Essay On The Five Most Significant Historical Events or Developments in Western Civilization that occurred through 1689
There are several historical events and developments that shaped the Western civilization on or before 1689. This paper shall discuss 5 significant events that are of specific importance and bear sufficient weight towards shaping past civilizations. First, I shall discuss the Renaissance period. This was a period of intellectual and further achievement that first started in Italy in the late Middle Ages before taking root in the rest of Europe. It emphasized on topics of humanism which was the most characteristic movement of the renaissance and had a central focus on human being as the center of intellectual and artistic effort (Pavlac, 23).
This period of renaissance was focused so much on educational and cultural programs based on the study of ancient Greek and Roman Literature. The Humanistic attitude towards antiquity differed from that of medieval scholars who tried to fit classical learning into a Christian world view. Renaissance humanists did not subordinate the classics to the requirements of Christian doctrines; rather, they valued ancient literature for its insights into human nature. A direct influence of the ancient classics, humanists expected to learn much that could not be provided by medieval writings. For instance, practices that emphasized how to live and progress successfully in this world and how an individual should perform civic duties were greatly emphasized (Perry et al. 19).
This era can be defined as the bridge to the modern world as it is the period in which science, politics, culture, religion, art and reformations came up and changed the society globally within a short time. Appreciation goes to philosophers, thinkers and religious leaders who had to form a new conception and shaped the world we are in today.
The next major development in Western civilization was the agricultural revolution. Surprisingly, agricultural activity was as old as the existence of man. Man, primarily a hunter and gatherer, has always practiced agriculture. However, the agricultural revolution was a transitory period to modern farming methods in order to provide a sufficient and stable food supply for the growing populace. This meant that people ceased from merely depending on foraged plants and other agricultural products but instead chose to plant, cultivate, nurture and finally harvest domestically grown plants. This transformation was most welcome and is thus sometimes popularly referred to as the “dawn of civilization” as it had a significant impact on the society. As stated in this era, major tools such as the plow, the wheel amongst other tools were invented.
Thirdly, the development of writing was a significant step during the onset of western civilization. What differentiates human species from other animals is the ability to read and write. The ability to communicate effortlessly and save information for future reference ensures that human beings are in an unattainable category in comparison to other living things. This free flow of information from one generation to another has ensured that knowledge learnt has been passed on easily to the modern era. Initially, Clay tablets were used as writing materials by ancient Greeks. However, the advent of paper and ink bore fruit to the modern day books and pens; a resource that is of vital importance in our modern world. Thanks to Western civilization, the spoken word can be preserved for generations to come (Stearns 74).
The French Revolution cannot be left out when discussing the Western civilization. This revolution was a radical social and political initiative that shaped the French society as well as the entire world. This Revolution took a new turn when the controller of general finance called on great noble men to propose reforms that were designed to eliminate the budget deficit by increasing taxes levied on the privileged classes. It is stated that the king granted the fourth estate freedom of the press and several pamphlets addressing reconstruction of the state were consequently published. The monarchy that ruled France for decades collapsed within a short period as French society underwent numerous changes or transformations as religious privileges were eroded due to assault from the left wing. Old ideas were overthrown by new principles. This revolution signified a new dawn of modernity whereby the status quo was under siege and had to give in to the modern day’s democratically run governments enjoyed across most nations.
Finally, this list would not be sufficient without mentioning the ancient Greece and Hellenistic civilizations which had a strong influence on the Roman Empire as well as the fact that they laid the basic fundamentals for our modern day education system. The Greeks were good in navigating the seas and spreading their ideas through colonization over sea routes. They essentially invented the basic scientific and technological disciplines that exist today. Their exploits are some of the most well documented and advanced today and hence represent one of the most important phases in our modern day world.
It is of essence to note that from the Italian Renaissance of fifteen century through the age of enlightenment of the eighteen century, the outlook and the institutions of Middle Ages disintegrated as different modern forms emerged (Perry et al 24). The radical change in European civilization affected every level of society. Socially, middle class people highly populated in towns increased in number and wealth as they began to play a more important role in economic and cultural life. Economically, commerce and industry expanded at a tremendous rate and capitalism replaced medieval forms of economic organizations. On culture, the clergy men lost their monopoly over learning and the other worldly orientation of the Middle Ages which paved the way to a secular outlook in literature and the arts. Politically, central government grew stronger at an expense of feudalism.
Education coupled with technological innovations and embracing the technology for example use of the internet should be the best measure to take to into account. There have been developments that have occurred in western civilization and as a result, it has changed the west which should be applauded by the rest of the world. The spread of the internet is the key development to western civilization which I suggest should have been done if these developments were to take place today. The internet has changed how we access and disseminate information to the public. Any information can be accessed on the internet at a click of a mouse. Accessing online information, communicating with people who are miles away, transacting business, online reading or online tutorials among others are facilitated by the use of internet. The internet has been amazing revolution for humanity as technology has increased ever since human species started to use the internet (Cengage 33).
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Pavlac, Brian Alexander. A Concise Survey of Western Civilization: Supremacies and Diversities throughout History. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2011. Print.
Perry, Marvin, and George W. Bock. Western Civilization: A Brief History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. Print.
Stearns, Peter N. World Civilizations: The Global Experience. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.
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