Sunday, August 18, 2019
Why Western History Matters :: essays research papers
Critical Analysis for Ã¢â¬Å"Why Western History MattersÃ¢â¬ by Donald Kagan Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã¢â¬Å"Why Western History MattersÃ¢â¬ is an essay adapted from a speech Donald Kagan delivered to the National Association of Scholars, and was reprinted in the December 28, 1994, issue of the Wall Street Journal. Throughout KaganÃ¢â¬â¢s essay, he describes the essential need for the college course, Western History. He does so by examining older cultures and explaining why they were quintessential to the past and to our future development as a society. I strongly concur with KaganÃ¢â¬â¢s standpoint of the necessity of history, and the realization of how exactly our flourishing society came about. History is a key constituent in determining who we are; for to determine who we are one must first know from whence they came. In the words of George Santayana, Ã¢â¬Å"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat itÃ¢â¬ . Donald Kagan argues for the requisiteness of Western History by describing older cultures, and then explaining how these older cultures became a key influence in what our society has become today. He examines the ancient Greek, Christian, and English culture influences that helped form our country. Throughout his essay, his depth of historical research is quite evident. He uses historical research of past cultures to imply the necessity of knowing where we, as Americans, came from. This approach helps establish the authorÃ¢â¬â¢s credibility, and makes his presentation more plausible. The first ancient civilization that Kagan highlights is the Greek. He writes of their republic city-states, and pioneering of a Ã¢â¬Å"political life come to be shared by a relatively large portion of peopleÃ¢â¬ . He uses the Greek culture as an influence of science and reason. Ã¢â¬Å"The Greeks exposed everything they perceivedÃ¢â¬ânatural, human and divineÃ¢â¬âto the searching examination of reason.Ã¢â¬ Finally he describes the Greek quest for virtue and morality. He uses these examples to show how similar our culture is to the Greek. Second, Kagan explains of the Christian influence on our society. With the controversial idea of Christianity, Ã¢â¬Å"Philosophy led to the powerful divisive quarrels about the nature of God and other theological questionsÃ¢â¬ . The influence of Christianity established itself within great writers of American history, who helped shape our country. Such as John Locke, who influenced our countryÃ¢â¬â¢s foundation with the idea of God given Ã¢â¬Å"natural rightsÃ¢â¬ , life, liberty and property. All of which define our personal freedom today. Finally, he discusses the influence of the English Revolution.