By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood
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2. Master Timeline: After 1000 CE

World history after 1000 CE.

AFTER 1000 CE Edition: This timeline documents historical events from 1000 CE through 2020. You can filter topics from Human Discoveries to Roger Williams. Enjoy!

Switch to Before 1000 CE Edition.

Touchstone: Senses & Perceptions
Olfaction or Sense of Smell Study.

How we perceive an external world starts to become clear. A 30 Philosophers touchstone: Chapter 17, “Alhazen and the Senses.” Since Alhazen and his pioneering work around 1020 CE, we have made significant advancements in understanding our senses and perceptions. Prior to Alhazen, most people on Earth believed in magical light-emitting-flashlight eyes.

Peter Abelard (1079-1141)
Peter Abelard (1079-1141)
38 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 18: Peter Abelard and Universals
Touchstones: Intent, Object-Oriented Nature, Pattern Recognition, and The Idea of Ideas

Born in 1079 in Le Pallet, a small village in France, Peter Abelard hailed from a noble lineage. His father, a knight of the local lord, intended for his son to follow in his footsteps. Instead, Peter chose a path of knowledge. His brilliance propelled him to the forefront of the intellectual circles in Paris, where he challenged established ideas. Early philosophers, like Plato and Aristotle, noticed patterns in nature including things in common between objects. Remember schemas? The categories, groups, and patterns we notice in life. In the realm of philosophy, these patterns are “universals.” Abelard’s conceptualism is a middle ground.

Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat

In the early 12th century, the Khmer Empire, located in what is today Cambodia, undertook one of the most ambitious architectural projects in the history of Southeast Asia: the construction of Angkor Wat. Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, this temple complex reflects the height of Khmer architectural, artistic, and spiritual achievement. Angkor Wat is distinguished not only by its vast scale and ornate design but also by its significance as a symbol of Cambodian national pride and identity. Its transition from a Hindu to a Buddhist temple mirrors the wider religious and cultural shifts in the region over the centuries. Today, Angkor Wat stands as a testament to the ingenuity and devotion of the Khmer people, attracting scholars and tourists from around the globe.

Magna Carta
Magna Carta

The Magna Carta in 1215 established the following principles:

  • everyone is subject to the law, even the King,
  • individuals have rights,
  • everyone has the right to justice,
  • and everyone has the right to a fair trial.

The Magna Carta recognized individual responsibility in all, including the King, and it established that the law “should” be applied to everyone equally. Although King John got the pope to void the Magna Carta only 10 weeks after signing it, it was reissued several times over the next century and became a seminal legal document when Sir Edward Coke used it extensively in the 17th century. (Sir Edward Coke was a mentor to Roger Williams.)

More Info

The First Great Charter of King Henry III
The First Great Charter of King Henry III

Less than two years after the original Magna Carta, the core of the Magna Carta was reissued in “The First Great Charter of King Henry the Third”, granted November 12, 1216–the first year of his reign. This was the first time the Magna Carta was willingly signed by a King. And, King Henry III created the first parliament which was needed because of the need to hear counsel from the barons prior to acting–per the Magna Carta.

The Māori Settlement of New Zealand: Earliest Known
tradition, lives, maori

The Māori, Polynesian navigators and explorers, reached the shores of Aotearoa, now known as New Zealand, around 1300 CE. Braving the vast Pacific aboard large, ocean-going waka (canoes), they established communities that would flourish into a distinctive culture deeply connected to the land and sea. The Māori developed a rich oral tradition, weaving tales of their ancestors and the spirits that inhabit the natural world. Their arrival and settlement mark a significant chapter in the human history of Oceania, as they created intricate societal structures, advanced agricultural practices, and formidable fortifications known as pā, showcasing a profound understanding of their new environment and a resilient spirit that continues to define Māori culture today.

Hourglass
Hourglass on the Beach

Hourglasses, also known as sandglasses or sand timers, were first used in the 14th century, although it is unclear exactly when they were invented. The earliest written reference to an hourglass dates back to the early 14th century in Europe, but they may have been used earlier in other parts of the world. Hourglasses were used as a reliable way to measure time, especially for tasks that required precise timing such as navigation at sea, cooking, and scientific experiments.

