Global 10 Thematic Essays
Topics
Belief Systems
Change
Human and
Physical Geography
Human Rights
Citizenship
Conflict
Culture and Intellectual Life
Decision Making
Diversity
Economic Systems
Environment and Society
Factors of Production
Political Systems
Power
Scarcity
Imperialism
Interdependence
Science and
Technology
Justice
Urbanization
Movement of People
and Goods
Nationalism
Nation States
Needs and Wants
Thematic Essay Topics
European Feudalism
Mao Zedong
French Revolution
Hinduism
Silk Road
Israel
Bantu Migration
Crusades
Mikhail Gorbachev
Russian Revolution
Printing Press
Enlightenment
Age of Exploration
Neolithic Revolution
Fall of the Roman Empire
Seed Drill
Stalin’s Russia
Renaissance
Protestant Reformation
World War I
Golden Age of Democracy (Greece)
Louis XIV
Queen Elizabeth I
Treaty of Versailles
River Valley Civilizations
Industrial Revolution
BACK TO
fall of roman empire
European Feudalism and Manorialism
After the fall of the Roman Empire,
Western Europe would soon fall into a
feudal period with lords and kings
controlling pieces of land and fighting
with other lords for control. Feudal
societies were tightly closed institutions
with the church carrying most of the
power. Peasants and serfs were the
lowest on the social ladder, but they
generally accepted their fate as the will
of God. Although they varied in size,
the manors were self-sufficient. Each
manor had a manor house, a village
church which was the center of manor
activity, the peasants cottages, fields
owned by the lords and fields owned by
the peasants, a mill, a common pasture,
and a woodland. Of the lord’s fields,
one would remain unplanted each year.
This was known as the fallow field.
Economic
IMPACT
During the Middle Ages, the manor system
(manorialism) was the basic economic arrangement.
1) Based on a set of rights and obligations between a lord and his serfs
2) The lord provided the serf with housing, farmland, and protection from
bandits
3) In return, serfs tended the lord’s lands, cared for their animals and
performed other tasks to maintain the estate
4) Peasants rarely traveled more than 25 miles from their own manor
5) Manors were self sufficient, everything they needed was produced on
the manor (crops, milk, cheese, fuel, cloth, leather goods, and lumber)
6) Peasants (serfs) paid taxes on grain and marriage, as well as a
tax which was 1/10th of their income
Political
The feudal system governed Western European society.
There was a strict social system in place where everyone had a role.
1) The structure of the feudal society was like a pyramid with the king on
top nobles and bishops next, knights below them and peasants last
IMPACT
2) People were classified into three groups: those who fought (knights),
those who prayed (people of the church) and those who worked
(peasants). You were born into a social class
3) Serfs (peasants) could not lawfully leave the land. This would
eventually lead to peasants leaving for the Crusades
HOME
4) The feudal system was based on rights and obligations. In exchange
for military service a lord or landowner, granted land called a fief. The
person receiving the fief was called a vassal. Knights pledged to
protect the vassal’s land and peasants worked the land.
BACK TO
Enlightenment
French Revolution
There was a great unrest in France,
caused by bad harvests, high taxes, and
unfair treatment of the Third Estate
Cause of the French Revolution:
IMPACT
1) Enlightenment Ideas: Members of
the Third Estate were inspired by the
American Revolution and enlightened
ideas about equality, liberty, and
democracy.
2) Economic Troubles: The heavy
burden of taxes on the Third Estate
was becoming too much to bear. While
the First Estate (aristocrats) paid none,
and the Second Estate (clergy) paid
little, the Third Estate had to pay all of
France’s taxes. When France got into
trouble economically due to the
spending of King Louis XVI and Marie
Antoinette as well as the cost of
supporting the American Revolution,
IMPACT
the Third Estate was forced to pay
even more in taxes.
3) A weak leader – Louis XVI: Louis did
nothing to fix France’s economic
problems. Instead, he ignored his
advisors and listened to bad advice
from his wife. He ignored the money
problems until it was too late, and then HOME
when he suggested the nobility pay
taxes, he was turned away.
Reign of Terror
After the Third Estate was victorious, they
set out to establish a society based on equality. Their Declaration of
the Rights of Man was similar to the Declaration of Independence.
It would not last as a terrorist group known as the Jacobins, and led
by Maximillien Robespierre, took power and a reign of terror soon
began.
1) The church’s land was taken away and sold. The church became
part of the state. This turned many peasants against the rulers
2) The former aristocracy was imprisoned or beheaded with the
guillotine being the weapon of choice. As many as 40,000 were
executed, with 85% of them being peasants. The reign of terror
went after anyone considered an enemy of the state
3) King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded after the
role of the monarchy was weakened and finally dissolved.
4) After Robespierre’s execution, the French turned to a new leader
Napoleon gains power
BACK TO
World War I
Russian Revolution
As a result of a strict autocratic czarist
rule, troops firing on protesting citizens
(Bloody Sunday), the failures of Russia
during the Russo-Japanese War, and
World War I, the Russian people finally
had had enough. Vladimir Lenin took a
train out of Germany where he was exiled IMPACT
and helped Russia overthrow the
provisional government that replaced
Czar Nicholas’ rule. Lenin was able to
gain the support of the peasants by
offering them three things that they
lacked…”Land, Peace, Bread”.
After the provisional government
replaced the Czar, there was hope that
Russia would withdraw from World War I.
When this didn’t happen, Russia was
ripe for a civil war. Vladimir Lenin saw
this as his opportunity and he and his
Bolsheviks overthrew the
new provisional government and
replaced it with a type of government
based on the writings of Freidrich Engels
and Karl Marx known as Communism.
Communist Government
Lenin’s first act as a Communist
leader was to restore order in Russia. He initially put aside his plans
for a state-controlled economy. Instead he installed a small-scale
version of capitalism called the New Economic Plan (NEP).
1) The NEP allowed peasants to sell their surplus crops instead of
turning them over to the government.
2) Some aspects of Communism were evident however as the new
government did control major industries, banks, and communication.
