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Foundations of Western Civilization. World History Chapter 1. The Basics of History. What does history mean to you? How can we approach history? (People? Places?) What is meaningful in our study of history? (Diary of a King, or diary of a peasant?) Does history have a bias?

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Foundations of Western Civilization

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Foundations of western civilization l.jpg

Foundations of Western Civilization

World History Chapter 1


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The Basics of History

  • What does history mean to you?

  • How can we approach history? (People? Places?)

  • What is meaningful in our study of history? (Diary of a King, or diary of a peasant?)

  • Does history have a bias?

  • What is the best way to transmit history?


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Western Civilization

  • Euro-centric

  • Not concerned with cultures that do not directly contribute to European civilization.

  • Focus on Western Europe.

  • Focus on Christianity.

  • Focus on Democracy and Capitalism.


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Roots of Western Civilization

  • Fertile Crescent

  • Egypt

    • Stable, large scale civilization, trade

  • Greece

    • Herodotus

    • City States

    • Colonies

    • Athenian Democracy

    • Sparta

    • Persian Wars

    • Peloponnesian War

    • Socrates

    • Plato

    • Aristotle

    • Alexander the Great


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Greek Philosophy

  • Socrates

    • Socratic Method

    • Morality, Ethics, Knowledge

    • “I know that I do not know.”

    • Corruption of the youth of Athens

  • Plato

    • Reason

    • The Republic

    • The story of Atlantis

  • Aristotle

    • “King” of Philosophers

    • Rule of law

    • Beginnings of scientific method


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Glory of Rome

  • Roman Republic

  • Carthaginian Wars

    • Hannibal crosses the alps with elephants

    • Sack of Carthage

  • Conquest of the Mediterranean and Briton

    • Julius Caesar and Empire (Crossing the Rubicon)

    • Hadrian’s wall

  • PaxRomana (The Roman Peace)

  • Roman Law

    • Many principles we use today

    • Justinian’s Code

  • Roman Engineering

    • Roads

    • Aqueducts

    • Concrete

  • Splitting the Empire

    • East and West

  • Decline of Empire


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From Polytheism to Monotheism

  • Beliefs in human history have ranged from reverence of the spirits and the Earth Mother, to worshipping a pantheon of gods, to worship of a single all powerful God.

  • The roots of Monotheism (Yahweh, Jehovah)

    • Akhenaton (Egyptian Pharos) (Amen ? Aton)

    • Judaism (Moses)

  • Judaism to Christianity


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Effects of Judaism and Christianity on the development of Western Civilization

  • Ethics, morality, laws

    • Ten Commandments

    • Basic Principles

  • Emperor Constantine

    • Council of Nicea (325 CE)

  • Spread of Christianity

    • Charlemagne (747-814 CE)

      • Holy Roman Empire

  • Crusades (1095-1291)

    • Reaction to spread of Islam

    • Wealth (Silk Road, rich lands)


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England as a Nation

  • Celts, Druids, Stonehenge

  • Roman Invasion 54 BC

    • Romans abandon Briton 410 CE

    • Rise of the legends of King Arthur

  • Anglo-Saxons (Various Germanic Tribes)invade and colonize over the next few hundred years

    • Viking raids

    • Feudalism (system of protection and loyalty)

  • Norman invasion 1066 (William the Conqueror)

    • Ruthless conquest, unites all the parts of England

    • Census taken to help in tax collection 1086


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Democratic Developments in England

  • Henry II(1154)

    • Use of royal judges to enforce common law, trial by jury

    • Conflict with church, Beckett

  • King John (Brother of Richard the Lionheart)

    • Often portrayed as a tyrant, made some poor alliances, lost war against the Pope when the French betrayed him.

    • Nobles and clergy under John forced him to accept Magna Carta (1215)

      • Nobles protected from the King

      • Limited taxes (needed to consult Grand Council)

      • Laws that protected people from arbitrary arrest (process of law)

      • Rights for Nobles and Clergy


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Development of Parliament

  • Parliament evolved from the Grand Council as a House of Lords.

  • In 1285, Edward I included a House of Commons, where two knights from each county, and representatives from towns could participate in decision making.

  • In this way, England developed a strong national identity, and established several important concepts

    • Checks and balances

    • Power of the Purse (control of taxation)


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War and Change

  • For many years, the English Crown maintained the control of large portions of France from the old Duke of Normandy, and lands from marriage (Eleanor of Aquitaine)

  • France contested this, and several wars were fought, including a series of wars called the hundred years war (1337-1453)

  • The wars ended when England was forced off the continent by a resurgent France under Joan of Arc.

  • Under Henry VIII, England broke away from Rome and the church to form the Church of England. When Martin Luther challenged church methods and doctrine, creating the Protestant Reformation, the Church of England supported the Protestants.


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Rebellion and Revolution

  • The split with the Church in Rome caused much discontent, and rivalry for the throne between the Tudors (Protestants) and the Stuarts (Catholics) called the War of Roses.

  • Fighting between the families, and with Parliament, eventually caused a rebellion of the Parliament led by Oliver Cromwell, who deposed the King, and established the Commonwealth of England without a King. (1647)

  • The Commonwealth did not last long, and Parliament re-established the monarchy under Charles II. Charles death brought James II to the throne, and again tried to re-establish Catholicism.

  • Parliament acted quickly and asked James’ Protestant sister Mary to take the throne with her Dutch husband William of Orange, but only after they signed the English Bill of Rights. This bloodless change of power was called the Glorious Revolution.


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English Bill of Rights

  • King cannot suspend laws (ie. The King is subject to law) Limited monarchy

  • Parliament has the power of the purse

  • Right to petition

  • No standing army without consent of Parliament

  • Free elections

  • Freedom of speech

  • No excessive fines, cruel or unusual punishment

  • Parliament shall convene regularly

  • Habeas Corpus (no imprisonment unless a crime is committed, and right of appeal)


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