Guru Nanak (1469-1539)
Guru Nanak (1469-1539)
22 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 19: Guru Nanak and Sikhism
Touchstone: The Five Thieves

Nanak was born in a village in Pakistan, on April 15, 1469. In 1499, at age 30, Nanak experienced a transformative spiritual event. While working as a storekeeper, he would often bathe in a nearby river. One fateful day, he submerged and remained missing for three days. Upon his unexpected re-emergence, Guru Nanak was born.

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
20 Generations Ago (from 2020 CE)

Montaigne was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance. In addition to furthering skepticism, he also extended stoicism. He also extended literary style by promoting the essay format and by breaking norms of his day. For example, talking about himself in his own writing.

My favorite translated Montaigne quotes: 

  • Obsession is the wellspring of genius and madness.
  • He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.
  • What do I know?
  • My art and profession is to live.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
18 Generations Ago

Francis Bacon was born on January 22, 1561, in London to a prominent and influential family. The young Francis Bacon received a comprehensive education, attending the prestigious Trinity College, Cambridge, at the age of 12. Bacon is the Father of the Scientific Method, but notice he is not the inventor. Bacon laid the foundation for his major work in “Novum Organum.” Published in Latin in 1620 when he was 59 years old. Bacon’s method pioneered inductive reasoning, but he didn’t invent it, but he did develop it into a method, and it gave birth to the scientific method.

30 Phil, Chapter 20: Francis Bacon and the Scientific Method
Touchstones: Absolute Truth, Truth Hammers, and The Scientific Method

Pictured: Portrait circa 1618, Francis was about 57.

Big History Thresholds: 1=Big Bang | 2=Stars&Galaxies | 3=Chemicals | 4=Solar System | 5=First Life | 6=TI | 7=Agrarian | 8=Science

The Modern Revolution: The 8th threshold for Big History began about 500 years ago and continues to the present day. It includes the scientific revolution, industrialization, and the information age, leading to rapid technological progress and profound changes in human societies globally. In 30 Philosophers, the modern age starts later in 1859 with Charles Darwin, but I follow human thought with a philosophical lens, Big History tells our story using the lens of a historian.

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
18 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 21: Galileo and the Scientific Revolution
Touchstones: Relativity, the Infinitesimal, and Modern Cosmology

Pictured: Portrait circa 1638, Galileo was about 74.

Galileo Galilei, more of a scientist than a traditional philosopher, forever altered our understanding of nature. He was born on February 15, 1564. Galileo was a great scientist in his time. His “way,” his method, of performing science helped push us toward our modern approach. The story of Galileo is also the story of Copernicus, and the story of modern cosmology. This is the era in which humanity started to learn about the fundamental structure of the universe. Galileo’s book “Two New Sciences,” published in 1638, contains his most significant contributions to science, particularly his work on motion and the strength of materials. Galileo was a master mathematician, and his contributions to mathematics were both scientific and philosophical. Galileo’s ideas about the infinitesimal were so clear, within decades, both Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz independently developed calculus. Still under house arrest, he passed away at the age of 78 in January 1642.

Microscope Invented = Microworld Discovered!
Various bacteria cells in microscope. Streptococcus pneumonia, p

With the invention of the microscope, humanity became aware of the microworld which is defined as 1 to 1000 microns. A micron is equal to one thousands of a millimeter. A cell is about 10 microns wide. Paper is about 100 microns thick. The unaided human eye can see items as small as 50 microns, or about half the width of a piece of paper.

Scientists use three scales when talking about the biological world: the milliworld, microworld, and the nanoworld. The milliworld contains all visible items down to 1 millimeter and includes very small things such as ants, fleas, and grains of sand.

By 1640, the microscope was perfected to the point that allowed the introduction of the microworld to humanity. The microworld contains items with a diameter from 1 millimeter to 1 micrometer, or 1 micron. The microworld contains things like single celled organisms as well as the largest bacteria. By 1640, humanity started it’s introduction to trillions of organisms living everywhere including nearly everything you touch, in the ground, inside plants, and even inside humans. Humans host over 10,000 species of organisms in, on, and through the human body — known as the human microbiome. Every human no matter how clean you think you are is playing host to 10-100 trillion organisms. This fact gradually changed how every human on Earth views life.

The nanoworld which includes smaller bacteria as well as viruses, proteins, and molecules would have to wait for the invention of the electron microscope in 1931. 

