Europe and the Modern Era Essay

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The European Historical Perspective, Social Issues and Educational Issues


The European historical perspective has changed from era to era. Europe, which is often called The West, had its foundations laid by the classical philosophers—Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle—who defined the concept of the Transcendentals and gave future generations the ideas of what it meant to live a good and happy life. These philosophers were Greek, but many nations for centuries after their deaths pondered their thoughts on education, on social issues and on life itself. The Romans, the Jews, the Christians (who later led Europe for more than a millennium) all incorporated aspects of the classical philosophy into their own sense of education.



The West—or Europe as we know it today—was defined as a result of numerous factors coming together to form their social perspective. In the centuries before Constantine came to the throne in the Roman Empire, the realm was pagan and held pagan beliefs. Constantine elevated Christianity—or rather Roman Catholicism. When Rome fell, the monks and missionaries of the Roman Catholic faith provided some degree of stability and a cogent doctrine that had social implications as well as educational implications for the various tribes and peoples of Europe. Charlemagne unified the warring factions for a time and was crowned the first Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope in the year 800 AD. (“Charlemagne,” n.d.). Charlemagne enabled Roman Catholicism to be spread and build throughout the realm.
Clovis had converted the Franks beforehand (which helped substantially in this endeavor of course), and the faith grew through Europe to make the continent see itself as a Christian continent—i.e., a Roman Catholic continent. Hillaire Belloc, a 20th century English historian once remarked upon this point that “Europe is the Faith, and the Faith is Europe” (Lucie-Smith, 2011).



Roman Catholicism helped give shape to the West’s ideals and scholars like Thomas Aquinas incorporated the ideals of the classical philosophers into the Catholic philosophy of Europe so that striving for the Transcendental values aligned with living a Catholic life in grace, in Christ, for Christ, and for the Church. As trade with other countries began to allow nations to prosper and princes became rich, things began to change. Humanism entered into Europe through the High Renaissance. Usury, once condemned by the Church, began to become more and more common. Europe finally broke into civil war with the rise of Protestantism. The division of the Greek Orthodox from the Roman Catholic Church in 1000 AD had been impactful—but not as nearly impactful as the Protestant Reformation, which turned European against European and led to bitter and bloody wars. As Bryan (2014) points out, “there are three main divisions of Christianity: 1) Roman Catholic, 2) Eastern Orthodox, and 3)….....

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References

Bryan, W. V. (2014) Multicultural aspects human behavior. Springfield, IL: Charles C.Thomas Publisher, LTD.

Charlemagne. (n.d.). History. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/charlemagne

Lucie-Smith, A. (2011). Is Belloc best forgotten? Retrieved from http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2011/12/05/is-belloc-best-forgotten/

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