History 1500-Present World Civilization From Assessment

Excerpt from Assessment :

The American Dream was repeatedly exposed as a lie by American dramatists, ranging from Eugene O'Neill to Edward Albee to Arthur Miller -- but the PR machine had already been established: Orwell's warning was not heeded -- and "ignorance" became "strength." Millions now enjoy economic, social, and cultural slavery -- and don't even know it -- because they all believe they are experiencing "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The only question they have is why are they so miserable?

Women of the Ming and Qing Dynasties -- compared with women of other cultures

Women had a subordinate role in the Ming and Qing dynasties, only able to influence political power (as Lady Wan did) through subversion. In the home, however, the woman did have some authority -- but she was still largely subservient, as the practice of foot-binding shows -- a practice which continued up until modern times, when feminist crusades and missionaries combined to show the East what the West thought of such a practice. Foot-binding did not, of course, cause women to be physically impaired -- it was more of an aesthetic physical attribute that the Chinese admired -- small feet on women; but it could sometimes lead to infection.

Chinese women -- like other Asian women -- were commonly submissive in many ways. However, one way in which women in China differed from, say, women in the Middle East was the fact that men in China could not divorce their wives if they had entered into the marriage in poverty -- especially if the woman's dowry was valuable. In the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, for example) the situation was much different. Women had little say over what men wanted. If a man wants to divorce, it is done -- it is that simple.

Of course, Shariah Law favors the man over the woman and the institution of marriage in Shariah is at loggerheads with modern ideas of marriage for love's sake; and the old customs are not going away any time soon.

Outside pressure, from groups such as the United Nations Council for Human Rights, has attempted to resolve the inequalities of the Middle East. But Middle East politics are largely traditionally governed -- and that tradition is thoroughly patriarchal. Likewise, in Africa, women are part of tribal customs that are centuries old -- and often brutal. Women have little role in the way tribes are governed. They have an impact within their own communities, as far as social circumstances go. But as Africa itself is exploited by Big Oil, in the Niger Delta for example, women are likewise exploited by Africa.

While the West has liberalized the woman's role, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East each offer their own perspective on the woman's function in society. Asia attempts to mix modernity with tradition, and Africa subjugates the woman and exploits her for labor. And the Middle East sees her as hardly having anything resembling social equality whatsoever.

Fall of the Islamic States

The Islamic States were already at a disadvantage before the Mongols invaded in the 13th century to forever change the Islamic world. The Islamic caliphate had neglected the keep the military in proper condition so that they were of virtually no account when the Mongols invaded.

But that was not the only the problem. The Islamic States were not united in belief. The Sunni and the Shi'ite Muslims had been warring for centuries, and while the caliphate was of the former type, there existed in the States a serious minority dedicated to the Shi'ite type -- and it was this latter type who saw the Mongol invasion as a way to rid themselves of the their Sunni leader. In fact, these Muslims joined with the invaders in some parts of the Islam world to help fight the Sunni. Therefore, there is some speculation that the Mongols were aided by dissent within the in Islamic States.

The Mongols were likewise aided by some Christians, who saw them as a way to rid themselves of Islam rule. Islam, it must be understand, had enemies both outside and inside that wanted to see an end to its rule.

However, Islam to a large extent was able to convert the Mongol -- and many of them accepted the Islam religion. Islamic power never quite reached the heights it had in the centuries before the invasion, but the Ottomans attempted a revival of the Islamic power and threatened Europe in the coming centuries.

American Revolution

The American Revolution was, in a way, a testing ground for the French Revolution that followed -- which gives a better understanding of Revolution in general and the ideas that were at the heart of it. While the Americans drafted their Declaration of Independence in 1776, asserting their individual rights -- the National Assembly of France drafted its Declaration of the Rights of Man a decade later in 1789 -- a document which set the platform for liberty, equality, and fraternity as the cornerstone for politics around the world.

The American Declaration of Independence likewise drips with the Romantic/Enlightenment doctrine of the time, espousing dogma that has since become known as the American Dream. The so-called "happy" colonists had never really felt much tie to England: America was made of religious and social outcasts -- as a well opportunists and noblemen and revolutionaries. "Taxation without representation," of course, played a part in the great unraveling between King and Colony -- but revolutionary ideology also played a part in the Revolution.

The American forefathers followed such ideas so closely that the mantra of the French Revolution might just as easily have been their own. Such emphasis was shown in the rejection of primogeniture (the handing down of inheritance to the eldest son) and a diminishing of the amount of property needed to be allowed the right to vote. (While the ethos was Revolutionary, Americans still had enough practical sense and independence of mind for a time to know that egalitarianism was a false notion). Nonetheless, they bought into the notion of religious liberty whole-heartedly. Indeed, Jefferson's Statute of Religious Liberty at the end of the 18th century ingrained this idea into the American heart.

Individual rights were further asserted in the Constitution, largely credited to James Madison. Not everyone was for it, of course. Alexander Hamilton wanted a strong central government because he feared that a lack of unity and control would pit the thirteen colony-states against one another perpetually. But the die-hard revolutionaries like Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams saw the Constitution (and the confederation of states which passed it) as a bastion.

Thanks to the help of France, America was able to win its independence from England -- and its victory served as a kind of inspiration for the French Revolution -- which took place two decades later.


The new Imperialism of America (and other leading/competing nations in Europe) was, of course, a product of Industrialization. But American Imperialism was an especially devious kind. While America was theoretically isolationist, in practice it was anything but. New Expansionism and Republican ideology (which was kept, fundamentally, in the back pocket of Wall Street) paved the way to World War I -- which saw the final annihilation of Catholic Austria.

America's Imperialistic role was directly related to its wars and to Industrialization: Andrew Carnegie had become a "Captain of Industry" first in the railroads and then in the steel mills. His work in the Pennsylvania Railroad gained for him the experience he needed to manage investments that would ultimately allow him to develop his very own steel company. Like the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was the biggest corporation of the day, Carnegie's steel business would become the number one industry on the planet.

The Spanish-American War in 1898, propagated by the yellow journalism of Hearst and Pulitzer who blamed the sinking of the Maine on Spain (a blame that had no truth to it whatsoever), turned public sentiment in favor of war. That war allowed America to go all the way to the Philippines to fight and anchor, in response to which men like Mark Twain helped form the Anti-Imperialist League. However, the League would draw little political weight as a Republican Washington would serve as the handmaiden of Wall Street -- and corporate America was the new King. 1917 would be the death of the old world -- and the sinking of the Lusitania would help effect it. America's entrance into WWI (through another shady tragedy -- a common theme in American war entry) would present Woodrow Wilson with his chance to promote his pet project, the League of Nations.

The old world was by this time gone. The Industrial Revolution (and the corporatism that followed) had thoroughly obliterated what was left of…

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