns across the board in the rise and fall of world powers especially in Europe. The process of riseing and falling began as a slow one with examples like Rome, or Greece but they fell from the inside because of corrupt leadership, their boarders spread too far, and they were cut at the knees by attackers because they had already been weekend by themselves. As time has gone on however, the rise and fall has become a less time taxing process. With the fear of Universal Monarchy, the similarities between countries, Balance of power etc, the new 16 and 17th century Europe is like a wave of up and down. Spain grows exponentially in amount of power then loses it just as fast when they, like Rome get corrupt leadership, extend their boarders too far (new Americas, etc), and are at the same time at war with another country (Dutch).

Prompt 3

It wouldn't have taken much for the Spanish to hold its power. All the Spanish had to have done is be more tolerant of others Religions. Spain should have recognized that the world was changing and it was inevitable that religious diversity would exist. If the Spanish realized this they would have never over extended their military by using imperialism on the rest of the world such as the Netherlands or Germany or England or even the new worlds. IF they had not gone into Netherlands they would have never lost the Spanish armada. The Spanish (if they accepted others) would also not have kicked out the Moriscos (Muslims). The Moriscos happened to be the hardest working members of the Spanish population, and anytime you kick out the top 200,000 best workers in a country you're in trouble. So really, if the Spanish had not been tolerant of others religions, most of/if not all of their problems would have been solved.

Prompt # 3

I believe that main thing that was the downfall of Spain and their economy was, as we've talked about in class, the intolerance of certain religions; or maybe to put it in better words, the way that the Spanish let their emotions and hardcore beliefs get in the way of the real things that were of importance. And all of those real things pertained to the economy, which was hurt badly when the Spanish kicked out the Jews and of course the Moriscos (Muslims). Yes of course the Spanish Armada was a big dent in the whole picture, but to me this just seems like something that could've been much more easily avoided. I mean, it's hard to give suggestions on how they could have "won" that battle in the water, but it's much more easy to see the blatant faults of intolerance. As one can see, other economies such as the Dutch Republic were flying high as the Spanish one crumbled to the ground, and that has a lot to do with the difference of intolerance in both societies.

Prompt 4

4. Why was France able to recover from the religious wars in contrast to Germany which was not?
The sole reason why France was able to recover opposed to Germany was because France became unified while Germany did not. The Germans weren't able to participate in the European economy after the war due to the fact they had little or no new world assets. The only income that was coming in was from the new worlds. The little assets/income Germany had were split through some of the German states. At the time Germany had 300 separate states so they had no unified capital. Opposed to France who was able to become a nation again to create a capital and participate in the European economy.
It's also important to note that a majority of the wars was fought on the German soil, damaging cities in Germany forcing it to be even more difficult to recover.


Prompt 3

I think that Spain just had really bad luck. First, taxes were too high and mostly targeted the poor. If Spain had not relied so much on the silver that was coming from the Americas and when it stopped coming, it would not have been necessary to tax as they did. Spain also should have handled the Dutch Revolution better. While the army was strong, Spain seemed to have been paying attention more to the Dutch instead of France and England. The Armada did not work out very well, either. England was almost waiting for them as they came; they had prepared well, but were still defeated. There were multiple communication problems and had the English not been there when they were, they would have succeeded. Philip clearly overlooked the possibility of the English navy.

Erica Perkins


One of the many reasons that the Spanish empire started to decline was due to the Spanish Armada which had been a sad and complete failure. With their butts handed to them by the English, the Spanish retreated from the open seas which allowed the English and Dutch more access. This caused for the English and Dutch East India Companies to be founded. These companies improved their economies by providing both countries with more than just the domestic raw materials they could produce themselves, like all good trade does. The opening of the seas also enabled colonies to be established at Virginia by the English and New York by the Dutch.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I didn't answer the whole question, my mistake. For Spain to keep its former power they would of had to reverse a centres worth of expelling all of the Jews from Spain. Also, they would have had to reverse a rather long line of inbreeding from the Hapsburg's. And the Armada, instead of massive slow heavily armed ships they should of made smaller faster ship with less firepower but enough to finish off the dutch then move on to the English.