3) Small factories, businesses, and farms were allowed to operate under
private ownership. Industry would soon reach pre WWI production
4) The government also encouraged foreign investment
5) Russia was changed to the USSR in 1922 and the Bolsheviks
renamed themselves the Communist Party. Lenin had established a
dictatorship of the Communist Party, not a dictatorship of the
proletariat as Marx had promised
Rule of Josef Stalin
IMPACT
Hyperlink to Josef Stalin
HOME
Printing Press
Invented by Johann Gutenberg, the
printing press made it easier, cheaper,
and faster to print books. With books
readily available, people slowly began to
read. The first book to be published was
the Gutenberg Bible. Once this was
published, no longer was reading and
interpreting the Bible restricted to church
officials, priests, and monks. Now
ordinary people were able to read and
interpret the Bible. Once they began to
interpret the Bible, they began to
question the powerful church. Once they
questioned the church, the church
began to lose power. The first to
question the church was Martin Luther.
His questioning of the church led to the
Protestant Reformation.
Another impact of the Gutenberg
printing press was the Age of Exploration.
With people reading about far away
places, their imagination took over. They
no longer were content with merely
reading, now they wanted to explore. A
questioning and adventurous spirit arose.
This would turn into the Age of
Exploration. Sailors would head off to
far away unknown places to see what
was really out there. The Age of
Exploration would soon lead to European
imperialism in the Americas as well as
global trade
Age of Exploration
IMPACT
hyperlink to Age of Exploration
Reformation
IMPACT
hyperlink to Reformation
HOME
Enlightenment
The period between 1300 and 1600 was
a time of great change in Europe. The
Renaissance, a rebirth of learning and
the arts, inspired a spirit of curiosity in
many fields. Scholars began to question
ideas that had been accepted for
hundreds of years. Meanwhile, the
religious movement known as the
Reformation prompted followers to
challenge accepted ways of thinking
about God. While the Reformation was
taking place, another revolution in
European thought had begun, one that
would permanently changed how people
viewed the physical world. Astronomers
such as Galileo began to question the
church’s view of the world. A new
scientific method took place, with
scholars testing out ideas and drawing
conclusions based on observation.
Enlightenment ideas would soon spread
from views of science to views on
government. Thomas Hobbes, John
Locke, Baron de Montesquieu, and Jean
Jacques Rousseau would soon present
ideas that would change the face of
government the world over.
Scientific Method The basis for the Scientific Revolution was the Scientific
IMPACT
Method. The scientific method uses observation and experimentation to explain theories on
the workings of the universe. This process removed blind adherence to tradition from
science, and allowed scientists to logically find answers through the use of reason. This
method of research is the basis for modern science. Copernicus: Nicolaus Copernicus
developed the heliocentric model of the universe. This states that the sun is the center, and
that the earth revolves around it. Despite his calculations, many scholars disagree with his
theories and continue to believe in the geocentric model proposed by the ancient Greek
Ptolemy 1500 years earlier. Galileo: Galileo continues Copernicus' work by observing the
skies with a homemade telescope. Although he was able to prove Copernicus correct, his
work was rejected by the Church and he was forced to recant (take back) or face execution.
Newton: Isaac Newton built upon the earlier work of Copernicus and Galileo and used
mathematics to describe gravity as the force that keeps planets revolving around the sun. He
also explained that this same force is what causes objects to fall to earth.
Effects The Scientific Revolution had far reaching effects. Besides changing the way people
thought about the universe, the use of the Scientific Method resulted in discoveries in
medicine, physics, and biology.
The American and French Revolution:
IMPACT
The Enlightened thinkers such as Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau
encouraged the Americans to challenge the British for independence.
The belief that all men are created equal and that government should be
made by the people and for the people inspired the Americans into the
Revolutionary War. After seeing the Americans success against the
British, the French Third Estate were encouraged to overthrow the
repressive French Monarchy.
hyperlink to French Revolution
HOME
BACK TO
European
Renaissance
BACK TO
printing
press
Age of Exploration
By the early 1400s, Europeans were
ready to venture beyond their borders.
The Renaissance encouraged, among
other things, a new spirit of adventure
and curiosity. This spirit of adventure,
along with several other important
reasons, prompted Europeans to explore
the world around them. The desire for
new wealth was the main reason for
European exploration. The Muslims had
controlled the Mediterranean trade route
and only allowed the Italians access to
trade. A shorter trade route was needed
to get to India and the rest of Asia from
Europe. Leaders of Spain and Portugal
wanted to gain power through trade, and
access to India was vital. Columbus
convinced Ferdinand and Isabella to
sponsor a voyage westward to India.
Instead of sailing to India, Columbus
discovered a new land, the Americas.
Changes would soon take place as the
Spanish would colonize the Americas.
European countries would soon
become world powers and a new
economic system known as
mercantilism would result. Colonies
would be used to supply materials and
markets to the mother country.
European Imperialism in the Americas Italian
IMPACT
explorer Christopher Columbus convinces Spain to be the benefactor of
sailing to the west to reach the East Indies. Columbus ends up in the
Americas and Spain begins colonization (Gold, God, and Glory).
Spanish Conquistadors soon begin their conquest of the Americas.
Hernando Cortes conquers the Aztecs of Mexico in search of gold and
silver. Francisco Pizarro conquered the Incans in the Andes mountains.
As Spain colonizes the Americas, the encomienda system is put in
place, guaranteeing Spain a source of labor. The native people of the
Americas were put in lower classes and mistreated while other slaves in
the Caribbean were even less fortunate and put into slavery. Diseases
and forced labor soon take their toll as Native populations dwindle to
almost nothing.
Portugal also gets into the Americas by claiming Brazil.
Global Trade and Mercantilism After the native
IMPACT
HOME
American population was wiped out, the Spanish began exporting slaves
from Africa to work the land. Some 9.6 million Africans were imported to
the Americas. England would soon become the major importer of slaves
into the Americas. The Triangular Trade route would soon come into
existence as manufactured goods were sent to Africa, African slaves
were sent to the Americas, and sugar, coffee, and tobacco were shipped
to Europe. The slaves had a hard life in the Americas, however they
would strain to keep their African culture.
The Columbian Exchange would also play a big role in European trade
as the transfer of food, plants, and animals would take place between
the Americas and Europe. The entire world would get caught up in trade
and capitalism in what is today called global trade.
Fall of the Roman Empire
In the third century A.D., Rome faced
many problems. They came from both
within the empire and from the outside.
