Various Topics incomplete Essay

1. List and analyze the difference between the new scientific views of the world and traditional medieval views. How did standards for ascertaining the “truth” differ between these two perspectives? Medieval techniques for ascertaining truth differed greatly from scientific views, mostly in part to what was taught in the Middle Ages by the church. Medieval traditional views put more faith in made up truths to fit their own religious dogmas or referring to long trusted authorities. Widely held by the populace in medieval times their views did come from some scientific origin in the form of a philosopher named Aristotle. Aristotle’s works merged with Christian views helped formed what we know today as medieval traditional views. During the 15th and 16th centuries however new views started to undermine this way of thinking. Neoplatonism based on the ideas of Plato combined with Hermetic doctrine provided especially powerful alternatives to Aristotelian thought.

Or (helped form a bridge to the scientific revolution). Some of the key subjects taught in early medieval school universities were natural philosophy, or natural science as it was sometimes called. Contrary to the view of the Middle Ages being something dark of a dark age for science, dominated by the rule of faith rather than light of reasons. The Church received much of the burn for the alleged lack in medieval intellectual life. During the middle ages, the education infrastructure of Europe was overseen if not managed by the church. That role, which meant acting as both the supporter of academic freedom and the protector of its boundaries, tended to be carried out with a light touch and by ensuring the right people were placed in the key positions.

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Combined with their status as self-governing corporations of scholars, this gave the universities independence from local influence and the freedom to speculate. From the time the works of Aristotle entered western Europe in the late twelfth century until around 1600, or 1650, Aristotelianism provided the main explanation for natural occurences, but also served as the main point of reference for the way the world would be viewed. This particular medieval view had two interrelated characteristics. The first, identified the earth as the center of the universe with all planets in motion rotating around it. The second view taken from works of Aristotle was intertwined at certain points with Christian ideas of god, angels and the soul. In contrast to the heavens, terrestrial bodies made up of the four elements earth , water, air, and fire, each of which had it’s own natural place in the universe and the world. Hermetic doctrine, based on writing’s mistakenly attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, stated that all matter contained the divine spirit, which humans out to seek to understand. Among scholars this sparked, great interest in botany, chemistry, metallurgy, and other studies that promised to assist people with unlocking the secrets of nature.

This approach also encouraged scholars use mathematics, to measure, map and to quantify nature in ways never done before. Hermetic doctrine also contained that the sun was above all important for the transmission of divine spirit and thus it’s reason for occupying the center of the universe. Combined, these beliefs encouraged the idea of the natural magician who could unleash the powers of nature through alchemy, astrology, and magic. Despite having been proved not useful, all of these ideas helped nurture investigators to question traditionally accepted knowledge. How did standards for ascertaining the “truth” differ between these two perspectives? The greatest difference between the two lies in their origins.

Medieval views of discovering the truth relied solely on personal judgment and blind commonsense. Not the personal opinion of right of wrong but the common sense of whether the sun is shining or not. This combined with objective officials being used to determine the fates of people was doomed to fail once the creative human mind reached a point in time when it would wonder. Influenced by the old teachings of Plato and Hermes Trismegistus the human mind was taught to question in so many words what, why, and how. It is through the beginning of these teachings we began our journey in the middle ages to reach a greater scientific understanding of how to obtain truth about the world around us.

2. How did Enlightenment ideas influence the American Revolution and Constitution? How did the American attempt differ from earlier European attempts to incorporate Enlightenment ideals into political rule?

How did the Enlightenment ideas influence the American Revolution and Constitution? Inspired by John Lock and other Enlightenment thinkers the concepts of freedom from oppression, natural rights and new ways of thinking about governmental structure lay at the core of the revolution. In 1774 the first continental congress was formed hoping to dissuade Great Britain from directly controlling colonial affairs. Both during and after the American Revolution many of the core ideas from the Enlightenment were the basis for monumental tracts such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. All aspects of life, even religion, were affected by the Enlightenment and many key figures from American history such as Thomas Jefferson were greatly influenced by the movement.

