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Free «World History from 1750 to the Present- Discussion Response» Essay Sample

Discussion 1

Sugar cane cultivation had the greatest impact on the development of the slave trade that took place across the Atlantic Ocean between 16th and 19th century. There was an increasing demand for labour in sugar plantations in Europe. The population in Europe, especially in Portugal, could not match the demand for labour in the plantations, since sugar cultivation was labour intensive. The native population was declining at an alarming rate, and after Portugal had managed to start sugar plantations in Brazil, Portuguese merchants based on the West African coast started supplying slaves to these plantations. Plantation owners no longer needed to rely on the native Tupani people for slave labour. There were many plantation economies, and investors in the plantations recorded higher returns in the 18th century, as compared to those who used slaves for domestic purposes.

Although slaves were used for other purposes, such as doing household chores, harvesting coffee and tobacco and mining, the largest population worked in sugar plantations, as they were larger and more labour intensive. There was sugar production as well as tobacco production in the Caribbean,. Introduction of sugar on the Brazil coast by the Portuguese caused tobacco production to decrease, as investors started to take up sugar cane cultivation.

Companies started to team up and shifted to sugarcane production that was more labour intensive, and therefore, required more workers. There was a significant increase in the number of slaves traded. By the end of 1700, approximately 20,000 slaves were brought to sugar plantations. High returns received by the plantation owners lead to more investments in the slave trade.

Discussion 2

Descartes were a philosopher, who decided to change his life in order to do away with prejudices existing in his life. He probed human capacity by using mathematical questions. Descartes decided to study what was happening in the day-to-day life and de devoted a lot of time doing his study. This was after having three dreams one night that made him question his scientific vocation.

Descartes developed rationalism as a solid paradigm of thought. This central idea of rationalism linked different innovative ideas that were there in a scientific revolution. The contributions of Descartes catalyzed the power of reasoning as an intrinsic human being faculty, which is one of the scientific revolution beliefs.

Descartes was also against the empiricism system; he insisted that there was knowledge within oneself that does not need proof from the external phenomena. He argued that this knowledge is more reliable, since it is from the natural, rational nature of a person. Descartes came up with new ways of enquiry that would replace the empiricism culture. The foundation for principle of existence, reliability and potential of reasoning were laid down by Descartes. This enabled to successfully apply in practice the innovative thoughts of the scientific revolution.

Descartes argued that the hypothesis of existence could be proven by the quote, ‘I think, therefore, I am’. He believed that an alleged truth test could have been done for clarity to prove it.

Discussion 3

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The relationship between nationalism and the French Revolution

The French people were divided by various religious beliefs. However, some believed that the only way to unite the people was through making sure that everyone served one leader, who was the king at the time. However, some did not agree to this, and they started perceiving themselves as citizens as opposed to subjects. This is what instigated nationalism in France during the French revolution. Nationalism can be termed as extreme patriotism in one's country leading to the belief that one’s country is more superior to the rest. The spirit of nationalism was crucial, especially for keeping the French revolution alive.

French nationalism peaked in the 1790s when France was at war with other states for superiority. In any war, unity is crucial for success. Hence, French nationalism contributed towards uniting and strengthening the French revolution. The French believed in their own political system, and this acted to strengthen them. The civic nationalism in France was based on common beliefs and ideologies, and this gave the French political unity. As a result, the Rights of Man was published in 1971 and this was intended to protect the French revolution as increasingly more people began to believe in nationalism.

Therefore, it true to state that nationalism was created in France to support the French revolution. This is because nationalism gave the people a sense of patriotism that was key for France to succeed in the war. Hence, the revolution provided utmost support to nationalism.

Discussion 4: The invention of the wheel and how it shaped the industrial revolution in Europe

The invention of the wheel is one of the most life-altering inventions of all times. The world as we know it would not exist without the wheel. The wheel was invented in 3500 B.C. during the Bronze Age, although the original inventor is not known. The wheel is known to have contributed immensely towards the Industrial Revolution. This aspect can be perceived in various different perspectives. For instance, the potter’s wheel was used to create vessels that were used to transport food stuffs to markets. while the spinning wheel was used to create garments both for sale and for wearing. The wheel can also be perceived as the first step towards modern transportation.