1) Weakened economy: Hostile tribes
from outside the empire and pirates on
the Mediterranean Sea disrupted trade.
IMPACT
With new sources of gold and silver
lacking, the government raised taxes.
Rome minted coins with less gold and
silver, thereby bringing down the value.
Overworked soil had lost it’s ability to
produce crops, and harvests became
meager. Wars had also disrupted lots
of farmland. Soon, food shortages
and disease spread, and population
fell.
2) Military and political turmoil: Rome
began to recruit outside sources for
their military as Roman soldiers
became less loyal to Rome and more
loyal to their commanders. Citizens
also became more indifferent to the
IMPACT
empire’s fate. People felt serving in
government was now a burden instead
of a privilege.
3) Threat from the north: As with China,
nomadic warriors threatened the
empire. Germanic tribes such as the
Huns, Vandals, Visigoths, and
Ostrogoths would soon bring down the HOME
empire.
Feudalism
hyperlink to Feudalism
Byzantine Empire The Empire of Byzantium was the eastern portion of the
Roman Empire, which was divided in 395 A.D. Its capital of Constantinople, located on a
peninsula, was naturally secure from invasion on three sides, and its fourth side was fortified
with a network of three walls that withstood direct attack for over a thousand years. Its stable
economy provided a strong military and, together with an abundant food supply and
advanced civil engineering, a high standard of living. Christianity was firmly entrenched in
Byzantium, and literacy was more widespread there than in any other nation in the middle
ages. Nevertheless, Byzantium remained the most stable nation of the middle ages. Its central
location between western Europe and Asia not only enriched its economy and its culture but
allowed it to serve as a barrier against aggressive barbarians from both areas. Its rich
tradition (strongly influenced by the church) preserved ancient knowledge upon which
splendid art, architecture, literature and technological achievements were built. It is not an
altogether unfounded assumption that the Renaissance could not have flourished were it not
for the groundwork laid in Byzantium.
BACK TO
RUSSIAN
REVOLUTION
Stalin’s Russia (873-879)
After Lenin suffered a stroke in 1922,
Stalin made the move to gain the top
position in the Communist Party. Stalin
was cold, hard, and impersonal. During
his early days in the Bolsheviks, he
changed his name to Stalin, which means
IMPACT
“Man of Steel”. By 1928, Stalin was in
total control of the Communist Party,
wrestling power away from Leon Trotsky,
who Stalin would later order killed.
Stalin would become a totalitarian
ruler, taking control of every aspect of
public and private life. Stalin would build
a totalitarian state in Russia, using secret
police and controlling all of the media.
Anyone threatening his power would be
eliminated.
Stalin would have total control of the
USSR economically, politically, and
socially.
IMPACT
HOME
Economic Control As Stalin gained control of society, he was
setting plans in motion to overhaul the economy. He announced “We
are a good fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We
must make good this distance in ten years”.
1) In 1928 Stalin called for a command economy, a system in which
the government makes all economic decisions.
2) An industrial revolution. Stalin outlined the first of several Five-Year
plans for the development of the Soviet Union economy. Impossibly
high quotas were set for the production of steel, coal, oil, and
electricity. To reach these goals, consumer goods were limited. As a
result, consumers faced shortages of housing, food, and clothing.
3) Agricultural Revolution. In 1928, the government seized over 25
million privately owned farms and combined them into large collective
farms. When the Ukrainian Kulaks resisted, Stalin ordered peasants
onto the farms or forced a famine. Between 5-10 million would die.
Stalin’s totalitarian rule revolutionized Soviet
society. The change in people’s lives came at great cost as people lost
their freedoms, dissent was prohibited, and goods were scarce.
1) Men and Women were declared equals. Under Stalin, women had no
choice but to join the labor force. The state provided care for their
children, which the state used as a means to educate the children. By
1950, women made up 75% of Soviet doctors. They were also
scientists, electricians, and construction workers.
2) Government controlled all education and were taught the virtues of
the Communist Party. Anyone who questioned the Communist Party
risked losing their jobs or faced imprisonment.
3) Religious teachings were replaced with the ideals of communism.
Propaganda was used to attack religion. The Russian Orthodox
Church was the main target of persecution. The police destroyed
churches and many religious leaders were killed or sent to prison.
Social Control
European Renaissance
The movement that started in Italy
caused an explosion of creativity in art,
writing, and thought that lasted
approximately 1300-1600. Historians
call this period the Renaissance, which
means rebirth. A revival in art and
learning as well as a desire to bring back
Greek and Roman culture led to a new
age. The Crusades showed the Christian
world the wealth of Asian goods and
Italy, being on the Mediterranean, was
the first to take advantage. A competition
between the European countries would
soon take place in an attempt to gain
wealth. Countries such as Spain and
Portugal followed by France and England
would explore the unknown with the
same sense of adventure found during
the Renaissance. The questioning spirit
of the renaissance would also lead to
the Protestant Reformation as people
would begin to question the Catholic
Church and their practices.
Age of Exploration
IMPACT
hyperlink to Age of Exploration
Protestant Reformation
IMPACT
hyperlink to Reformation
HOME
Golden Age of Greece (Democracy)
The Greeks were the first to use democracy
as a form of government. Under Pericles,
male citizens in Athens participated in the
daily running of government. This form of
direct democracy excluded all non-citizens
such as slaves and women. These
achievements were mainly confined to the
city-state of Athens, where a strong
economy and good government created the
conditions necessary for such advancements.
Political To strengthen democracy, Pericles increased the number of
IMPACT
Democracy was developed between 461 and
429 B.C.
public officials who were paid salaries. Earlier in Athens, most positions in
public office were unpaid. Thus, only the wealthier Athenian citizens could
afford to hold public office. Now even the poorest citizen could serve if
elected or chosen by lot. Consequently, Athens had more citizens engaged in
self-government than any other city-state in Greece. This reform made
Athens one of the most democratic governments in history. The introduction
of direct democracy, a form of government in which citizens rule directly and
not through elected representatives, was an important legacy in Periclean
Athens. Few other city-states practiced this type of government. In Athens,
male citizens who serve din the assembly established all of the important
government policies that affected the polis (city-state).
Many countries today still enjoy a form of
democracy, most notably the United States.