Note: The micron and micrometer are the same size, but you use microns (μ) when measuring thickness, and micrometers (μm) when measuring the distance between things. So you can say a cell is 10 microns wide, or you can say the diameter of a cell is 10 micrometers. The term nanomicron, which would be equal to a nanometer, is not currently in regular use.

Rene Descartes (1596-1649)
Rene Descartes (1596-1649)
17 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 22: Descartes and Cartesian Dualism
Touchstones: Mind-Body Dualism, Idea Modeling, and Pragmatism

René Descartes was born into minor nobility in the Kingdom of France on March 31, 1596. In 1637, Descartes published “Discourse on the Method,” he sought to identify certain knowledge by using doubt to strip away uncertain beliefs. Cartesian Skepticism is a system of doubt aimed at identifying certainties by dismissing all beliefs susceptible to even the slightest uncertainty. On February 11, 1650, in the presence of a small circle of friends, he exhaled his last breath.

The Birth of Baroque Art
white and brown concrete building painting

From Baroque music and paintings to sculptures and archicture. The dawn of the 17th century witnessed the birth of the Baroque era, marking a transformative period in the history of art that spanned from circa 1600 to 1750 CE. Originating in Italy and spreading across Europe, the Baroque movement represented a significant evolution in artistic expression, characterized by its dramatic, detailed, and exuberant style. This era brought about a profound change in music, visual arts, and architecture, emphasizing motion, contrast, and a vivid sense of emotion that sought to engage the viewer or listener directly. In music, the Baroque period saw the invention of opera as a new form of musical and theatrical expression, the development of complex tonal systems, and the creation of instrumental music forms such as the concerto and sonata. Composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, and George Frideric Handel epitomized the Baroque’s intricate harmonies and elaborate compositions. The Baroque era’s emphasis on blending different forms of art to evoke a heightened emotional response represented a significant evolution in the way art was conceived and experienced. It laid the groundwork for future artistic movements and continues to influence the arts profoundly, underscoring the intricate relationship between human emotion, expression, and creativity in the journey of cultural development.

Roger Williams (1602ish-1683)
Roger Williams (1602ish-1683)
17 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 23: Roger Williams and Liberalism
Touchstones: Separation of Church and State, and Liberalism.

Pictured: None exist of Roger Williams. This artist impression represents his fond relations with Native Americans.

Roger Williams was born in England around 1602, in Smithfield, situated at the heart of London. Williams officially founded Providence Plantations in 1636 with an informal agreement with the local Native American leaders. It became the fifth American colony and the second in the New England region. In 1644, he published a series of pamphlets, the more contentious ones anonymously, leading up to penning what would become his magnum opus: “The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution,” or “Bloody Tenet.” More than a historical or religious treatise, the Bloody Tenet is a seminal work. It launched a full-throttle assault on the prevailing norms of religious and political intolerance that plagued both Old and New England. Williams passionately argued for the separation of church and state.

Gunpowder Treason Plot
Gunpowder Treason Plot

The Gunpowder Treason Plot is the name of the Roman Catholic conspiracy to blow up Parliament including King James I, the queen, and his eldest son. The conspirators were zealous Roman Catholics angered by the King’s refusal to grant more religious toleration to Catholics. They hoped the confusion that would follow the murder of the king, his ministers, and the members of Parliament would provide an opportunity for the English Catholics to take over the country.

The authorities were tipped off by an anonymous letter. During a search of the House of Lords at about midnight on 4 November 1605, one of the conspirators was discovered guarding enough gunpowder to reduce the House of Lords to rubble — about 36 barrels. The attempt failed. The conspirators were executed.

King James I Orders New British Flag
King James I Orders New British Flag

Roger was about 4 when in 1606 King James I gave orders for a British flag to be created which bore the combined crosses of St George and of St Andrew. The result was the Union Jack flag created to celebrate the coming together of the Scotland and England crowns. The previous Cross of Saint George flag was exhibited for four centuries!

King James Bible Published
King James Bible Published

Roger was about 9 years old when the King James Bible was published in 1611 under the auspices of King James I of England. The King James Bible was the accepted standard from about 1650 through the early 1900s.

This interpretation of the Bible was evolved from earlier versions but is a reflection of its times. It was still created during a very primitive time in human understanding. Albert Einstein summed it up this way, “…the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.” Although the telescope was invented in 1609, nearly all believed the Earth was the center of the universe. Blood circulating in our bodies was discovered 17 years later in 1628. One has to wonder how different this version of the bible would have been if the authors knew what we know now.