The invention of the wheel led to the invention of gears, clocks, water wheels, astrolabes and cogwheels, all of which contributed immensely towards the industrial revolution. In a nutshell, the wheel is the greatest invention that led to the Industrial Revolution that shaped the world into what it is today. The wheel, especially in Europe, was the central component of the technology.

The wheel’s immediate, short-term effects on Europe were the invention of other small wheels, which were used to make work easier. For instance, using the pulley, building was much easier. Trade and development began, as a result, leading to the slow but sure modernization of Europe. Once people discovered that the wheel could be used to transport, travelling became easier and faster. People could trade faster. People were excited about the invention that emerged at a time when the world needed it seriously. The long-term effect of the wheel in Europe can be perceived to be the colonial expansion of the continent, as well as the naval warfare that resulted in the modern day democracy practiced tin Europe. A combination of these developments resulted in the dramatic expansion of Europe and eventually, colonization of America, Africa and parts of Asia by European nations.

Discussion 5

France was the most impacted by the nationalism in the 19th century. Nationalism was one of the things that led to course of events during the time Napoleon III was reining in France, and it also led to achievement of unity in Germany. Because of this unity, Germany was able to create a strong power in central Europe. In Germany, there were three types of nationalism, such as liberal nationalism, economic nationalism and cultural nationalism.

Nationalism was a crucial factor in the development of countries in Europe. The French Revolution led to the present day nation-state. Before nationalism, citizens were answerable to one ruler in a monarchy. The French revolution destroyed the traditional structures of power. This instrument led to political transformation in Europe. There are different thoughts on the factors that caused nationalism. The two principal thoughts are the modernist and the primordial’s perspective.

The French Revolution was violent towards the French monarchy. Despite the different religions and regions that divided the people of France, they were unified by the king whom they were all supposed to serve. When the French Revolution said ‘no’ to imperialism, the rise of antilogism came up which further led to springing up of true nationalism in France.

British nationalism did not have much impact on Great Britain. It emphasized both diversity and cohesion of the people of Great Britain and its colonies.

Discussion 6

Of the seven causes of ‘new imperialism’, the factor that had the most impact on these European countries was the need to imperialize for economic benefits. The economic benefit that these countries would get would enable them to expand their global empires. These countries were looking for a market for their goods, which was an easier way to colonize and get more investment opportunities. This would lead to political, military and economic control of their colonies. In addition, these colonies would be a cheap source of labour, thus reducing the cost of production and increasing profits. There were also raw materials in these colonies that were cheap and readily available to be used in manufacturing.

These European countries wanted to be powerful, and could only achieve this by boosting their economy. They did this by outsourcing cheap labour and low materials, thus acquiring a ready market for manufactured goods. This led to struggle and competition between these European countries. The real objective of imperialism, according to Hobson, was the strong demand for profitable investment opportunities. This was intended to utilize the surplus capital, because opportunities were not adequate back at home.

The growth in overseas investment meant that the colonizers’ power and wealth were increasing in colonies. This meant that the empire of the European country was becoming stronger. When the colonizer had a strong empire, it was remarkably easy to acquire new territories and expand the existing ones, thus enabling the economic power to continue to increase. Having economic power guaranteed these European countries’ national security.

Discussion 7

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The period between 1870-1914, commonly referred to as the period of imperialism, was an era when the countries of Western Europe expanded their empires, which held weighty implications for the whole world. A big component of recorded history deals with agreements connected with the rise and fall of kingdoms. Europeans have been the most expansionist and imperialistic of peoples all through the ages; however, imperialism of the nineteenth century had unique features and far-reaching consequences.

This "new imperialism" was directed towards developing countries, and it led to the subjugation and mistreatment of Asian countries. By looking at the nature and result of Western imperialism in Asian countries, one may come to a clear conclusion concerning the nature of Western imperialism in India. The roots and effects of imperialism in India were countless and intricate, but one of the commonly accepted explanations of current imperialism concerns money matters. In fact, present imperialism is time and again referred to as "economic imperialism," and there is just adequate empirical proof in support of these details to make them reasonable, in terms of the results of imperialism for India.

In order to comprehend the mechanisms of economic imperialism and its effects with regards to India, it is essential to cite a number of circumstances at the start of Western imperialism in Asia. Even though fractions of Asia had been open to European authority and invasion since the commencement of the sixteenth century, much of it was still segregated. In the early years of the nineteenth century, the British controlled India and its surrounding territories, while the French and Portuguese retained trading settlements on the Indian coast.