While Draco, King Solon, and Cleisthenes
introduced forms of democracy, Greece
would reach its Golden Age under the rule of
Pericles. Pericles had three goals:
1) to strengthen Athenian Democracy
2) to hold and strengthen the empire
3) to glorify Athens
Social The Golden Age of Greece was also a time of great art and
IMPACT
HOME
architecture. Pericles’ goal was to have the greatest Greek artists and
architects create magnificent sculptures and buildings to glorify Athens. At
the center of his plan was one of architecture’s noblest works – the Parthenon.
A masterpiece of design and craftsmanship was based on architecture that had
been used to create Greek temples 200 years earlier. Phidias sculpted most of
the work in the parthenon, including a 30 foot statue of the Greek goddess
Athena. Phidias and other sculptors during this golden age aimed to create
figures that were graceful, strong, and perfectly formed. Their values of
harmony, order, balance, and proportion became the standard of what is
known as classical art. The Greeks also invented drama and built the first
theaters in the west. Theater productions were both an expression of civic
pride and a tribute to the gods. Tragedy and comedy were the best known
types of dramas. Plays based on wars and poking fun at politicians showed
the freedom and openness that existed in Athens.
Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabeth inherited a tattered realm:
dissension between Catholics and
Protestants tore at the very foundation of
society; the royal treasury had been bled
dry by Mary and her advisors, Mary's loss
of Calais left England with no continental
possessions for the first time since the
arrival of the Normans in 1066 and many
(mainly Catholics) doubted Elizabeth's
claim to the throne. Continental affairs
added to the problems - France had a
strong foothold in Scotland, and Spain, the
strongest western nation at the time, posed
a threat to the security of the realm.
Elizabeth proved most calm and
calculating (even though she had a
horrendous temper) in her political
acumen, employing capable and
distinguished men to carrying out her royal
wishes.
Political: Her first order of business was to eliminate religious unrest.
IMPACT
Elizabeth lacked the fanaticism of her siblings, Edward VI favored Protestant
radicalism, Mary I, conservative Catholicism, which enabled her to devise a
compromise where she would be tolerant of religions. She was, however,
compelled to take a stronger Protestant stance for two reasons: the workings of
Mary Queen of Scots and persecution of continental Protestants by the two
strongholds of Orthodox Catholicism, Spain and France. The situation with
Mary Queen of Scots was most vexing to Elizabeth. Mary, in Elizabeth's
custody beginning in 1568 (for her own protection from radical Protestants and
disgruntled Scots), gained the loyalty of Catholic factions and instituted severalfailed assassination/overthrow plots against her cousin, Elizabeth. After
irrefutable evidence of Mary's involvement in such plots came to light,
Elizabeth sadly succumbed to the pressure from her advisors and had the
Scottish princess executed in 1587.
Social: Elizabeth's reign was during one of the more constructive periods in
IMPACT
HOME
English history. Literature bloomed through the works of Spenser, Marlowe
and Shakespeare. Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh were instrumental in
expanding English influence in the New World. Elizabeth's religious
compromise laid many fears to rest. Fashion and education came to the fore
because of Elizabeth's penchant for knowledge, courtly behavior and
extravagant dress. Good Queen Bess, as she came to called, maintained a regal
air until the day she died; a quote, from a letter by Paul Hentzen, reveals the
aging queen's regal nature: "Next came the Queen in the sixty-fifth year of her
age, as we were told, very majestic; her face oblong, fair, but wrinkled; her
eyes small yet black and pleasant; her nose a little hooked; her lips narrow...
she had in her ear two pearls, with very rich drops... her air was stately; her
manner of speaking mild and obliging." This regal figure surely had her faults,
but the last Tudor excelled at rising to challenges and emerging victorious.
River Valley Civilizations
After the Neolithic Revolution, man began to
settle. The fertile soil from the rivers supplied
them with a place to grow crops. The rivers
could also be used to transport goods.
Early civilizations would begin in the river
valleys of China, Mesopotamia, Indus, and
Egypt.
IMPACT
Once man began to settle and civilizations
began to develop, laws and religion was
needed to keep society in order.
Social -
The early river people depended greatly on the annual rainfall and
the fertile soil of the rivers to sustain life. A poor rain season would result in
crop failures. Too much rain would result in disastrous flooding. Man turned to
appeasing the gods to guarantee them a good harvest.
The Sumerians of Mesopotamia believed that many gods controlled the
various forces of nature. Enlil, the god of storms and air was the most powerful
god. Sumerians feared him as “the raging flood that has no rival.” Humans were
nothing but servants to the gods and at any time, the mighty anger of the gods
might strike, sending a fire, a flood, or an enemy to destroy the city. To keep the
gods happy, the Sumerians built impressive ziggurats for them and offered rich
sacrifices of animals, food, and wine. Sumerians were also credited with
inventing the wheel, the sail, and the plow. They were also the first to use
bronze. They also invented a number system still in use today using the number
60 (60 seconds, 360 degrees etc.). With this knowledge, they were able to
design arches, pyramids, and columns. They also invented cuneiform (writing)
Government – In order to distribute and keep control over food supply in
times of crisis, governments were formed. The most famous of these was the
Code of Hammurabi which gave consistent laws throughout the Babylonian
empire.
IMPACT
hyperlink to Code of Hammurabi
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Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, was in direct opposition to
the democratic principles of Jiang Jieshi
and the Kuomintang. Mao was a Marxist
who followed the principles of
communism, as opposed to
capitalism. Mao won the favor of the
Chinese people during the Communist
Revolution against Jieshi. Mao's Long
March was an event in which 100,000
communists walked nearly 6,000 miles
while under constant fire from the
Kuomintang. It became Mao's symbol of
perseverance and helped him rise to power
after the Japanese invasion of China during
the Second World War was finally
halted. After defeating Jieshi, Mao
assumed power in 1949 as the communist
leader of the People's Republic of China.
Social
IMPACT
Mao Zedong, upon establishing the communist People's Republic of China, set out to
transform his country into a modern state. Politics and economics were state controlled in
what is referred to as the Great Leap Forward. Mao also attempted to control the very
minds of the people. Beginning with the education of school children, communist thinking
was indoctrinated. Mao's Little Red Book was required reading and any former members
of the intelligentsia, the educated class, were forced into schools that re-trained their minds to
fit Mao's vision. Confucianism and Taoism, the traditional religions of China, were
banned. However, women did receive more equality as traditional Chinese culture was
suppressed. Any opposition to Mao's authority was quickly and harshly put down.