John Locke an influential English philosopher of his time believed that the power of governing originally rested with the people and that citizens themselves established a monarchy to keep order. Locke also believed that the people retained their sovereignty but created a contract of mutual obligations with their ruler. He also argued that if the king broke the contract, the people had the right to impeach him and install a new monarch, just as parliament had done during the Glorious Revolution (see, the revolution of 1688). Locke originally did not intend for women or landless Levellers to share in popular sovereignty. Locke’s highly influential ideals did not include many people at the time of 1690 however in time his theory would broaden to form the basis for a constitutional monarchy. Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers saw that through Locke’s conception of natural rights their rights were being violated by British oppression and it became necessary to draft a government and code that was instrumental in guaranteeing everyone natural rights under law.

The first steps in the formation of the United States based on the Enlightenment ideals were to create a Declaration of Independence. This provided a promise of personal freedom to all citizens by way of the forming a new government with the right to have a say in this governments actions. While using the ideas of several Enlightenment philosophers the basis of the constitution was formed, and helped shaped the direction of American politics to come. Montesquieu’s idea for the balance of power between three branches of government was exclusively used as well as Rousseau’s ideas about the power of democracy and consent of the people, and it was the influence of Thomas Hobbes that helped profess the ideals that all men were created equal and that all power should be derived from the consent of men.

The most prominent figure in the founding of the United States is irrefutably Thomas Jefferson. Not only was Jefferson a perfect man of the Enlightenment but he was also both classically educated and trained in the humanities. As the author for the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson helped shape and mold the country through his ideals solidifying natural rights in terms of government and religion. Having understood the importance of education, in order to reinforce his ideals to work in the new nation, he founded the University of Virginia. In many ways Jefferson represented the way Enlightenment ideals could apply in the new colonies.

I personally feel that the American attempt differed from the European implements strictly because we were a generation that had been unaltered by direct monarch rule. Yes the colonies were British colonies and subject to British rule however for the most part we governed ourselves. Even before the American Revolution, the stamp act of 1765 sent the colonies into an up rise demanding no taxation without representation, a defiant beginning that could not be so easily quelled had it been within the confines of Great Britain. Having been such an infantile collection of states the early founding fathers were able to learn from history and help shape them into a new more bold collection of states united under common ideas that were not that of the crown. This and only this is how we differed from early European attempts at Enlightenment. 3. What were the major causes of the French Revolution? Were short term or long term factors more significant for producing the revolution?

What were the major causes of the French Revolution? Were short term or long term factors more significant for producing the revolution? The main causes of the French revolution started with an extreme social stigma percolating among the French people. The main cause was the severe injustice in the tax system against the third estate. The bourgeoisie (middle class) felt the full force of taxation more than any other estate in france and after the meeting “The Estates General” it was only a matter of time before class warfare began. In response to “The Estates General” the national assembly was formed to create a constitution for france.

The French people were not equal, with ten percent of France’s best land being owned by the first estate (Clergy) and twenty percent of France’s land being owned by the second estate (Nobility) the third estate (commoners, bourgeoisie, the peasantry, and the urban populace) something needed to be done. The third estate made up more than nine-tenths the population of france but were only allowed the same number of representative seats as the first and second estate. Since the decline of the monarchy rule when Louis the XVI game to power the balance shifted to the first and second estate.

The Estates General was convened for the sole purpose of controlling the French debt. When Louis VXI summoned the estates general in 1788 it was comprised of all three estates each holding one vote despite the fact that the population of France was dominantly made up of the third estate. Not only was the first estate made up of nobility as well but they also controlled the second estate tipping the balance of power in their favor. In April of 1789, representatives of all estates assembled with cahiers (grievances for the king) aside from a handful of liberal clergy and and nobles elected to the third estate, most were all members of the bourgeoisie. Most members of the third estate wished to create a constitutional government with a national assembly that would meet regularly to pass taxes and laws. After meeting, the two privileged estates demanded that, according to custom, the three estates meet separately and vote by order (each estate cast 1 vote, while the nobility controlled the first two estates, doing so seemed extremely advantageous for the third estate).

The third estate backed by some clergy took action declaring itself the National Assembly of France and invited the other two estates to join it in enacting legistlation. Days later, when the third estate went to convene they found that their meeting hall had been locked. Moving the meeting to a nearby indoor tennis court created what is today known as the “Tennis Court Oath”, they vowed not to disband until France had a constitution.