Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Opium Wars

The opium war was a battle between China and Britain that occurred from 1839 to 1842. The British opium trade in China started the world’s first drug war, in the 19th century. In the 15th century when opium was first introduced to China, it was used as medicine to treat diseases. It wasn't until the 16th century, when the British started mixing the opium with tobacco allowing the Chinese to smoke it and become addicted.

China was trading tea to Britain, however China was a self sufficient country and didn't want anything from Britain. Britain didn't want it to become a one sided trade so they decided to import opium drugs to China. As a result
a large amount of China's population weakened. When the Chinese government found out that opium was still being brought to China even after the restrictions were set, a letter was written to Queen Victoria. The letter stated that if the opium was so harmful in its effects that Britain had made opium trading and consumption illegal in England, then why was England exporting such harmful products to other countries. Queen Victoria never had the letter delivered to her.

Soon after Britain demanded that China put an end to the anti-opium campaign. But Lin refused to end it. In 1840, British gunboats arrived and attacked China, destroying many coastal cities. China was not prepared for this war because Britain had a technological advantage over them, such as weapons. China was eventually defeated by Great Britain, and was forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"The White Man's Burden"

"The White Man's Burden" is about imperialism, meaning the Europeans felt obligated to take over another country and adapt to western ways to better themselves. I don't agree with the analysis of the white man's burden because if the country doesn't want to change then they shouldn't have to. The Europeans are not helping by imposing their beliefs on someone else. I think that the U.S is still imperialistic today because the army is over in Iraq trying to civilize their government. Before the war Iraq was a dictatorship, but now after Saddam Hussein was captured and executed there is no ruler. The U.S thinks that they can calm people down and make Iraq a democracy. It's not going to happen unless everybody wants it to. I believe we are still living the "white man's burden" however other countries are stepping up to the plate and helping us out. We're not taking all of the responsibility for ourselves.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

"The Scramble for Africa"

The Scramble for Africa, which began in 1881 was about how European leaders divided up the African land amongst themselves. The African people didn't have any say about it at all. As a result Africa suffered from tribalism. The new African nations contain different tribes which causes tension, and civil wars among the people. Many European countries were involved with this scramble including Great Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, and Portugal. The Europeans wanted power and thought that owning more land than everyone else meant they had a lot of it. The Europeans knew that Africa was wealthy in natural resources that turned into manufactured goods and made a bundle of money. Great Britain gained an important port for the sea route to India in South Africa. France's main interest was trade in West Africa. Trading stations had been set up on the West African coasts to deal in slaves and be transported to the Americas. Europeans were able to dominate Africa easily because they had better weapons then them. Africa only had handmade spears, and sticks while the Europeans had guns and more sophisticated weapons.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Film Lesson: "Mountains of the Moon"

Some of the hardships the Europeans had to face exploring Africa was not having enough water or supplies, not being able to speak the native language of the people, and not having a map to guide them. The source of the nile river was named after the British Queen because two explorers (Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke) were searching for it for Europe and allegedly discovered it. The African people knew about the lake all before the Europeans did. The Europeans didn't care what the African people thought and named it anyway. It made no sense for a lake all the way in Africa to be named after a Queen in England. One of the advantages that the Europeans had over the Africans was the fact that they had weapons. The Africans had handmade spears and sticks but the Europeans had guns and knives. The Europeans had the upper hand because of their weapons even though the Africans might have outnumbered them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Meji Restoration of Japan

In 1853 four American warships under the command of Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Tokyo to request that Japan open up their ports for trade with the U.S. The Japanese leaders saw these large, sail less ships and were intimidated by them because they felt that if they didn't agree forceful actions would occur. So on March 31,1854 a treaty was signed between the United States and Japan that effectively opened two ports to the United States. Along with the warships, Perry brought a toy train. This really fascinated the Japanese because they never have seen technology like that before. Not everyone in Japan agreed with the treaty and it ultimately led to the downfall of the Tokugawa shogunate and the Meiji Restoration. However Emperor Meiji was restored to power and later set Japan on a path of modernization.
The Meiji Era
The Japanese experienced a lot of economic change during the Meiji era. Emperor Meji sent people to different countries to get ideas for their new government. Millions of people were free to choose their occupation without restrictions. The new government had more advances in technology and industrial work. Because of this, railways, shipping lines, and the telephone system were created. The government also introduced an education system that allowed everyone to attend public school.