Change continues to influence Roger. Changes to religious doctrine is difficult even when dictated by a King. While Roger was growing up, there was much debate and interpretation of the Bible as well as the role of government in dictating religious doctrine. This debate likely leads to his openness to various viewpoints on religion.

Bartholomew Legate Burned at the Stake
Bartholomew Legate Burned at the Stake

Bartholomew Legate was the last man burned at the stake in Smithfield where Roger Williams grew up. Just like Roger’s father, Bartholomew was in the clothing industry and may have interacted with Roger’s father at his shop. Either way, Roger Williams was about ten years old when Bartholomew was burned at the stake for simply discussing and debating some of the details of his own Christian faith. Bartholomew was an early “Seeker”, someone seeking truth about his own religion while still believing in the religion generally.

Roger grew up in the Smithfield area where heretics were burned at the stake. This fact may have shaped his eventual decision to leave England for America and his views on the separation of church and state as well as his belief that religion and the lack of religion, is an individual right. Like Bartholomew, Roger Williams would eventually become a “Seeker” sometime in the 1640s.

 

Mayflower Compact
Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact set out rules for self-governance for the English settlers who traveled to Colonial America aboard the Mayflower ship in 1620. Of the 102 passengers aboard the Mayflower only 41 were Pilgrims. It was this minority body that established the rules for which they tried to force on all. The majority of passengers disagreed with and fought against the compact for many years–a rough start to American democracy. The document was signed by the 41 pilgrims, non of the other white male adults called “strangers” by the pilgrims signed it. 

Mike Prestwood Note: One of the Pilgrims and signers of the Mayflower Compact was my direct ancestor Richard Warren (my 10th great grandpa on my mom’s mom side).

Homann-Rudisill Note: My wife Lisa Jane Unsicker is a direct descendent of 4 Mayflower passengers John Tilley, his wife, and daughter are direct ancestors. Also, John Howland, the future husband of 13 year old Elizabeth Tilley is also a direct ancestor of Lisa’s.

John Locke (1632-1704)
John Locke (1632-1704)
16 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 24: Locke and Natural Rights
Touchstones: Natural Rights, Due Process, The Social Contract, Checks and Balances, and Law

John was born on August 29, 1632 into a Puritan family in England. During his life, John Locke was focused on empiricism. He goes on to become a key figure in the empiricist revolution, with a dedication to the doctrine that experience is how knowledge is acquired. One of his popular ideas he published under his name was “tabula rasa,” in his work “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.” Locke’s “tabula rasa” translates to blank slate, and this idea is central to individual rights and freedoms. 

Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677, aged 44)
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spinoza_(cropped).jpg
16 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 25: Spinoza and Monism
Touchstones: Monism and the Material-Spiritual Framework

The Dutch philosopher Spinoza was a lens grinder by profession, a proponent of Rationalism, and an early founder of Enlightenment. My favorite concept of Spinoza’s is that God is nature, and nature is God. For me, whenever I read God in prayers and such I substitute the word nature. That concept I attribute to Spinoza. The concept doesn’t mean God does not exist, nor vice versa, it’s simply an acknowledgment of all interpretations of God, Gods, and nature and the fact, by my account, that we have no proof God exists or not.

Some of my favorite translated quotes include:

  • I call him free who is led solely by reason.
  • Whatsoever is contrary to nature is contrary to reason, and whatsoever is contrary to reason is absurd.
  • Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.
  • The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.
Book: The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution
Book: The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution

In 1644, Williams published The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution. Historians consider it his most famous work. He wrote Bloudy after arriving in London in midsummer 1643. It was on sale by July 15, 1644. It is a fierce attack on religious and political intolerance in both Old England and New. He advocated for free thought and belief because he felt that punishing those that did not believe was not part of his faith and government should be separate from religion. Roger advocated for a “hedge or wall of Separation between the Garden of the Church and the Wilderness of the world” in order to keep the church pure. His ideas raised questions and challenges but his ideas endured over time.

Patent for Providence Plantations, Roger Williams
Patent for Providence Plantations, Roger Williams

The first TRUE democracy in America. From the charter largely drafted by Roger Williams who was influenced by his mentor Sir Edward Coke who relied heavily on the Magna Carta in legal proceedings.