Personally i believe Spain was doomed from the start for multiple reasons. One they where and had been kicking out some of their most talented persons and forcing them to go to other countries, the Jews. this was slowly eliminating Spain's working class, and because the Jews where so crafty there was now nothing worth exporting. 2nd Spain prospered under Phillip the II and became far to comfortable in living the high life. And that mind set of relax now work never carried on even after Phillip was dead and an inbred imbecile was king. so not only was Spain under a slightly mentally challenged leadership, but the lords where fat lazy and in no rush to do any thing about it. Lastly the defeat by the Dutch for the Netherlands was just plain embarrassing. And to have built a massive armada to conquer the dutch then England herself, only to have it in ruins even before it made it out of the English channel, Was the last great feat of the once mighty Spain.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Prompt 1


Spain was opened to an accident world when they sent columbus off on his quest to find the Indies. It was a quest in which Spain wanted glory over Europe, and gold from the trade. If it had been the Indies, Spain would have found a back route and the middle men in the middle east would have been cut out. Portugal would have had some fierce competition from the back route traders. Eventually after Spain realized what they had discovered then it became a quest for God. While the gold mines and such did fuel Spain's economy the whole Catholic missionary thing was more important. Columbus did go back to the Americas after his first visit, but on the ground to bring catholicism to the indians. Sadly....Columbus went crazy, or so it is said and died a few years after his great discovery. Personal gain and glory went to the explorers who decided to conquer the indians in the name of Spain, but Spain in turn got the glory. The whole God part came as an after thought and I can't help but winder if they would have tried to convert the Chinese and Asians whom they would have traded with, or if it was only because it was an unknown people.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Prompt 5

There are definitly recurring patterns in the rise and fall of empires. The success of an empire can be best described as the flow of pedals on a bike... up to a peak then pushed back down to a lull until it slowly rises back up and so on. The Roman Empire (not the Holy Roman Empire mind you) is a great example of this. The Roman Empire started off small. But gradually it grew, mainly thanks to conquest (a.k.a war). However, the Roman Empire expanded so much that it stretched itself thin leaving itself vulnerable, so when another war broke out with the Gauls(?) (correct me if you wish Sarah) the Romans were helpless to stop them. There are other modern versions of Empires too like the USSR and the British Empire. What do all these empires have in common? War. War enables empires to expand but ALSO leads to their downfall. An empire can neither thrive nor fail without war. Many would think that war can only be devastating e.g. the Romans fell because of a war with the Gauls(?), the Cold War was a doosie for the USSR, and World War II caused Great Britian to just exhaust itself. But look at it from another perspective. This great nation we call our own, the United States of America, became what it is today because of a war, the Revolutionary War. So, in my opinion, an empire's rise and fall can be traced back to war.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Prompt 1

Prompt 1

I think the biggest European motivation to go to the new world was a combination of glory and gold. The Europeans were always trying to look for ways to be better than the other areas and having more land was one of those ways. Although glory was a major factor in the conquest to the new world, I beleive that an even more important reason was "gold". The conquistadors brought back plenty of goods to Europe such ad sugar and tobacco which made many people very rich. They could also use all this new land for farming which brought in some money.

And also I agree with atticus and alex the blog is very confusing but i think that now that i've done it before it wont be as confusing next time the only problem is finding the information that im looking for because there's so much stuff on the page.

Prompt 4

Well, this weekend I was in New York looking at colleges and researching my future and i was without a lap top or way of posting on the blog so I am sorry for the tardiness of this response. France was able to recover from the religious wars because it was not as hard hit by the side effects of the reformation as Germany. The Holy Roman Empire was ground zero. Peasants went crazy and began attacking authority when they misinterpreted Luther's teachings. France was removed from these events but also the French Kings took religious decisions into their own hands and Henry IV passed an Edict to allow freedom of worship for the Huguenots which kept France unified.

PS, I second Atticus Robert's opinion of this blog idea. It feels sort of disorganized. We need to have further discussions in class about the blog in order to enhance its quality and ease of use.

Prompt 3

I think there are a variety of things that Spain could have had to do to keep it's power from falling away with changing times. In the late 16th century, when much of Europe was or already had come to terms with the two different lines of Christian faith, much of Spain's religious structure (and cultural structure) was built around the Inquisition. A lot of energy was put into resisting a minority, and trying to supress a minority is always innefficient. Spain was already suffering from depopulation when the hundreds of thousands of Moriscos were driven from Spanish land. Spain lost valuable and essential elements of their workforce to religious bigotry.
While England essentially had the same religious intolerance policy-just in the opposite camp-as Spain, England also had a sense of national unity that was not just centered around their religion, it was centered around their country. The only element of Spanish unity was the Catholic Church, but the Inquisition in Spain was a big part of the Catholic Church. With a common ground so centered around total rejection of all other elements of Christianity, to the point of forcibly moving population, Spain went into decline once its "tolerance" level fell behind the curve. With a little more of an open mind, or an earlier shift away from the harsher sides of the Inquisition, Spain might have found more common ground as a nation.