The British colonization of India had more benefits than negative impacts. The perfect example is the Indian infrastructure; the British built many roads that opened up the interior and remote places in India. The railway system should also be mentioned, as the British built over 40,000 kilometres of railway lines. Therefore, the British made it easier for people to commute and transport goods through the territory of India. This in turn, opened up businesses opportunities in India, and enabled the British to transport their raw materials to industries all over the country. Another good effect of the British colonization was agricultural development; under the British governance over 40 million acres of land were under irrigation, which made sure that the people of India have continued to have food security up to the present days. In addition to this, the British had developed industries used to process agricultural products. This means that the British helped India grow into an industrial powerhouse. The British also helped in the development of government institutions, educational institutions, health, and industrial sectors.

Despite the many benefits that the British colonization brought to India, it also had some drawbacks. Tgreat Gandhi said, “You have done one ultimate crime against the Indians. For many years, you have given us everything but not responsibility of our own”. These words can be misunderstood, but a close and keen look at the words shows how the British never gave the natives opportunities in the governance of their own country.  The British rule also led to the downfall of traditional industries, such as glass-blowing, metal work, ship-making and paper-making. Their closure led to the rise of unemployment in the country, which has continued up to the present time.

In conclusion, colonization not only benefited the Indians but also the British people. Despite the effects being minor, they still caused some changes in Great Britain.  All in all, the Britons got the better share of the benefits, as colonization increased their resources in terms of manpower, land, raw materials, and military force, as well as created a ready market for their products.

Discussion 8

The Haitian slave revolution caused different reactions in the United States of America. Slaveholders in the South feared the spread of the revolution from the Hispaniola Island to their plantations. They believed that African slaves would be inspired by the revolution and start their own revolt against their masters. However, there were people who opposed slavery and believed in equality and liberty to all.

However, prohibition imposed by the Congress had an obvious advantage. Although the strategy of John Adams was more embarrassing than others, it was in support of an arms restriction on Haiti. Federalists were in support of his strategy, as they felt it would coagulate the U.S. supremacy over the affairs of state and financial system of the state, as well as provide help bring security to white people in the South who were fearful of a hemisphere-wide slave revolt.

To support other slaves, the Haiti government had an official policy that welcomed any black person who came to the country as a citizen. This worried slave masters in the South, as they thought the statement by the Haiti government would encourage their slaves to revolt against them.

Leaders in the South forced the government of the United States to embargo Haiti, as they saw the revolution as a reason to maintain the slavery business.  Leaders like John Taylor of South Carolina made statements that changed the perception of slavery in the South from a necessity to a fundamental thing. As time went by, Haiti became a target for derision amongst the pro-slavery groups in the South. Haiti was perceived as confirmation "aggression was an intrinsic element of the blacks" due to the killing of whites and the severe rule that came after the revolution.

The prominent leader of the slave uprising was Toussaint Breda, also known as Toussaint L'Ouverture, and occasionally the “Black Napoleon”. Slave rebellions from this point in time usually ended in executions.

It began in 1790 in the French settlement of Saint Dominique, also known as Haiti. Despite being born as a slave in Saint Dominique, Toussaint was an erudite whose father was a free man in Africa. He realized that he was a man and not a slave, as he had brains and dignity, just like any other human being.  He was fortunate to have a master that allowed him to read and write during his free time. Toussaint took the advantage and read all the books that he could get in the house.

Discussion 9

The Bolsheviks were in control of the Russian heartland, where most of the population and most of the industry were concentrated. This gave them the resources and ability to shift deal with the threats that emerged at various fronts. The Whites did not have a unified command, which only made the above point important.

The Whites were not a homogeneous political force. It consisted of supporters of the Czar, minorities (two groups who could not hope to come to some kind of a lasting agreement), and “liberals" a la Kerensky, Great Russian nationalists, xenophobes and anti-Semites. The Reds had an appealing motto: Peace, Land, Power to the Soviets (i.e., you, disgruntled peasant!), while the Whites could mean anything: Russians being stuck in newly independent countries, minorities being stuck in a newly created Czarist Empire and who knows what.

As far as the nationalist high ground Kurdistani spoke about is concerned, it was surely there. Despite the fact that Russians were fighting Russians (like Mrakoris said), "some" Russians (the Whites) were getting support from the same governments that wanted Russia to continue to lose millions of men in the Great War. These powers were now helping the Whites, while the Reds were trying hard to end this disastrous war. It was quite easy to do by portraying the Whites as foreign agents who wanted to make Russia a mere puppet in the hands of Western imperialism.

