Revolutions Essay

This essay has a total of 836 words and 4 pages.


Revolution can be defined as radical or rapid change. Revolutions, whether called by that
name or not have greatly changed the world. Three revolutions prior to 1700 were the
Enlightenment, the Crusades, and the Renaissance.

The enlightenment was a movement that sought to shine the “light” of reason on traditional
ideas about government and society. During the Enlightenment, sometimes called the Age of
Reason, thinkers fought against superstition, ignorance, intolerance, and tyranny.
Enlightenment thinkers promoted goals of material well-being, social justice, and worldly
happiness. Their ideas about government and society stood in sharp contrast to the old
principles of divine right rule, a rigid social hierarchy, and the promise of a better
life in heaven. Since the 1700’s enlightenment ideas have spread, challenging established
traditions around the world. During the Enlightenment, two English thinkers, Thomas Hobbes
and John Locke set forth ideas that became key to the Enlightenment. Hobbes believed that
people were naturally cruel, greedy, and selfish. If not strictly controlled, they would
fight, rob, and oppress one another. Life in the “state of nature” without laws or other
controls – would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” To escape the brutish
life, people entered into a social contract, an agreement by which they gave up the state
of nature for an organized society. He believed that only a powerful government could
ensure an orderly society. Such a government was an absolute monarchy, which could impose
order and compel obedience. John Locke believed that people were reasonable and moral.
Further, they had natural rights, or rights that belonged to all humans from birth. These
included the rights to life, liberty, and property. He said the best government, had
limited power, and was accepted by all its citizens. Locke rejected absolute monarchy. He
said that if a government fails to fulfill its obligations to its people, then the people
have the right to either overthrow or change the government.

Another Revolution was the Crusades. In the 1050’s, the Turks invaded the Byzantine
Empire. The Turks migrated from Central Asia into the middle east where the converted to
Islam. As the threat of the Turks grew, the Byzantine emperor Alexius I, sent an urgent
plea to Pope Urban II in Rome. He asked for Christian knights to help him fight the Turks.
There were many reasons for people taking up the cross. First were religious reasons. They
hoped to attain salvation. The second reason was to win wealth and land. Also some sought
to escape troubles at home, and just for adventure. The Crusades failed in their chief
goal – the conquest of the holy land. The Crusades did have some positive effects; it
helped to quicken the changes already underway. Before the crusades, Europeans traded
little with merchants from the Byzantine Empire. The crusades increased the level of
trade. Returning crusaders brought fabrics, spices, and perfumes from the Middle East to a
larger market. Enthusiasm for the Crusades brought papal power to its highest. This did
not last long though because; popes soon were involved in clashes for power. The Crusades
helped increase the power of feudal monarchs. It also encouraged the growth of a money
economy. Marco Polo was a merchant who traveled to china with his father and told stories
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