prompt 1

First off, my I just say that I firmly do not believe in whatever this whole blog thing is. It just took me like 20 minutes to figure it out. Secondly the main drive for European explorers to seek the new world was to gain that upper hand on the other countries of Europe. It developed into almost a competition as time went on. I think that in the beginning, it was about the exploring and the bringing in of foreign goods but towards when the British, French and other northern European countries followed the original explorers Spain and Portugal, it turned into more of a competition to get more land, foreign goods, riches (gold), people and power.

Prompt 4

For me, there is one very clear reason as to why France was able to recover from it's religious wars while Germany was not. In France the wars were purly of a religious nature. While it is true that the main reasons for the wars in Germany were religious, the states were also looking for independence from the Holy Roman Empire. The Huguenots in France wern't looking to break away from France, they just wanted the right to worship freely. At the end of the French civil wars, Henry IV passed the Edict of Nantes and solved the religious problem. When the Thirty Years' War ended in Germany, the Peace of Westphalia settled religious problems, but did nothing about the states plea for independence from the HRE. When it came to political matters, France was united, Germany was not.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Prompt 1

Although I've already responded to this prompt, I was wondering a few things about it. I am confused about whether gold means literally gold and silver mines in the Americas, or if gold is a representation of financial gain through new trade routes. The answer is different for each meaning. Columbus set sail looking for a trade route to the East by way of sailing westward. He did this for glory, but also for gold, which here means financial gain for his country through the new trade route that he hoped to find. South America was explored mainly by those wishing to spread their religion on natives. While exploring the land gold was found, but this was not the reason for going there in the first place.

Prompt One

I think that the most important thing was first glory. As there was a lot of conflict between the Catholic and Protestants, the discovery of the new worlds and trade routes was a nice “breather” and something that motivated Europeans to continue to explore. Gold was certainly a nice thing to find and this is what continued the motivation and kept them exploring. The more, the better. This also may have been the most consequential because people in the Americas were being conquered because this is where the gold and silver was.

Prompt 1

I think that the initial motivation was glory. Each section of Europe wanted its own claim to the "New World" as soon as Columbus stumbled upon it. But I believe that gold is what caused European countries to keep on exploring and adventuring to it. They wanted the riches that Spain had found there and were willing to put all their resources into finding that gold for themselves.

Prompt 5

The rise and fall of nations does follow a pattern. Usually a government starts out small, sometimes motivated by religious reasons. Ancient Egypt became a strong power after a bunch of farmers on the nile were united by a ruler. Greece was united by a conquerer. Rome became a power after a giant democratic figure claimed all power. the middle ages people were united as seperate nations through the new and powerful monarchies. Each of these unifications led to growing economies and a sense of nationalism. Eventually as the purity and cause that drives the nation has been forgotten the government becomes weak and corrupt. The people rebell or are taken by invaders on their rise. Rome became weak and cprrupt and the once very mighty nation was easily conquered by the German tribes who were ablr to unite and take down the power which led to the rise of their newer nation. It seems that in history once the government has gotten too big, or has forgotten the people that the government collapses and is replaced witha newer, smaller, and more powerful one. Its like the circle of life, one dies and another takes its place.