 
 
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Bolshevik terror was mostly aimed at the nobility and what one would call the Russian, middle class. Since most Russians were poor and felt abused by the rich for so long, this did not negatively impact the overall support the Bolsheviks got but even strengthened it. White terror could be aimed at anyone depending on the "type" of the White army that had ravaged your region. This meant that White terror was more likely to infuriate people and make them side with the Bolsheviks.

White commanders may have individually more capable, but the Soviet commander Trotsky was far more effective in organizing the overall campaign. The Reds were able to successfully portray the Whites as agents of Western imperialism and pawns of foreign powers The Reds managed to turn the situation around from 1917 when they were seen as German agents. They had the force, but there was no will to deploy it. The West feared that their forces would be infected with the contagious disease of Bolshevism. The Reds’ propaganda successfully portrayed the SRs and the Mensheviks as pro-Czarist and traitors to socialism.

That is not to say that that there were no nationalist movements. Actually, they were but they were disjointed and disorganized, such as the Tashkent Soviet. Many minority nationalists believed that the Reds would give them self-rule. They were proved wrong, but by then it was too late.

Question 11

Mohandas Gandhi opened up the art of Satyagraha, characterized with a stringent obedience to ahimsa (diplomacy) and civil non-compliance. This allowed ordinary persons to take on the British by staging a revolt without using aggression or other unpleasant means. In the same way, Gandhi believed that authoritarian observance to a democratic system, spiritual and cultural parity and brotherhood, as well as refusal of caste-based prejudice and untouchability, would unify people throughout India's history. Everyone had a chance to take part in the freedom struggle for the first time; the Congress membership grew to over ten million by 1930. The victory Gandhi claimed in Champaran and Kheda Satyagraha gave confidence to many young Indians that the British colonization could be defeated. It was the union of the Indian leaders that gave the Indian population the power and will to fight and stay together. The leaders drew a single line of democracy as they united along religion lines, and demographics.

Despite India being a diverse country in terms of language, social traditions, religions and race, the country has managed to take a significant step towards nationalism. However, the most influential and unifying fact in India is religion.  Religion is believed to be the central element of the Indian life.

In the 1920s, the Congress addressed peasants by depicting Gandhi as a kind of messiah, a plan that was meant to consolidate fundamental forces within the peasantry for organizing the diplomatic struggle movement. In many towns, plays were staged that showed Gandhi as the re-embodiment of Indian pro-independence leaders, or as a demigod. As a result, Gandhi became a folk idol, while the legislature was extensively seen in the towns as his holy tool.

Question 12

In order to understand the reason why the US had dropped nuclear bombs on the towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, one has to look at what the Japanese people and military had done. For example, during the Japanese invasion of China it was claimed that the Japanese came to liberate the Chinese from the Western forces. However, the Japanese killed an estimated ten million Chinese people. People ignore the fact that the United States had tried to put an embargo on Japan so as to control its forces against other Asian countries and China, but that did not work. This bizarre revisionism appears to be increasingly reflected in letters to newspapers outside Japan.

Even though, the scope of the terrible violence Japanese military committed was yet to be exposed, the US President was aware of the actions that the Japanese military had committed. The Japanese military had committed crimes such as racism, brutality, murder, raping, and looting and man slaughter of the Chinese people. The Japanese government had declared a fight to the last man standing and never surrender.

Those who criticize the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have little knowledge of the kind of war the USA and the other countries were fighting against the Japanese. The Japanese had declared to fight to the last man standing, and even the wounded were supplied with hand grenades to fight to the end to avoid the shame of being captured alive. They were ordered to kill any opposition worker or soldier that approached them.

In order to stop the Japanese from continuing with the war, the US had to strike at its industrial towns. In doing this, the Americans faced a problem as Japanese towns had no clearly designated industrial areas. Their industrial areas were close to residential areas, and this posed a serious problem to the Americans. It is also necessary to note that precision bombing was not in use in 1945; therefore, it was impossible for the American air force to destroy the factories that served the military without hitting the residential areas due to their proximity to the factories.

