Why Western History Matters

Why Western History Matters

Length: 617 words (1.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

Critical Analysis for “Why Western History Matters” by Donald Kagan
“Why Western History Matters” 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 Kagan’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 Kagan’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, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.
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 author’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 “political life come to be shared by a relatively large portion of people”. He uses the Greek culture as an influence of science and reason. “The Greeks exposed everything they perceived—natural, human and divine—to the searching examination of reason.” 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, “Philosophy led to the powerful divisive quarrels about the nature of God and other theological questions”. The influence of Christianity established itself within great writers of American history, who helped shape our country. Such as John Locke, who influenced our country’s foundation with the idea of God given “natural rights”, life, liberty and property. All of which define our personal freedom today.
Finally, he discusses the influence of the English Revolution.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Why Western History Matters." 123HelpMe.com. 06 Apr 2020

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Memories Of Muhammad : Why The Prophet Matters Essay

- Memories of Muhammad: Why the prophet Matters is a book by scholar and author Omid Safi. Omid Safi focuses primarily on the life of the Prophet Muhammad and how he created a religion that has lasted since its creation in approximately the 7th century. In addition, what the book does extremely well is giving an in depth look at not only who Muhammad was according to Muslims, but the historical person as well. In light of this, by doing so we are able to see who the Prophet Muhammad was, his ideologies and beliefs, his travels and encounters with different religions and cultures that helped him create Islam....   [tags: Qur'an, Muhammad, Islam, Prophets of Islam]

Research Papers
2101 words (6 pages)

The Secularization of the Western World Essay

- Secularization is a controversial form of social change in modern day society. Secularization is a concept derived from a Latin word meaning “the present age,” the term is generally associated with modern, technologically, and advanced societies. “Secularism is a political tradition that has been evolving for eighteenth centuries. It shares important relationships with other traditions, sustaining complex ties with Judeo-Christianity, and maintaining a long-standing relationship with Islam” ( Hurd, 2004)....   [tags: Religion, Cultural History]

Research Papers
1682 words (4.8 pages)

The History of Euthanasia Essay

- Euthanasia has been a part of societies since 5th Century B.C. in ancient Rome and Greece. The concept of euthanasia was considered to be tolerant before the creation of Christianity. Pagan physicians would do both voluntary and involuntary mercy killings. Although the Hippocratic Oath prohibited doctors from giving drugs to kill anybody, not even if asked for, or from suggesting such an action, few ancient Greek or Roman physicians followed the oath. Though there was a wide spread support of voluntary death throughout the Rome and Greek territories....   [tags: The History of Assisted Suicide]

Research Papers
1197 words (3.4 pages)

The History of the Western World from 500 B.C. to 1500 A.D. Essay

- History is the study man past chronological recorded events. Since the beginning of the world a lot have happened politically, socially, historically and economically. In this paper we shall examine the western world historically. Specifically we will examine the period between 500 B.C and 1500 A.D. Examine the most significant person, event, movement or occurrence. This period was the medieval period that was an era experienced in Europe during this time. The dark ages were also experienced during this time between 500 A.D and 900 A.D....   [tags: person, event, movement, occurence]

Research Papers
1184 words (3.4 pages)

Western Civilization Q&A Essay examples

- Western Civ. Test 2 take home C) First and Second Triumvirates A Triumvirate is a political alliance involving three rulers, who divide the land and power among each other. The first Triumvirate involved Pompey; who was a popular general who crushed the Spanish Revolt. The second was Crassus; he was a wealthy noble with a lot of ambition and was very ruthless. Crassus owned all the fire stations in Rome, when a person needed his services he would let the fire burn until he was paid a sum of money to his likings....   [tags: World History]

Research Papers
1036 words (3 pages)

Revolutions: The History and Implications Essay

- A great revolutionary once said, “The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.” The revolutionary in this quote, Che Guevara, epitomizes the notion that revolutions are not a random occurrence but rather a continuous push for a fundamental change. In the framework of revolutions that have occurred in the world, most notably those that have occurred in Britain, America, France, and Haiti; one realizes that the elements of competition and mass mobilization are intrinsic to understanding the successes of each revolutionary movement....   [tags: Britain, America, France, Haiti, World History]

Research Papers
1406 words (4 pages)

History Essay

- History Manorialism was an economic system that existed in Western Europe from about 1050 to 1300 CE. Serfs who worked for a lord farmed large fields. The lord owned the fields and lived in a large manor house. He owned between a third and a half of all the crops. The serfs also had a part of the fields for themselves. Serfs couldn’t leave the manor and they had to give the lord a certain amount of their crops, but they could keep the surplus. The serfs lived together communally and worked the fields together using the three crop rotation....   [tags: Religion Western European History Essays]

Research Papers
1742 words (5 pages)

Essay about Religion and the Development of the Western World

- Religion and the Development of the Western World The accomplishments and success of civilizations are closely linked to their religious outlook and the role of religion in their governments and society. Throughout history rulers have used the influence of religions to control their populations and provide the justification for their power. A society with a greater degree of separation between religion and government promotes a superior level of liberty and creativity amongst its people. By the time of the decline of the Roman Empire in the west, however, the world had come full circle to a return to theocratic dictatorship....   [tags: ancient civilization theocratic government]

Research Papers
1103 words (3.2 pages)

Civil War History Essay

- Both sides at the beginning of the Civil War were less than prepared for a war of any type, much less what it would become over the next four years. Not only were they not prepared with the amount of basic war supplies they would need, but a basic command structure was less than perfect, particularly in the South. No one foresaw the scope that war would take on, since the only experience that either side had with relatively large scale battle was during the Mexican War. With the election of Abraham Lincoln the South reacted with predictable results....   [tags: American History]

Research Papers
1214 words (3.5 pages)

Napoleon Bonaparte: One of the Greatest Military Masterminds in History Essay

- This essay will illustrate why Napoleon Bonaparte is regarded as one of the greatest military masterminds in the history of mankind. It will show the life of Napoleon from when he was a young boy, till he died in 1821. It will show how he deceived the French into giving him power, and how he used this power for his own interests. It will also reveal how Napoleon almost killed of an entire generation of France, and proved that all good things always come to an end. Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio on the island of Corsica near Italy....   [tags: Bonaparte French History Essays]

Research Papers
3209 words (9.2 pages)

Related Searches

He does so by writing of the rebellion to Charles I’s attempt to impose an alien religious conformity. As a result, came limited, constitutional, representative government and, democracy. “These ideas and institutions are the basis for modern liberal thing about politics, the individual and society, just as the view of science and technology as progressive forces has been the most powerful form taken by the Western elevation of reason.”
In conclusion, my acceptance of the ideas expressed by Donald Kagan’s essay makes the study of Western History an obligation to bettering of society. After reading this essay of “Why Western History Matters” I feel I have a better understanding of where we as Americans came from. Donald Kagan stated in his essay, with ample historical evidence, “The abandonment of such a study or its adulteration for current political purposes would be a terrible loss to all of humanity”. The understanding of where we came from is essential to the further advancement of our society. A quote comes to mind, by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, “All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experiences.”

Return to 123HelpMe.com