English Lesson 105

What would I do in my autobiography that is different from what Darwin did?

Well to start, a recurring theme within Darwin’s autobiography was of how scattered it was. By scattered, I mean, point of informations that had nothing to do with the current story being told, and such. Timelines were not solidly created in this book. The first thing I would attempt to do, is keep stories in order. And as aforementioned, I would make sure the reader has the ability to keep a solid timeline in mind.

Another point of Darwin’s autobiography that I would do different, is the stories. While it was interesting to read about the life, albeit scattered, of Charles Darwin; that in itself was the only interesting thing about this book. His stories weren’t revolutionary; they were rather boring. There was nothing that would mildly keep my interest in this book. He doesn’t discuss much of his problems, and aside from the main plotline that is “This is my life”, none of the stories he included were enough to keep my interest. If I were to create an autobiography, I imagine my story being like his, in terms of interest, but I would want to at least make it interesting enough to keep the reader engaged.

English Lesson 110

What was Thompson’s theory of the relationship between sanctions and slavery?

Thompson’s theory was that slavery would lead to negative sanctions. Hardly any slaves had rights, so slaves who didn’t were subject to their owner’s abuse and tyranny. Thompson lists stories where the power of owning someone reached the planter’s heads, and slaves were beaten to near-death for mild infractions. Not just that, but this sense of power made these owners sadists; for they would beat their slaves for essentially no justified reason. These punishments would drive slaves out of their minds, saying that they would rather be dead than continue living with it. Plantation owners that imposed positive sanctions and knew how to properly punish an infraction were hard to come by.

Almost every aspect of a slave’s life could be controlled by owners, and many would take and give at will. Food, water, clothes; all of these were things that owners could give and take. During this time, there was hardly a thing such as “justice”. To owners abusing their power, nothing could be done, as they were doing such things to slaves they owned, which at the time was essentially the same as chopping the grass in your backyard. It was their legal property, so nothing could be done about it.

Slave children weren’t safe from these harsh punishments, either. If the plantation owner’s child wished to whip a slave, the slave children would be the ones who had to take it. Many slave children would have their backs horrible mutilated, and the mothers of these children were said to have immense guilt from not being able to stop their children from being harmed.

Due to all of this, Thompson was against improper sanctions on slaves. They were treated horribly as is, and these sanctions only made lives worse.

Western Civ. Lesson 125

Write a brief overview of the life and work of Thomas Aquinas.

Thomas Aquinas was an Italian Dominican friar, as well as a philosopher and a priest. Aquinas was born into Aquino family, at the time a very influential and powerful family. His studies of philosophy began at the University of Naples, at the young age of 14. He then joined the recently founded Dominican Order when he was 19. His family throughly disproved of this, and the Dominican Order had planned to move him to Paris as an attempt to protect him from the disproving family. However, Thomas was caught by his brother, and his family had him imprisoned for a year. During this time, he still remained in communication with the Order, whilst the family was still desperate to dissuade him from joining. He was eventually released by his mother, and was sent to the University of Cologne to study further.

Thomas wrote commentaries on Aristotle’s work, the Summa Theologica, as well as some hymns, including the Tantum Ergo. Thomas is still celebrated today in some Anglican Communion churches, and his works are still observed by modern philosophers.

Western Civ. Lesson 130

Describe the main principals of the just-war theory.

The main principals of the just-war theory are used by influentials when describing what dictates a “just war”. Many philosophers, church leaders, and politicians have discussed these principals, and even today they are still discussed.

Thomas Aquinas was among those who discussed it, and he proposed the following principals:

1. The war must be waged by a rightful sovereign’s command.

2. There must be a just cause for the war.

3. Warriors must be fighting for the right intentions; to avoid evil and promote good.

Aquinas still believed that war should be a last resort, and that violence should still be justified during it. Since many people have discussed it, many principals have been added, but even still we follow the same baseline just-war principals; that war must be a last resort, and that there has to be a just cause for it.

Western Civ Lesson 120

What was the significance of the Magna Carta?

Magna Carta was created from initially a disagreement between British King John I and Pope Innocent III over who should become the archbishop of Canterbury. The man, Innocent chose was, according to John, too inexperienced and too unskilled in politics to become archbishop. Innocent ignored John, and insisted on the man being the archbishop. John threatened the man, saying if he were to ever step foot on English soil, he would be sorry, and John would burn the monasteries down. The Pope appointed the man anyways. John then reacts to this by taking church properties and giving them to his friends.

The Pope didn’t take kindly to this, and excommunicated John from the Church. John didn’t give any cares whatsoever about this, and started defying Church law more and more over time. Innocent had enough, and then deposed John. All of John’s lands weren’t legitimately his anymore, and the king of France, Phillip Augustus was right at his doorstep with armies to take over these lands. John realizes he’s up against a lot, and then pleads with Innocent, saying he will give back all of the church property he took if he lifted his excommunication, and would also be willing to hand the reins of England to Innocent. The Pope agreed to this, and this problem was resolved.

Unfortunately, John has even more problems besides this. He had England’s barons infuriated at him, due to all of his humiliations and taxations. At a location named Runnymede, he was confronted by aristocrats who had intended to make him assent to Magna Carta. In this document, the king had agreed to freedom of the church, taxes beyond customaries required consent of noblemen, no free man will be imprisoned unless by the justice of his peers, etc.

Western Civ. Lesson 115

What are some common misconceptions about the Crusades, and why are they incorrect?

One of these misconceptions are regarding what were their purpose. Some people may think it was for wealth, when this was proved to be the very opposite. Doing these crusades made the crusaders very poor, unable to provide food rations to their followers, so much to the point people had to start killing and eating their horses. Needless to say, doing these crusades would end up with the crusaders very bankrupt, and the goal being wealth would be disproven by how many crusades there were, and people seeing how horrible it would end up.

Another minor misconception that ties into the goal being wealth, was that the crusaders were the second sons of rich Europeans. Second sons wouldn’t have inherited any of the family’s wealth, so it was said that these crusades were done by second sons that wanted more. It was later debunked that the crusaders were actually first sons, so that also debunked the goal and this misconception.

Finally, a misconception was that these crusades had a lasting effect on the Muslims. Now, in light of terrorist attacks and 9/11, people may think that the crusades are responsible for these acts of aggression. In reality, most Muslims have no idea what the crusades were. This is mostly to blame for how small and insignificant the crusades ended up being, seeing as none of them were successes.

English 1 Lesson 90

What benefits would I get from writing an autobiography?

Well, for starters, it would serve as something to reflect back on. If I were to write one, it would provide me with stories I had completely forgotten about when I’m older. Obviously, my memory won’t stay like it is now for the rest of my life, so writing an autobiography will provide me with more clarity on how I lived my life as a child. And, as aforementioned, it’ll provide as something to reflect on. Whether I’ll read it and reflect on my life as being wasted or fulfilled later on, I’m not sure.