Japan is an archipelago. An archipelago is a chain or group of islands surrounded by water. The Archipelago extends from north to south along the eastern coast of the Eurasian Continent. The archipelago consists of more than 3,000 islands, including the four Main Islands (Hokkaidō, Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Karl Marx and Communism

The idea of Communism is that everything is owned by the government so that there would be no arguing and fighting among the people. In communist governments people get paid the same amount of money. Karl Marxs' idea of communism is when everybody is treated equally, social classes don't exist, and everything is owned by the people. Marx felt that communism was the best type of government because all things would be shared and that would bring peace to everyone. Karl Marx felt that the bad guys were the bourgeoisie. They were the business owners that bossed everyone around. They were always looking for ways to earn more money and trying to get ahead. Marx saw the proletariat as the good guys. They were the working class. It seemed like they would never get ahead in the world because the bad guys wouldn't let them. The proletariat were getting taken advantage of.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Karl Marx and the Industrial Revolution

Karl Marx was best known as a 19th century revolutionary. His ideas were very influential and other countries through the years praticed them, however not in the same pure form Marx invented. Karl Marx felt that the Industrial Revolution allowed the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. The industrial revolution inspired Marx to invent communism because he thought the working class was doomed to forever work for low wages. He believed that since there were more workers than owners, the workers would eventually get fed up, start a revolution and take over. Marx did encourage the workers to start a revolution. Communism to Marx meant that everyone would make the same amount of money. Society would produce only what it needed. Everyone would be treated the same and there would be no social classes. Also there would be no private ownership, everything would be owned by the state or the government. This was known as the pure form of communism.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nationalism and The Creation of Italy

Nationalism is when a group of people who share a common culture(language) and history are proud and are willing to sacrifice for their country. I am somewhat nationalistic because I'm proud of the country I'm from, I celebrate American holidays, I follow the American culture, and I recite the pledge of allegiance in school, however I wouldn't join the army.

The Nation Of Italy
Italy was broken up into provinces/small states that were ruled by other foreign countries. The provinces of Venetia and Lombardy were ruled by Austria. The Kingdom of The two Sicilies were ruled by the Spanish. The Italians were growing weary of being ruled by foreign countries so something had to be done. With the help of Camillo di Cavour a Sardinian prime minister who provoked war with Austria and won two victories with the French-Sardinian army gained power over northern Italy. In 1860 a small army of Italian nationalists led by Giuseppe Garibaldi captured Sicily. In an election voters gave Garibaldi the ok to unite the southern areas he conquered with the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia. In 1870 Italian forces took over the last area known as the Papal States and from then on it was part of Italy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Simon Bolivar and Latin American Revolutions

Simon Bolivar was known as the liberator of South America because he helped countries get their independance from Spain. In 1814 Bolivar captured Bogota,Colombia. On May 14, 1821 Bolivar won Venezula's independance with the help of his revolutionary army. In 1822 Bolivar became dictator of Peru. The upper part of Peru was seperated into a different country and was named Bolivia in Simon Bolivars' honor. Bolivar also helped Ecuador, and Panama to their independence. This was the beginning of the famous "Admirable Campaign." Simon Bolivar was inspired by the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Enlightenment thinkers. He saw how they came together and changed what they felt was unfair treatment. Simon Bolivar wanted liberty and equality that the Americans and French had fought towards for his people.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Robespierre and The Reign of Terror

The Reign of Terror happened during a period of time from 1793-1794. At this time people were being executed by the guilotine just because there were struggles and rivalries between people. Several key leaders of the Reign of Terror were themselves executed. The Reign of Terror took the lives of between 18,500 to 40,000 people.

A legislative Assembly was set up to work with and share power with the King. King Louis XVI didn't like the fact that he lost so much power and didn't trust the new government. He tried to leave the country, however King Louis was caught at the border and he and the royal family were returned to France. There was no one to run the country so a radical club called the Jacobins took control and tried to get rid of anyone connected to the Old Regime.