In the late 1950's into the 60's, Mao's opponents, despite the consequences, began demanding
changes in Mao's policies. Mao responded by unleashing the Red Guard, a mob of students
who attacked and brutalized any who spoke out against Mao. This period was known as the
Cultural Revolution. The ensuing chaos brought China to a grinding halt in terms of
industrial production. Finally, a harsh military-enforced crack-down ended the Cultural
Revolution by the late 1960's.
Economic
Agrarian Reform law
IMPACT
Five Year Plans
Great Leap Forward
HOME
Hinduism (caste system)
Background
Hinduism is a polytheistic religion that
was formed from a variety of
different religious practices.
Basics
Established-Elements of the Hindu
religion can be traced back to the
ancient Indus River Valley civilization
(approximately 3000 BCE) in modernday Pakistan.
Founder-It has been theorized that
Hinduism is a result of cultural
diffusion that occurred between Aryan
invaders and the native peoples of India
sometime around 1500 BCE.
Geographic Origin-Developed on the
Indian subcontinent.
Currently Practiced-Most common in
India.
Significant Writings-Vedas,
Upanishads, Ramayana,
Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita.
Significant Religious People-Hindu
priests carry out traditional religious
practices in temples
Caste System: A strict social structure
where caste members cannot move
between castes. Those removed from
the caste are referred to as
untouchables. The only way to move to
a higher caste is to live a good life and
be reincarnated into a higher caste.
Social: Hindu ideas about karma and reincarnation strengthened the
IMPACT
caste system. If a person was born as an upper-caste male – a
Brahmin, warrior, or merchant – his good fortune was said to have
some from good karma earned in a previous life. However a person
born as a female, a laborer, or an untouchable might be getting the
results of bad deeds from a former life. Together, the beliefs of
Hinduism and the caste structure dominated every aspect of a person’s
life. These beliefs determined what one could eat and the way in which
one ate it, personal cleanliness, the people one could associate with,
how one dressed, and so on. Today, even in the most ordinary activities
of daily life, Hindus turn to their religion for guidance.
Political: Hinduism has also led to political turmoil in India, most
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notably with the Muslim population. After Mohandas Gandhi led India
to independence from the British, religious problems surfaced. The
Muslim population, not wanting to be under Hindu rule, demanded a
separate homeland. After British independence, India was partitioned
into East Pakistan, West Pakistan, and India. Muslims attempting to
reach the “correct” nation and Hindus attempting to get to India from
Pakistan crossed paths causing great violence. Over 1,00,000 were
killed as a result of the fighting that took place between the Hindus and
Muslims as they attempted to reach their lands. Even today, relations
are somewhat tenuous between India and Pakistan as both sides have
established nuclear weapons and have threatened to use them. The
area of Kashmir, in Northern India is still in conflict as the majority of
the population is Muslim while the land itself resides within India’s
borders.
Israel
The Zionist movement, started in the late
1800s by Theodor Herzl, became a reality in
1948 as the Jewish state was born. After the
Holocaust, The United Nations partitioned
Palestine, giving half of Palestine for a
Jewish state called Israel. The day that Israel
declared itself a state, trouble arose with all
of Israel’s neighbors, led by Egypt, attacking
the newfound nation.
Diaspora: global dispersal of Jews
Zionists: people who favor a Jewish homeland
Constant fighting takes place in this area as
Israel is surrounded by Arab neighbors
Main export is diamonds along with fruits,
vegetables, and high-tech equipment
Israel is 80.1% Jewish; 14.6% Muslim; and
2.1% Christian
The official language is Hebrew. English and
Arabic are spoken as well
Israel’s government is a Parliamentary
Democracy
Past Prime Ministers include David Ben
Gurion; Golda Meir; and Menachem Begin
Social – Migration: The land called Palestine now consists of Israel,
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the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. To Jews, their claim to the land goes back
3,000 years, when Jewish kings ruled the land from Jerusalem. To Palestinians,
the land has belonged to them since the Jews were driven out around 135 A.D.
After being forced out, the Jewish people were not able to establish a Jewish
state and were forced to live throughout the countries of the world. The global
dispersal of Jewish people is known as the Diaspora. In 1917, with Britain in
control of the region after the defeat of the Ottoman Turks, Alfred Balfour
recommended that Palestine be given to the Jews for a homeland. The Jewish
presence would grow larger in this region. At the end of World War II, in the
wake of the war and the holocaust, the UN decided that a Jewish state should
exist and Israel was born. Since 1945 over 5 million Jews have migrated to
Israel. The main migration occurred immediately after WWII and after the fall
of the Soviet Union in 1989. The Jewish people move out of countries where
they face discrimination.
Political – conflict: As soon as Israel declared independence, it was
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attacked by six Arab neighbors (Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia,
and Syria). The first of many Arab-Israel wars, this one ended in six months
with Israel victorious. The Suez Crisis in 1956 occurred in 1956. Egypt
attempted to nationalize the Suez canal, against the will of the British. England
would get Israel’s support in attacking Egypt, and Egypt would emerge
victorious. The US would step in and demand the withdrawal of British,
French, and Israel troops. In 1967, the Six-Day war would occur, causing
Israel to lose 800 troops to the Arabs 15,000. Israel conquers Golan Heights,
Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. 600,000 Palestinians become
refugees. The Arab attacked again on the holiest of Jewish holidays, Yom
Kippur. Peace would be declared with no territorial changes. In 1978, peace
would finally occur between Egypt and Israel as Anwar Sadat and Menachem
Begin sign the Camp David Accord. Egypt recognized Israel and Israel returns
land to Egypt. Later attempts at peace in the Middle East would prove elusive.