4 # tpmorPrompt # 4

A lack of political unity was perhaps the biggest weakness of Germany during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and it's the main reason why Germany wasn't able to recover from it's civil war and France was. First off, the Thirty Years' War that took place in Germany, beginning with the Bohemian War (which threw any original German political unity out the window, literally) in 1618 and ending with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, was by no means a strictly German affair. The French, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, English, Italians, and the prince of Transylvania (don't forget him) all played a part in making this war such a terribly destructive one. In essence it was an international war fought primarily in Germany. It pitted the Catholic states of Germany who were backed by the Spanish, against the Protestant States of Germany who were backed by the French, Dutch and English. In this way, what originated as a civil war was turned into a war between nations. Cardinal Richelieu was hell bent on ending the Habsburg supremacy and the Spanish kings not only disagreed but wanted to expand their family domain by reconquering modern Holland once the Twelve Years' Truce had finally expired in 1621. In short Germany's independent nobles (hmm sounds like Italy) were not very strong when they were divided and this lead to a battle royale that left Germany utterly destroyed. Even when the Peace of Prague came about and it seemed like Germany was finally satisfied, the French and Spanish were still eager to continue the fighting. In the end, what it accomplished was, in fact, favorable for the the nobles however; the Empire was dissolved and the princes obtained sovereignity over their own states.
In France the problem was more national than it was international. The dispute began with the accidental (see it was just an accident, it's not anybody's fault) death of French King Henry II who's heirs were not old enough to maintain firm rule (oldest was only fifteen). The Catholics in France (lead by the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine) competed with the Huguenots/French Catholics (lead by Admiral de Coligny and Henry of Bourbon, King of Navarre, Sovereign of annoying and long titles!) and this lead to a civil war within France that was driven by political and religious issues. Then Catherine d'Medici decided that she should take out the Huguenot leaders (apparently the Duke of Coligny was getting too "close" to her son... Henry III... Hmmm...) and the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre ensued (Coligny killed Henry King of Titles survived). Although this did arouse the calling in of Spanish troops and German mercenaries, foreign powers were not nearly as heavily involved in the French civil war as in the German. Luckily mom stepped in (aka the politiques) and a voice of reason was heard (Jean Bodin) "we need common law and sovereign unity to remain strong forget about religion and remember peace". Two assassinations later (Henry III and Henry of Guise) and Henry of Bourbon (do you think he drank? "we need stop to civil this war" "Sire have you been drinking tonight?" "PerHapsburgs" "ok sir get off the horse and put your hands where I can see them" ) seized power. He did a pretty awesome thing with the Edict of Nantes which gave equal rights to Catholics and Huguenots alike (he even had the guts to abjure Calvinism first to attain Catholic cooperation AND HE WAS THEIR LEADER... maybe he was drunk either way it worked out). He then set about repairing the wreckage of France.
As you can see, the French Civil war was of a lesser caliber than the Thiry years war. The centralized form of government allowed for a constant, at least glimmer, of unity in France which was rare in Germany. However, Germany's disunity failed mostly because it caused too much of a power struggle between powerful rulers and when international interests were involved it got out of control. Also, unlike the Germans the French were able to resolve their problems on their own while Germany required practically all of Europe. Either way the Thirty Years War and The French civil war injured all of the countries involved, but it was down right devastating for the Germans (Good thing they never suffered such devastation again in the future... Oh wait I forgot... about that little World War... oh yeah and that other one... umm what was it... WORLD WAR II)(but at least a bunch of countries weren't involved... uhhh yeah... good thing)

Laramie (Sorry it's so long)

Prompt Three

Spain would have benefitted immensely by accepting both Catholics and Protestants. Although this was almost unheard of then, it would have decreased Spain's enemies, for Philip II was constantly attempting to do things for the better of his country but for Catholicism as well. One reason that Spain saw a decline in its power was because of depopulation. If Protestants were never sent out of the country (along with many other peoples), Spain's population would not have dropped by so much. If Philip had allowed Protestantism, he may not have had as much of a problem with the Protestant Elizabeth of England.

Prompt # 2

Mercantilism in this day and time would obviously never last. There is too much of a capitalist and "no-government" involvement influence and idea in the economy, especially America's. However, in the 16th century I believe it was a very progressive, intuitive, and well-thought-out idea. I think that a new system of trading and doing business was in order because of all of these new trade routes, and I also believe that since there were all of these countries coming in and out of other foreign countries government intervention seemed and probably was quite neccesary. the idea of this system was that traders should export more goods than they are bringing in or importing. I think that this, at the time, was a very good observation because perhaps the government wanted to be not only a country known for taking goods in from other countries, but also wanted be able to gain money from other countries and get on good terms with foreign countries. Tariffs put down by the government were supposed to encourage this idea and enforce it as well. the government wasn't supposed to be a "bully", but more of a protective force for their merchants. So in my opinion I believe that at the time it was revolutionary and useful, but eventually the econmic movement and activity changed causing a need for a change in the economic system; that's just the way it works.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I think the most import European motivation in the New World was gold. When Columbus sailed into America, he thought he reached the east side of India. His motivation from the beginning was to find another route to reach India, which was known for gold and spices. And although Spain didn’t find India as they hoped, they did find what they wanted in America: gold and silver. Cortes and Pizarro conquered Aztec and Inca, and plundered their gold and silver. Spanish, also found numerous gold deposits that provided Spain a constant flow of gold. Eventually, England and France, after settling their internal problems, entered the New World as well hoping to find gold. And growing Capitalism and Mercantilism further encouraged this movement.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Prompt # 1

