GG only – WestCiv 7
Western Civilization – Week 7 Discussion Forum
Please choose just one of the following questions to answer for the Forum Assignment this week. After you post your own answer, you will need to respond to at least three of your fellow classmates’ initial posts.
• Initial Post must be at least 250 words long
• Peer Responses must be at least 125 words long.
1. A medieval German proverb states: “the city air will set you free.” What was “the city air” like in many medieval towns? Using what you learned from the readings, do you agree with the proverb? Why or why not?
2. During the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572, more than 13,000 French Protestants (Huguenots) were killed because of their religious beliefs. Based on the information in our textbook and any other research you might do, who do you think was most responsible for the religious tensions getting out of control and erupting into widespread bloodshed? Why?
3. People rarely make decisions based on one single factor. In the quest to discover new lands, establish trade routes and colonize, what do you think motivated the explorers the most? Be sure to discuss at least one specific explorer in your post.
Student Response #1 – Shannon
During the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572, more than 13,000 French Protestants (Huguenots) were killed because of their religious beliefs. Based on the information in our textbook and any other research you might do, who do you think was most responsible for the religious tensions getting out of control and erupting into widespread bloodshed? Why?
Based on the information in our text books, I believe that both the Catholics and the Calvinists brought the religious tensions on themselves. With the birth of new religions on the rise there then became a power struggle among the religions. The Protestant Reformation that began set the way for religious extremism. ” The agreement helped maintain a relative calm in the lands of the Holy Roman Empire by granting each ruler the right to determine the religion of his territory” (Hunt, p483) This opened the doors for many religious disputes to follow as the years went on. Each war started as a religious dispute but went on to reveal other motives, like political gains, power and greed. As time went on and religion began to spread and more and more people began to covert, there became major power struggles. When the bloodshed began with the Protestants and the Catholics not too much was solved after that, during the bloodshed, Catholic mobs killed over 3000 Huguenots in Paris. These wars about religion have simply paved the way through the years for more conflict regarding religion. I can t just blame one party and pick it to be responsible , i think all parties played a role in the tension caused by religion, each person wanted to believe in what they believed in and didn’t feel like it should have to be mandated.
Student Response #2 – Raul
People rarely make decisions based on one single factor. In the quest to discover new lands, establish trade routes and colonize, what do you think motivated the explorers the most? Be sure to discuss at least one specific explorer in your post.
There were many reasons for explorers to discover new lands, establish trade routes and colonize to include military, political, religious and medical reasons but I believe that the prospect of acquiring a vast amount of wealth was the main motivation. The same truth that we live with today rings true back in the early days of exploration and that is that money rules the world.
Christopher Columbus “discovered” the New World but his quest was not fueled by a desire to discover new lands since he was actually attempting to establish a new trade route with India. Evidence also points out that Columbus was motivated by money since he was promised 10% of profits from gold and spices. The diseases brought by the Europeans killed many of the natives which made it easier for the Europeans to colonize and acquire the resources left behind by the natives. The success and the wealth acquired by Columbus would motivate a wave of new explorers who would attempt to share in the wealth. It could be said that Columbus’s discovery of gold in the new land created a Gold Rush which almost every European nation would participate in. The spread of disease and advances in military technology both helped to plunder the wealth of the New World but it was not the motivation for the actual exploration.
There were many reasons for explorers to search for these new lands and trade routes but money was the main cause of these explorations. If these explorations were not projected to yield a profit in some way they would have never happened in the first place.
Zinn, Howard A People’s History of The United States: 1492-present, rev. and updated ed. (New York: HarperPerennial, 1995).
Student Response #3 – Ryan
The biggest motivation in exploration for the explorer’s was money. The Portuguese were searching for gold and new trade route bypassing the Ottoman’s. Columbus, funded by Spain, was searching for gold and a alternate trade route, and ended up creating a slave trade. As the text says, after the conquistadores found gold and silver mines, much of Europe scrambled to explore North America in search of wealth as well. Much of this quest for wealth by the Europeans was due to soaring military costs from fighting each other and the Ottomans. Spanish explorers captured cities and dominated entire civilizations (which is really tragic in retrospect), claiming them for the crown in Spain. Ironically, even with all this gold and silver, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of Spain was still seriously in debt. Spending apparently vast sums of money on military, even a twenty-fold increase in revenue from these gold and silver mines couldn’t outweigh Charles V’s 37 million ducat debt. Even with his debt, the other countries in Europe had to seek extra revenue as well in order to pay for soldiers and equipment, including expensive new technology, in order to compete. The slave trades created during this exploration directly affected the quest for money, as these slaves manned the mines and created revenue when traded back at home. While they were at it, the Europeans sought to convert the natives to Christianity, viewing the natives as uncivilized. This seems common of all the European countries, though not the driving factor.
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GG only – WestCiv 7