During the Middle Ages, Europeans had
only one significant unifying aspect of
life. The Catholic Church permeated
every aspect of society. Waging war with
another feudal lord was often viewed as an
economic venture where loyalties were
easily broken if the price was
right. Battling for the Church was an
entirely different thing, animosities and
rivalries were forgotten if the Church
needed defending. For about 200 years,
Western Europe under the sway of the
Catholic Church, attempted to retake the
Holy Land away from the Muslims. The
largest target was the holy city of
Jerusalem, however, other areas were
fought over, such as the city of
Constantinople. Jerusalem remains a
religiously significant and contested site
today with Islam, Judaism, and
Christianity all having a vested
interest. The Christians were never able to
effectively take, and then maintain control,
however, many changes occurred as a
result of the Crusades.
The majority of feudal lords were killed,
which allowed the few remaining to gain
more power, eventually resulting in the
rise of nation-states and absolute
monarchs. Also, cultural diffusion
occurred between the Arab and European
worlds. New ideas and trade goods flowed
between the two areas which eventually
brought Europe to the forefront of world
affairs.
Crusades
The power structure would change in Western Europe as a result of the
Crusades. During the Middle Ages, lords and the church, specifically the
Pope held all the power. Kings had no control over the decentralized
governments that resulted from the fall of the Roman Empire.
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The power of the Pope and the Catholic Church was greatly diminished. The
people of Western Europe were upset that the Pope sent them on the
Crusades. It was originally thought that the Crusades wee being done for the
benefit of God. Instead, they were being done to increase the power of the
Pope who would rule over the East and West if the Crusades were a success.
The lords also lost their power, their fortunes, and their lives. The lords spent
their fortunes on the Crusade, and would return void of their wealth. Many
also lost their lives. With no lords to control the manors and with the peasants
having experienced and outside world, feudalism and Manorialism would end
up falling, bringing and end to the Dark Ages.
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“The Most Successful Failure in History” A major result of the Crusades, was
an increase in trade. European interest in goods from the east was
stimulated by returning Crusaders who brought back many things. As the
Crusades ended, ships that were once used to carry soldiers to the Middle
East, now carried trade goods. Merchants from rich Italian city states, such
as Venice and Florence, dominated this trade. Goods from the Middle East
would arrive in Venice, before following newly established trade routes to the
rest of Europe. Along these new trade routes, trade fairs were established in
towns with larger populations, or at major crossroads. Over time, merchants
and craftsman settled in these towns, and some grew to be cities of several
thousand people. This fundamentally altered the way people lived in Europe,
and marked the beginning of the end of feudalism as serfs began to pay their
feudal obligations with cash instead of service. The Renaissance would now
emerge in Europe, starting in Italy.
Hyperlink to the Renaissance
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Renaissance
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Protestant Reformation
By the tenth century, the Roman Catholic
Church had come to dominate life in
Northern and Eastern Europe. It had not,
however, won universal approval. People
began to criticize the policies of the church
and felt church leaders were too interested
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in worldly possessions and pursuits. The
Renaissance led to an emphasis on the secular
and the individual to challenge church
authority. Rulers also began to challenge the
church’s political power and merchants
resented paying church taxes.
Finally, in 1517, Martin Luther, a German
monk posted his 95 theses or formal
statements attacking the church. These
protests were posted on a church door at
Wittenberg Germany, and would usher in the
Protestant Reformation.
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Religious / Social Despite religious wars and persecutions,
Protestant churches flourished and new denominations developed. Both
Catholics and Protestants gave more emphasis to the role of education in
promoting their beliefs. This led to the founding of parish schools and new
colleges and universities throughout Europe.
Some women reformers hoped to see the status of women in the church and
society improve but it still remained much the same. Women were limited to
the concerns of home and the family.
The split between Catholicism and Protestantism also led to effected
countries such as England. After Henry VIII was not given permission by the
Pope to divorce Catherine of Aragon, who could not provide him with a male
heir to the throne, he removed the Catholic Church from England and
replaced it with the Anglican religion. Religious rivalries would go on in
England for the next century.
Political As the Catholic Church’s moral and political authority declined,
individual monarchs and states gained power. This led to the development of
the modern nation states. In the 1600s, rulers of nation-states would seek
more power for themselves and their countries through warfare, exploration,
and expansion.
The Reformation’s questioning authority of beliefs and authenticity also
laid the groundwork for the Enlightenment, which would sweep Europe and
led some to reject all religions and others to call for the overthrow of existing
governments.
World War I
Throughout the 20th century, extreme
nationalism spread throughout the countries
of Europe, causing intense competition among
nations. A rise of nationalism caused a fierce
rivalry between Germany, Austria-Hungary,
Great Britain, France, Italy, and Russia called
World War I (WWI). Other factors leading to IMPACT
World War I were imperialism and militarism.
One side of the war were the Central Powers
of Germany and Austria –Hungary along
with the Ottoman Empire. The Allied side
featured Great Britain, France, and Russia with
the United States getting involved near the end
of the war. There are several impacts that
WWI had on the countries.
hyperlink to Treaty of Versailles
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World War I
Treaty of Versailles
At the completion of World War I, England
and France were in a mood for revenge.
World War I was over. The killing had
stopped, however the terms for peace still had
to be worked out. On January 18, 1919, a
conference to establish these terms began at
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the Palace of Versailles, outside Paris. For
one year, 32 countries would vigorously
debate.
France and England would have the final say
on the terms of the treaty. Woodrow Wilson
would represent the United States, Georges
Clemenceau of France, and Lloyd George of
England. Wilson’s hopes for
self-determination, an end to secret alliances,
and reduced militaries was defeated.
The main goal of the treaty was to punish
Germany.
The provisions of the Treaty of Versailles were strict punishment for Germany.
1) League of Nations: This was the only of Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points to be
accepted. It set up an international peace organization. Enemy nations and
neutral nations were initially excluded however. (Germany, Russia)
2) Territorial losses: Germany returns Alsace Lorraine to the French; French
border extended to the west bank of the Rhine River
3) Military Restrictions: Limits set on the size of the German army; Germany
prohibited from importing or manufacturing weapons or war material;
Germany forbidden to build or buy submarines or airplanes.
4) War Guilt: Sole responsibility for the war placed on Germany’s shoulders;
Germany forced to pay the allies $33 billion in war reparations over 30 years
Germany would sink into an economic depression as a result of their inability to
repay the war reparations, especially after the United States depression cut off
American aid to Germany.
