Themes in the U.S and World History
Although many factors can be credited to the development of the Mesopotamian society, the presence of Euphrates and Tigris rivers is one of the major environmental factors that led to the development of this society (Ascalone & Giammanco, 2007). These two rivers created an arc of fertile land called the Fertile Crescent because they flooded every year depositing tremendous qualities of silt on the lower course. In addition, the presence of these two rivers ensured that there was sufficient water to irrigate the fields throughout the year (Ascalone & Giammanco, 2007). People developed an effective irrigation system by digging ditches from the two rivers, so as to water their crops. In fact, everything in Mesopotamia was successful because of the two rivers. Apart from being a source of fertile soils and providing water for irrigation, the two rivers were used as a means of communication. People would transport goods and communicate with each other. The final result of all these was that a strong Mesopotamian society was established (Ascalone & Giammanco, 2007).
Diffusion can be described as the movement of people, ideas and innovations from one region to another. Between 1750BC and 800 BC, a number of civilizations that had developed in places like Egypt and Mesopotamia started to diffuse. The diffusion of these early societies led to the expansion of many zones, and it was facilitated by different means. However, one of the most significant modes that facilitated early diffusion was the chariot. Invented in around 2000BC in Eurasian Steppe, the chariot was a two-wheeled vehicle pulled or drawn by one or two horses. At first, it was supposed to facilitate hunting, but later it gained popularity as a means of transportation for military men. In the early societies, such as Mesopotamia and Anatolia, the chariot transported people (often standing) from one region to the other. In 1700 BC it reached Hittites, and by 1300 BC it penetrated into China. Since its use became associated with the superiority among the societies, the chariot turned into a renowned weapon and spread around the world.
Two major factors in the history of America have been associated with the development and expansion of the United States (Dinnerstein, Nichols, & Reimers, 1979). These two factors are the Gold Rush in California and the Potato Famine in Ireland. Just before the discovery of gold in northern California in January 1848, the total population in the Californian territory was approximately 25,000. However, just after two years, when California was officially incorporated as a member state to the union in 1850, a special census indicated a growth of population to 223,856. In a city like San Francisco alone, the population had increased from approximately 800 in 1848 to over 50, 000 by the end of 1849 (Dinnerstein et al., 1979). Before the gold rush, California was a vast wilderness, but after the discovery of a gold nugget, California started receiving many visitors. When the President established the fact of gold present in a congressional address, the gold rush was on, and people moved to the newly found oasis. What followed was a business boom in California. The wagon trails were built in the region, and San Francisco became a major port (Dinnerstein et al., 1979).
The second thing that acted as a contributing factor to the expansion and development of the United States was the Irish Potato Famine that occurred between 1840 and early 1850s. People had been dependent on potatoes even for the barter trade for a long time. Therefore, when the fungal blight attacked the crop, a stage of hunger, death, and emigration started. What made it worse is the fact that the majority of merchants concentrated on exporting most of the farm products, leaving people with nothing to eat. When the famine ended at the end of 1851, more than one million Irish had died. In addition, more than one million had left Ireland to settle in the United States (Dinnerstein et al., 1979). As immigrants, the Irish took the jobs that Americans were reluctant to take, such as a construction of the transcontinental railroad, and other important infrastructural projects in America. Thus, their immigration significantly contributed to the expansion of the U.S (Dinnerstein et al., 1979).
Mohandas Gandhi is and will always be honored for his role in world history (Martin, 2001). Two of the most significant changes that happened as a result of his actions were India gaining its independence and the famous Salt March. Mohandas Gandhi had witnessed a wide abuse of Indian immigrants, and this made him join the struggle for human rights. He came up with the non-violent ways of protesting against the wrongdoings, and this attracted huge crowds of people. His leadership in three movements, including the Civil Disobedience Movement, Quit India Movement, and Non-Cooperation Movement brought the Indians together to fight for their rights and freedom from the British (Martin, 2001). Through continued negotiations, India was finally granted independence in 1947. Another significant contribution made by Gandhi was the Salt March under the umbrella of CDM. During this march, Gandhi and other protestors marched approximately 240 miles and spoke to the crowds. This led to the revision of the Salt Tax (Martin, 2001).
Eleanor Roosevelt is today remembered for her great political and social contribution during her tenure as the First Lady. She was a leader looked up to because of her passionate advocacy of the issues such as racism, ethnicity, and the rights of women (Sawyer, 2006). Thus, her position as the First Lady and her immense contribution to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights make her an outstanding person in history. During her three terms as a First Lady, she was greatly involved in the civil rights and the New Deal Reform (Sawyer, 2006). She helped people get through racism and the great depression. Her role as the First Lady helped African-Americans gain their place in society. She advocated for their living standards, health, education, and place in the military system. As ahead of the Human Rights Commission, Mrs. Roosevelt was very influential in the process of the UHDR writing. She was a great force that directed the drafting of an act that became globally accepted (Sawyer, 2006).