Like those before me, I believe that yes it was and has to have been a combination of all three of those motivations in the New World. And in my opinion, no one type of person or people were subject or restricted to be motivated by only one. For instance, when Queen Isabella funded Columbus's trip to reach the Indies by sailing west, she not only was looking for a new trade route and goods and gold, but I believe that she was also looking for glory among her people which she did when Spain eventually entered the "Golden Age" because of these events. I must agree with Cote that god was a very consequential motivation in the New World. When Columbus among others arrived there, people realized that this was a place for Christianity to flourish, explaining the huge pouring in of missionaries set on spreading their religion to anybody who seemed ready or even not ready to listen. God was not a factor to Columbus in any way for this trip. There is no way around that, since it's pretty obvious that he sought gold and in my view, more important for him, a chance to prove himself worthy since he'd been turned down so many times or in one word, glory.

# 4

Germany was not able to recover from religious wars, specifically the Thirty Years' War, as well as France because it was also in the middle of a civil war. The war initially started between Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire and slowly spread throughout most of Europe. During this time the Habsburgs were in control of Germany. Their rulings angered many Germans who took up arms to fight against them. This caused utter chaos and forced the Habsburgs to divide their focus between the Thirty Years' War and their own civil war. Their enemies, one of which being France, were able to give their complete and undivided attention to the Thirty Years' War allowing them to ultimately win. Another reason recovery was difficult was the fact that the war took place in Germany causing them the most destruction.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I believe that it was a combination of all three (god, Glory, gold) that motivated the exploration of the Americas. Glory came first because once they figured out there was a completely different land mass someones got to own it. Gold because once said land mass was explored and valuable exports where discovered this only increased the sudden flow of Europeans. and finally god. i believe that there was some Manifest destiny involved in the annexing of the American country's.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Prompt Five

Yes, I do believe so.
For example, the Reformation. In teaching that the Bible, not the church, was the main source of religious spirituality, power was taken from the Pope. After being denied a divorce from the Pope, Henry VIII formed the Church of England. In cases like this, the power from the papacy has been altered and taken by European princes. Most other world powers follow a similar pattern. Remaining strong and independent for some time, another power takes over and overrules causing the decline.

Erica Perkins

Prompt Numbah 1

The first and most important motivation for European countries to sail out across the Atlantic may have come from Gold, however, in the long run the most consequential motivation came from God. The Spanish, who sent Columbus out to sea (in 1492) were hoping that by sailing across the Atlantic (a.k.a. The Ocean Blue), a new route to Asia would be discovered. At the time, imported goods from Asia (like spices) had to be brought to Europe by land and were heavily taxed at each stopping point along the way. Were an effective water route to Asia to be opened, the prices would drop drastically, which is exactly what happened when Vasco da Gama rounded Africa. However, when Columbus hit land he thought he'd found Asia when he'd really found what we know today as America. He didn't find much valuable ore, (unlike Cortés and Pizarro) but did find people and new cultures. Around thirty years later Cortés in Mexico and Pizarro in Peru (both Spanish expeditions) found a wealth of culture as well. Neither the Aztecs in Mexico nor the Incas in Peru had ever heard the name of christ though they did have their own form of gods and worship. This gave the Christian religion the oppurtunity of a century to expand it's followers. Missionaries began pouring into the New World educating the native pagan population to their "high" way of living. The Spanish were and still are an intensely religious culture what with the Inquisition and Wars of Religion. However, not all things religious in Spain were violent. When the missionaries reached America they tried to protect theit new converts from oppresseion and overwork; the natives had sometimes previously been enslaved, tortured, and even used as human sacrifices by their own people. This is not to say that the Spanish were anything but insensitive to the natives (for example Cortés's swindling and slaughtering of the Aztec king and his people who had thought him to be the prophecized pale-skinned god quetzalcoatl). The Americas gave Christianity a place to turn, being that the Old World had been pretty well divided by then. The natives were plentiful and ready for the conversion, providing a prime sight upon which The City of God might be rebuilt. With the reconquista in southern Spain just finished and later on the Protestant Reformation rearing it's ugly head and the militant Jesuits appearing, Catholicism was up and about at home as well as in the New World. However, the biggest evidence of God's importance in the New World is the way it is today. Peru is over 80% Roman Catholic and Mexico is over 75% Roman Catholic. Not to mention the two countries' primary language is Spanish. There were just as many missionaries traveling to the Americas as there were merchants and businessmen. Within the last 200 years many of these New World countries have gained their independence from their colonial parents, including Mexico, Peru and Cuba. In the end it was religion that lasted. While the initial idea was to use the America's as a means for trade with Asia, which then became gold and silver exchange with Asia across Mexico, it's most important and longest lasting consequence was that of religion.