As a result of the punishment of Germany, a person such as Adolf Hitler was
able to gain power. With the promise to bring Germany back to its former glory
and have revenge on the Treaty of Versailles, the German people were
convinced that Hitler was worthy of their vote. Hitler would begin a campaign
of conquering Europe, bringing about World War II.
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hyperlink to World War II
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Industrial Revolution
In 1750, most people in Europe lived on
small farms and produced most of their
needs by hand. A century later, many people
lived in cities and most of their needs were
produced by complex machines using
steam power. The Industrial Revolution
began in Great Britain and spread to
Belgium, France, Germany, the United
States and Japan. It was a fundamental
change in the way goods were produced,
and altered the way people lived.
Capitalism and the Market Economy: Capitalism and Market Economies are based on
trade and capital, which is money for investment. Higher demand for a product means
higher prices and higher profits for traders and merchants. Lower demand means lower
prices and lower profits. The British, with their vast overseas empire, had the capital
necessary to invest in the building of railroads, factories, and mines.
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The Factory System and Mass Production: The use of the Factory System allowed for
mass production of textiles and other goods. This shifted people from production at home
with the Put Out System, to production in large factories in cities. Mass production also
allowed for lower prices on the good produced.
Working Conditions: Factory workers worked very long hours, for little pay, under harsh
conditions. Workers included children as young as 8, both male and female. Many people
were injured or killed due to unsafe working conditions.
Big Business: As the Industrial Revolution grew, so did business. To meet the needs of this
growth, business owners sold shares of their companies to stockholders who would share the
profits and losses. The influx of capital allowed business to grow into corporations that had
dealing in many different areas.
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Urbanization and the Changing Society: People moved to towns and cities
to be closer to the factories. Conditions were very poor during the early part
of the Industrial Revolution, as factory workers lived in over crowded
buildings, with no sewage or sanitation services. This resulted in widespread
disease. New roles were defined for Middle Class men and women. MC
men went to work in business, while MC women worked from home and
cared for the family. The higher standard of living for the middle class meant
that their children received some form of formal education. Working Class
families faced many hardships due to poor living and working conditions, and
most WC children never received an education.
Silk Road
The Silk Road was a Central Asian trade
route used by Chinese, Indians, Muslim, and
other traders.
The Chinese made silk and soon became
known for it. Soon silk was in demand and
traders walked along routes known as Silk
Roads. This increased trade and more
products than just silk were traded.
Indians realized they could make profits
by being middlemen. They built stations near
oases along the Silk Road. They bought
Chinese goods and then sold them to traders
headed towards Rome.
Due to the number of different cultures and
peoples traveling and trading along the
Silk Road, an abundance of cultural
diffusion would take place.
Social Buddhism started in India, but because of the Silk Roads, it spread
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to China and then Korea. Eventually Buddhism would spread from Korea to
Japan, becoming the most widespread religion of Eastern Asia. The impact of
Buddhism is still felt in East Asia today.
The Silk Road also brought poets, philosophers, scientists to Paris. Most of
these were to come from Cordoba in the Muslim Empire. Many non-Muslims
adopted Muslim customs. Cordoba would become the center of Muslim
culture. In Cordoba, Damascus, Cairo, and Baghdad a cultural blending of
people fueled a period of achievements in the arts and sciences.
The Silk Road increased trade which led to a rise in banking in India.
Commerce was profitable. Many Indian merchants went to live abroad,
bringing culture with them. Many throughout Asia adopted Indian traditions,
especially those in art, dance, and architecture. This was especially strong in
Thailand, Cambodia, and Java. Hinduism also spread to Nepal, Sri Lanka,
and Bornea.
Economic Location on the Silk Road not only gave them benefits from
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an exchange in culture, they also were to gain financially. To encourage trade,
Muslim money changers set up banks and offered lines of credit (called sakks
and pronounced “checks”). You could exchange sakks in any other city in the
empire.
Bantu Migration
History: The Bantu originated in the north
western area that they now occupy. Their
migration throughout Africa is one of the
largest migrations in human history. This
migration began in about 1000 BC and
continued until the 3rd or 4th century AD.
There is continued speculation about why
they moved in the first place. One reason
may be that overpopulation encouraged
some groups to move away in order to
practice agriculture. Another could be that
they were in search of fertile land. Or, the
move may have been due to internal
conflicts within their communities or
external attacks by their neighbors.
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Location: The Bantu people make up about 2/3 of Africa's population, and
inhabit the southern half of the continent
Language: The Bantu are a group of people known more as a language group
than as a distinct ethnic group. They speak related languages and have similar
social characteristics. The Bantu are split into two major language families,
the Eastern Bantu and the Western Bantu. The most widely spoken Bantuderived language is Swahili, which is used by up to 50 million speakers on
the eastern coast of Africa. There are two ways in which Bantu languages are
different from English, Spanish, French, German, or other European
languages. One is that you can stick markers onto a verb to indicate who's
doing and receiving the action, so what would take a whole sentence in
English only takes a single word in Swahili. The other is all nouns are marked
as belonging to one of fifteen to twenty genders.
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The Bantu introduced many things into the areas they migrated to. They were
an agricultural people and introduced crops such as millet and sorghum. They
may also have introduced iron smelting and iron tools.
As the Bantu speakers spread south into hunter-gatherers’ lands, territorial wars
often broke out. The Bantus, with their advanced weaponry, usually emerged
victorious. The Bantu speakers exchanged ideas and intermarried with the
people they joined. This intermingling created new cultures with unique
customs and traditions. Along with agriculture and iron smelting, the Bantus
passed along ideas about social and political organization. Some of these ideas
still influence the political scene in eastern and southern Africa. Although the
Bantu migrations produced a great diversity of cultures, language had a unifying
influence on Africa.
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Mikhail Gorbachev
Born March 2, 1931, he was the leader of the
Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. His
attempts at reform helped to end the cold war
but also ended the political supremacy of the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The
Soviet Union would dissolve with his
resignation. He was awarded the Noble Peace IMPACT
prize in 1990. He was best known for his
negotiations with US President Ronald
Reagan in an attempt to reduce the military
build up of both countries.
His rule would end in 1991 after the
Communist hard-liners attempted to
overthrow him from power. Boris Yeltsin
would step up and bring down the coup
attempt. Yeltsin would soon gain the
Presidency of the Soviet Union and break it
apart for ever. The Soviet Union would
become a group of independent nations led
by Russia.