From the 1870s to early 1900, European colonization descended into Africa (Penrose, 1975). Colonization was marked by military suppression, diplomatic pressures, and the eventual conquest. European colonization was mainly pushed by the governmental, financial and societal factors. It heightened during the mid-19th century, immediately after the abolition of the slave trade. Back in Europe, the demand for raw and cheap materials was high, and Africa was the only viable source (Penrose, 1975). Other factors contributing to Africa colonization by the Europeans were the need for a guaranteed market, and the sphere to invest the surplus capital. There was also a high rivalry for the supremacy among such major powers as Germany, Portugal, Britain, France, and Italy. African colonization was also termed as a scramble for Africa (Penrose, 1975). Unemployment, social displacement and poverty in Europe called for the development of the foreign territories that would cater to the increasing needs of the colonialists. African colonization was so intense that there were fears concerning inter-imperialist conflicts (Penrose, 1975).
Africa did not take the colonization easy but reacted fiercely. It was termed as African resistance (Penrose, 1975). The burden put on the Africans by the colonialists provoked many African political systems to resist. When Africa’s political leadership felt that their land and resources were occupied, they organized resistance in the form of rebellions and protests in order to withstand a seizure of their territories (Penrose, 1975). However, most of the resistance had a military form. African military resistance was organized as the guerilla war, together with the direct military actions. Political movements were also formed, directing the mass resistance into street protests and rebellions against the settlers. Resistance to imperialism and colonization in Africa continued up to the early 1900s when Africa gained its full independence (Penrose, 1975).
The aim of the American Revolution was to gain independence. This violent movement was caused by the increased taxes without representation, and the Stamp Act introduced by the kingdom of Great Britain (Eisen & Laderman, 2007). Finally, the deprivation of liberties was another factor that contributed to the revolution.
The Indian Independent Movement was a non-violent revolution in India. The main goal of this movement was to gain independence from the British government (Eisen & Laderman, 2007). Main causes of the movement were the continued oppression of Indians by the colonial government, and the imposition of taxes, such as the Salt Tax (Eisen & Laderman, 2007).
The tactics, policies, and actions used by the two revolutions are very noticeable. The India Independence Movement was characterized by the widespread use of civil disobedience, so as to frustrate the Britain government. However, in the American Revolution, there was a widespread use of violence in the form of war. Americans attacked the British occupiers, so as to disrupt and destroy their social and political activities (Eisen & Laderman, 2007).
A significant social consequence of the first industrial revolution was the increased use of children as laborers (Wyatt, 2007). Children became a source of cheap labor, and they worked for almost eight hours a day. During this period factories took advantages of poor families by giving them manual work and paying them very little money. As a result of the widespread poverty, indigent families had no option but to offer themselves to the exploitative factory managers. In order to maximize the earnings, families would offer even their children to the managers. What was more worrying is that children were treated like adults, they worked under unhealthy and dangerous conditions, and at times they were even beaten.
Urbanization was also another significant social consequence that resulted from the first industrial revolution (Wyatt, 2007). Most of the factories were placed in urban areas, and this made huge masses of people move to urban centers. Before the industrial revolution, most of the people lived in rural areas. However, as industrialization continued, people were attracted by an increasing number of jobs in urban centers. Mainly, such industries as chemical, food, steel, and textile were growing (Wyatt, 2007).
Capitalism is a social and political order marked by private property ownership (Wyatt, 2007). The industrial revolution was marked by individual inventions. The new machines were housed at the individual factories. As the industrial revolution increased, the need for leadership at the factories increased, and this brought a new group of business owners. Driven by the spirit of capitalism, factory owners could pay whatever they wanted to the laborers. Workers were overworking and generated huge profits, but they never shared the profits. This marked the beginning of capitalism (Wyatt, 2007).
A communist theory was a direct result of capitalism because of the continued unfairness in resource distribution (Wyatt, 2007). As a result of capitalism, employers or factory owners paid whatever they deemed necessary to the workers. However, communist theory was established to counter capitalism. In communism, workers have a right to voice and a place in leadership (Wyatt, 2007).
One difference between communism and capitalism is an issue of the workers’ rights. In terms of capitalism, workers have no rights because they earn what the business owners decide (Wyatt, 2007). However, workers in a communist community have the freedom to decide about their outcome. The second difference is the issue of individuality. In communism, people work for the goodness of the community, while in a capitalist community individuals work for their wealth or welfare.