Prompt 1

I think that European reasons for motivation in the New World were for Gold in the sixteenth century. For centuries goods coming from the Far East had to pass through middle men in cities such as Constantinople or Venice. At each stop the merchants had to pay taxes on the goods and the prices went up. There was a high demand in Europe for these goods and the people wanted them for a lower price. Spain and Portugual were the first to send out ships to find ocean trade routes to the East Indies. Colombus went across the Atlantic to find those trade routes and stumbled across a new continent that he wasn't looking for. the Europeans wanted new trade routes for the delivery of Eastern goods and had no idea that they would end up finding new continents.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Prompt 1

I think that the question Gold God or Glory all depends on whose eyes you're looking from. I think if you are an explorer especially one of the first like Columbus (Spain) and others, you are looking purely for glory. Columbus wanted to find an alternate route to far east. Even until his death the stubborn man thought that he had reached the Indies. He was filled with the glory of it. However, if you are a King or type of Ruler, you must be looking for some type of financial gain out of it. Queen Isabella of Castile sent Columbus to beat Portugal to India to seek a trading route. For Columbus's first trip he only had 3 ships. But Once Isabella saw the financial gain she sent 17 ships and over a thousand workmen to start business.

Prompt 1

The initial motivation for empires to explore the new world was glory. We as humans are very curious and the thought of far off lands yet to be discovered drove us to exploration. Why is it that we spent billions and billions of dollars to fly to the moon? There isn't any gold or valuables on the moon, we went there to prove our countries technological might. The same could be said about European nations during the age of exploration. It was an impressive journey to travel from Europe to North America. Ships had to be built perfectly and be able to last out in the open ocean. Therefore these exploration vessels were a direct reflection of a countries navy. Gold and converts were just icing on the cake to a humanistic drive to explore our world and surroundings.

Prompt 4

France was more able than Germany to recover from the religious wars because the French king Francis I made a deal with the pope to renounce the Pragmatic Sanction in France through the Concordat of Bologna thus giving the French king power over the French Catholic Church. With this power he controlled his subjects both through the state and church. Any rebellion there may have been was probably crushed quickly. Germany on the other hand was full of rebellious princes who wanted to defy the Habsburgs and revolt against the church that gave the HRE power. Because France worked against the common goal of beating the Habsburgs while Germany revolted, France was able to stay unified and recover quickly from the religious wars.

Saturday, October 4, 2008



There are definitely clear cut similarities between different world super powers throughout history. they usually start out small and as their kingdoms/country's grow so does their power. but there is always a climax, and a downfall. take the Roman empire for example. It was massive, and definitely THE super power of its time. Rome was the lap of luxury for an extremely long period. But the power of Rome dropped substantially, until the bitter end when it was sacked in 410 by the Visigoths. by looking at the model of Rome we can compare almost any great nation. The Greeks, The Aztecs, The British empire (tho they didn't fall as hard). Theres always a beginning, and theres always an end.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Prompt #1

The most important short-term motivation for European exploration in the New World was gold. Governments saw it as a continent full of undiscovered gold and silver that could add to their country's wealth. With this in mind Europeans began exploring the Americas, mining for precious metals. The Aztec and Incan civilations were conquered, and their people were used as slaves in the mines, to mine for gold, silver, and diamonds for the Spanish crown. Although spreading God's word was a major motivator, it was hardly ever the main reason for exploration. Country's monarchs were more willing to give out gold for voyages if there was a chance that the expedition would generate more gold.

Sam Stewart

Prompt # 4

The main reason France was able to recover from the religous wars of the 16th century. Being that, France wasn't hit as hard by the peasant revolts as Germany was. In the Concordat of Bologna (1516) between Francis I of france and Pope Leo X, the leader of france was allowed to run the Gallican Church as he saw fit. The citizens of France didn't feel oppressed by the Gallican church and saw little need to reform it. Francis I, was also happy with the power he held over the french church, he had all the power he wanted and wasn't about to loose it, so he insured the protestant reformation stayed outside of his kingdom. As a result Protestantism and the Refrmation never gained much ground in France.