Social – In 1985 Gorbachev began to promote a policy of glasnost or
openness to the Soviet people. For the first time since the Communist
Revolution of 1917, people were able to discuss freely the problems that
plagued the Soviet Union. Glasnost brought about remarkable changes. The
government allowed churches to open. It released dissidents from prison and
allowed the publication of books by previously banned authors. Reporters
investigated problems and criticized officials.
Economic – The new openness of the Soviet Union allowed citizens to
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complain about economic problems. Consumers protested that they had to
stand in line to buy food and other basics. Gorbachev blamed these problems
on the Soviet Unions system of central planning. Under central planning,
party officials told farm and factory workers how much to produce. They also
told them what wages to pay and what prices to charge. Because individuals
could not increase their pay by producing more, they had little incentive to
produce more. In 1985, Gorbachev introduced the policy of perestroika or
restructuring of the economy. In 1986 he made changes to revive the Soviet
economy. Local managers gained greater authority over their farms and
factories, and people were allowed to open small private businesses.
Gorbachev’s goal was not to overthrow Communism, but rather move the
USSR away from the command economy they were under and into a more
free-market economy.
Neolithic Revolution
10,000 years ago, some women may have
scattered seeds near a regular campsite.
When they returned next season, they may
have found new crops growing. This
discovery would usher in the
Neolithic Revolution or the
agricultural revolution. The shift from food
gathering to food production would
change life for early humans forever.
Numerous changes would take place for
early humans as they would now become
farmers. Nomadic life would turn to
a life of settlers.
Agriculture Early groups practiced a slash and burn farming in which
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they cut trees or grasses and burned them to clear a field. The ashes that
remained fertilized the soil. Farmers planted crops for a year or two, then
moved to another area of land. After several years, trees and grasses grew
back, and other farmers repeated the process of slashing and burning.
At the same time, hunters’ expert knowledge of wild animals likely played a
key role in the domestication of animals. They tamed horses, dogs, goats,
and pigs. Like farming, domestication of animals came slowly. Stone Age
hunters would drive animals off of cliffs to be slaughtered. Humans now
would drive animals into man-made enclosures. From there, farmers could
keep animals as a constant source of food and gradually tame them.
Villages to Cities As former nomads began to settle, villages would
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soon emerge. These villages would crop up near important water sources
such as rivers. The first civilizations would soon develop into cities. People
settled in stable communities that were based on agriculture. The invention of
new tools such as hoes, sickles, and plow sticks made the task of farming
easier. As the population grew, social relationships became more
complicated. Elaborate irrigation systems were built, thereby producing a
surplus of crops. When this occurred, some were free to pursue other jobs
aside from farming. People now became specialized, such as craftsmen and
traders. Those with higher skilled jobs became wealthier and social classes
emerged. With soaring populations came the need for governments and laws.
Record keeping also became and important part of city life. A writing system
was soon developed in which traders could keep track of their transactions.
Seed Drill
The Seed Drill was invented in 1701 by
Jethro Tull. This invention allowed fields
to be plowed in straight lines, and seeds
to be planted at specific distances apart and at
specific depths in each one. This invention
would pave the way for the agricultural
revolution of the 1700s, in which inventions IMPACT
such as the cotton gin, and procedures such
as crop rotation and enclosures became
commonplace. Fewer farmers were required
to produce enough food to feed the entire
population.
Economic The invention of the seed drill greatly boosted agricultural
production and crop yields. Before this invention, seeds had simply been
sprinkled among the fields, leading many to die from failure to root. With the
seed drill, each seed was plowed carefully and as a result, more crops
flourished. With the extra crops, the population flourished and more workers
were produced, which led to a boom in industrial production in England. As a
result, England was very advanced and became a major force. With all of
their extra output of goods, they began to trade more, thus further increasing
their wealth.
Socially The seed drill decreased the number of farmers needed to sow
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crops drastically. As a result, more people turned to the cities to work in the
factories and textile mills. The Industrial Revolution began with a new wave
of workers, and inventions such as the flying shuttle and the spinning jenny
were produced. Factory workers were subject to low wages, long hours, and
dangerous and unsanitary working conditions. There was no hope of
returning to the farms however, as the seed drill had so diminished the
amount of farmers needed. The seed drill also led to a major population boom
in Europe, as with more food available, more mouths could be fed. The
population of Europe had finally exceeded the population of Europe before
the plague.
Louis XIV
Louis XIV was four years old when he
became King of France. Because of his young
age, the Cardinal Mazarin ruled until his
death. Louis was 22 when he would take
control of the government. As a result of
mistreatment by the nobles when he was of a
young age, Louis’ first act as King would be
to reduce the power of the nobles.
King Louis XIV was a vain person, who liked
to be called the “Sun King” as he believed
that everything revolved around him.
He was not only committed to complete
control, but he was also committed to the
arts and luxury.
Social -
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In his personal finances, Louis spent a fortune to surround
himself in luxury. For example, each meal was a feast. Nearly 500 cooks,
waiters, and other servants worked to satisfy his tastes.
Versailles was the center of the arts during Louis’ reign. Louis made opera
and ballet more popular, even dancing in a play entitled The Sun King. One of
his favorite writes was Moliere, who Louis protected after a play was written
that belittled religion. Not since Augustus of Rome had there been a European
monarch who supported the arts as much as King Louis XIV. Under him, the
chief goal of art was no longer to glorify God as it had been during the Middle
Ages. Nor was it to glorify humans as it was during the Renaissance period.
The goal of art now was to glorify the king and support Louis’ absolute rule.
Political -. Once Louis XIV took control, his first act was to reduce the
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power of the nobility and make himself an absolute ruler. He weakened the
power of the nobility by excluding them from his councils. Instead, the nobles
were assigned as servants to wait on Louis hand and foot. It was said that 100
nobles greeted Louis every morning and were there to assist him in getting
dressed. Having the nobles at the palace increased King Louis’ authority in
two ways…It made the nobility totally dependent on Louis. It also took them
from their homes, thereby giving more power to the intendants of France,
whose job it was to collect taxes and administer justice. To keep the
intendant’s power under control, Louis forced them to communicate with him
regularly.
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Global 10 Thematic Essays