The Jacobins cut the heads off of anyone they thought might be against them. They even tried King Louis XVI for betraying France, found him guilty, and cut his head off in public. People in the government did not trust each other. Soon after Max Robespierre who ruled like a dictator took control over the goverment and wiped out any trace of the old monarchy. Mostly everything now had the face of the revolutionaries on it.

Max Robespierre changed a lot of things for the bad that is why his ruling was called the Reign of Terror. The "enemies of the republic" who troubled Robespierre the most were fellow revolutionaries who challenged their leadership. A conspiracy was organized against Robespierre since no one felt safe around him. He was arrested and executed on July 28, 1794 along with hundreds of Jacobins.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The French Revolution: Social Causes

The Causes of the French Revolution :
Giving power and priviledge to other classes (nobility and the clergy) who prevented the French citizens from advancing socially and politically. The higher class refused to give up their priviledges of not paying taxes to help their country. Participation in the Seven Year's War and the American Revolution having a large effect on their minds

The Three estates consist of the first estate (clergy), second estate (clergy), and the third estate (Rest of the French citizens). Both the first and second estates were linked to royalty and shared many similar priviledges. Some members of the third estate were peasants and laborers, whereas others had the occupations, wealth, and lifestyles of nobility.

The Third estate felt used because the first and second estates weren't paying any taxes even though they made more money than the third estates. The third estate also felt like they were being used because when they voted the first and second estates usually voted the same way while the third estate voted another way meaning the third estate's vote didn't really mean anything.

The Enlightenment thinkers influenced the French Revolution beacause among the third estate different views of power and authority were being talked and thought about. They began questioning the structure of the society knowing that they were not being treated equally.

On July 14, 1989 the French citizens began to walk the streets of Paris and assaulted the Bastille. The revolutionaries gained a symbolic victory over the Old Regime and conveyed the message that they were not to be messed with.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Copernicus and the trial of Galileo

Geocentric Solar System
The two theories of the solar system include the geocentric and heliocentric. The geocentric system was the first theory relating to the solar system. The geocentric theory is the belief that the Earth is the center of the universe and the sun and other objects go around it. This beleif was the common thinking in ancient Greece. They had two common observations that they thought proved their theory. The first is that, for observers in the northern hemisphere, the stars and the sun appear to revolve around the Earth each day. The second reason is the perception that the Earth is solid and stable, it is not moving but is at rest.
Heliocentric Solar System
The heliocentric theory of the solar system is the belief that the sun is the center of the Universe. Nicolas Copernicus didn't have any evidence to support his idea so the Church didn't accept his theory. However, around the 17th century Copernicus presented a mathematical model of a heliocentric system, which was later elaborated by Kepler and defended by Galileo.
Trail of Galileo
Galileo Galilei was a scientist who was put on trial by the Catholic Church because he supported the beliefs of Copernicus' heliocentric astronomy ideas. The Catholics believed in the genocentric astronomy ideas because the evidence was in the Bible. In Psalm 104:5 it says, "the Lord set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved." Even though they had interpreted this passage of scripture wrong they still believed they were right. Galileo was condemned to life in prison because he didn't attend to the trial. However the next day they changed his sentence to house arrest.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Scientific Revolution: Scientific Method

The Scientific method was used by different scientists to prove or disprove a theory. Before the scientific method scientists came up with theories and everyone thought they were true, until Galileo proved Aristotle a greek philospher wrong. Aristotle thought that light stone would fall faster to the ground than a heavy stone. Galileo disagreed with his theory and set up an experiment that proved stones of different weights fall at the same pace.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Evolution vs. Creation

Darwin's theory of evolution is the belief that all living things came from one common ancestor. The theory also explains that complex creatures evolved from simple organisms. These simple organisms had random gene mutations within their genetic code that helped them survive. These mutations were then passed down from one generation to another. A single mutation can have a large effect, but in many cases, evolutionary change is based on the amount of many mutations. This a very controversial issue because many people don't believe we are the descendants of animals, which brings about another belief called creation.

Creation is the belief that God or many gods created the universe. If you are a Christian the creation of the earth is explained in genesis the first book of the bible. Also Christianity explains that the first people on earth were Adam and Eve which we were created from. The Jewish interpretation tells that six things followed the creation of the world including the Torah and the Throne of Glory. Each religion has their own way of how the earth was created because everyone wants to believe in something.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007