Given Japan’s stubborn unwillingness to give up fighting, the Americans decided to launch a strike on Japan's munitions factories in early 1945, even if it meant a loss of civilian lives. In March 1945, a colossal formations of B-29 bombers carried out dispersion attacks on five of Japan's main industrial capitals, including Tokyo. The attacks were then suspended. However, the Japanese did not surrender; instead, the government whipped up abhorrence of Americans and solidified the determination of its people to fight as a nation to death. Historically, Japanese descend from a military culture and they were proud of fighting to the bitter end. Admiral Yamamoto was seen as a hero after leading a deceitful attack on the United States’ Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour.

Discussion 13

The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States began in 1947, shortly after the end of the Second World War. It followed the declaration of anti-communist policy made by President Truman and refusal of Josef Stalin to withdraw his troops from Eastern Europe. This led to demands from France, the US and Great Britain to be given a chance to decide on the type of governments they wanted. Before the Cold War, the two countries were allies and together they claimed victory over the Nazi empire. After this, they became enemies and the Cold War was referred to as a state of military and political tension between the USSR and USA.

The main reason for the Cold War was mistrust between the USSR and the USA. Before the Cold War, there were economical, ideological and political differences between the two countries, which only intensified after World War II. Ideologically, the systems of government in the USSR and the USA were diametrically opposing.

The United States was for encouraging free trade all over the world, while the Soviet Union was not. This led to strained feelings between the two countries. Moreover, with the European power declining after World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union the major power brokers. Since none of them wanted to feel inferior to the other, the two were bound to have some conflicts.

Discussion 14

The collapse of the European Union was stipulated by both economic and political factors. However, the direct cause of the collapse was an economic one. The Soviet Union lost economically, since it relied on socialism, while the U.S made a lot of profit by using imperialist exploitation of other countries. Most of the government expenditure was directed towards funding military procurement, which led to increased consumer goods imports to the Soviet Union, as Soviet citizens could not afford to buy them at home. The Soviet Union did not have quality exports that would balance imports, because it spent a lot of money on maintaining their military personnel. The Soviet Union spent 17 % of its GDP on the military, and therefore, the Soviet economy was in stagnation.

Political factors, such as a coup d'état that took place in August 1991, also played a part in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite the fact that the coup did not succeed, it affected the well-being of the Soviet Union. Massive demonstrations of disgruntled people who wanted democracy led to the resignation of Gorbachev.

There was also a lot of secrecy, which profoundly affected the country both economically and politically. In my view, economic reasons were the main causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The government’s overexpenditure on military goods led to poor economic conditions, which was one of the reasons why the people demonstrated.

Discussion 15

There was a strong relationship between the communists through this, as they were able to get arms that had been taken away from the Japanese troops. They were also able to get help from the Soviet Union. The communists, therefore, were able to amass powerful military forces, although they were few. The communists used the promise for land reforms as a strategy to gain the support of peasants. There were many peasants at the time, and this led to a large group of supporters being mobilized by the communists. The communists won, because they took advantage of the tactics used against them by the Nationalists.

The Communists had also organized a leadership plan that enabled them to gain support of the people. The support of the people was a decisive factor in the victory of the Communists. The peasants who were the majority were the main target of the communists and the idea of land reforms attracted most of them.

Unlike the Nationalists who misused the funding they got from America, the Communists made proper use of the help they received from the Soviet Union. They ensured that all the aid received is used appropriately.

Discussion 16

This occurred during the regime of president Allende who was elected in 1970. Allende made a lot of promises to the people of Chile, such as transforming Chile into a socialist country. After Salvador Allende won the elections in 1970, the U.S. president was against him, and he supported Allende’s opponents. The U.S also cut the aid that it was giving to Chile. The US did this to encourage overthrow of Allende or to make sure he was defeated in the 1976 elections. The U.S. government wanted to fight Marxism presented by Allende as much as possible.

Allende also introduced price controls, raised wages and income redistribution, which was not welcomed by the people of Chile. Conflicts started in 1972 when the economy of the country collapsed. Prices were skyrocketing, there were food shortages because of reduced foreign credits, and increased political violence. The situation reached its climax when the military forces seized power in a coup forcing the president to commit suicide. The United States had had a lot of economic and political influence on Chile. Approximately 75 % of all investments owned by foreigners belonged to the US.

The U.S. government had no right to intervene in the conflict. Chile was a country with its independence and it could solve its problems on its own. By putting pressure on the Allende’s government, it made it impossible for Chile to implement its policies.

   

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