From Roger Williams’ 1643/4 charter:

…full Power and Authority to rule themselves…by such a Form of Civil Government, as by voluntary consent of all, or the greater Part of them…

Read the full charter here. The date is an English Double Date so Mar 14, 1643/4 is our modern Mar 14, 1644.

Book: Christenings make not Christians

Subtitle: A Briefe Discourse concerning that name Heathen

Not only did Roger Williams write the first book on the local native americans, he supported them in ways that were 400 years ahead of his time.

In 1645 Roger Williams wrote this small 25 page book. In it he documented that the English and Dutch refer to native americans as heathens and not always just to mean non-christians.

Founder, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Founder, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

In July 1663, King Charles II granted a Royal Charter to the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations uniting Providence, Warwick, Newport and Portsmouth. It became the State of Rhode Island after the Revolutionary War. John Clarke, who stayed behind after Roger returned in 1654, worked hard and deserves much of the credit.

The Great Quaker Debates!
The Great Quaker Debates!

The Great Quaker Debates occurred in 1672 on Aug 9, 10, 12, and 17 of August. Although Roger Williams welcomed those with differing opinions, he relished in the opportunity to present his viewpoint. Famously, in 1672 at the age of about 69 or 70, he rowed alone, all night from Providence to Newport to debate the Quakers at 9AM. The first session of the debate was held on the 9th, 10th, and 12th of August 1672 in Newport. His brother Robert was then a school master at Newport and helped with the debates. On the 17th, the debate continued one more day in Providence. Many attended both sessions. Roger presented 14 arguments during the debate.

Four years later he published a book on the debates titled, “George Fox Digg’d out of his Burrowes”.

 

1675-1678: The King Philip’s War
1675-1678: The King Philip’s War

The King Philip’s War started on Jun 20, 1675, and ended on Apr 12, 1678. An elderly Roger Williams played a key role in the conflict. At the urging of Roger Williams, the Narragansett natives maintained neutrality during the early months of King Phillip’s War.

Later in 1676, a large army of about 3,500 native warriors led by chief sachem Canonchet marched north along the coast destroying towns. Roger went out to meet with the native leaders. Their discussions began with Roger scolding the Narragansett for becoming involved in the war. That led nowhere so he attempted to bluff them by saying they were not good fighters, and that 100 English could hold them off. His bluff was called and the Narragansett accepted a face off. He reacted by doing what he was known to do best, negotiate. He asked for the Narragansett to give him their demands so he could negotiate for them. His proposal was rejected. When Roger turned to walk away. He was warned by the natives that there were some young braves on his side of the river that might ‘do him some mischief,’ and he could safely return to the blockhouse by walking along the water’s edge.

The natives burned most of Providence. Roger’s home and crops were among those burned. Roger survived and helped rebuild Rhode Island, but mainly focused on Providence. For a time, he lived in his son Joseph’s home. He lead the first meeting after the war outside under a tree.

The Invention of Calculus
geometry, mathematics, volume

Invented by Newton in the 1660s (pub. 1687) and independently by Leibniz in the 1680s (pub. 1684). Both built on Galileo’s popularizing the idea of the infinitesimal.

Calculus, the mathematical study of continuous change, introduced the concepts of differentiation and integration, providing tools to model and analyze motion, growth, and the infinitesimal. Newton, working primarily in England, utilized calculus to formulate his laws of motion and gravitation, fundamentally altering our understanding of the physical universe. Simultaneously, Leibniz developed a similar set of mathematical tools, contributing a notation system that remains in use to this day. He introduced the integral sign (∫) and the differential operator (d), foundational in calculus for representing integration and infinitesimal changes, respectively. His “dy/dx” notation for derivatives elegantly describes rates of change, all of which remain central to calculus today.

English Bill of Rights

The 1689 English Bill of Rights was a precursor to our Bill of Rights and is referred to in our law. For example, it is referred to in Scalia’s Heller opinion.  The bill outlined specific constitutional and civil rights and ultimately gave Parliament power over the monarchy.

  • The monarchy cannot rule without consent of the Parliament.
  • Freedom to elect members of Parliament.
  • Freedom of speech in Parliament.
  • Freedom from royal interference with the law.
  • Freedom to petition the king.
  • Freedom to bear arms for self-defense.
  • Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment and excessive bail.
  • Freedom from taxation by royal prerogative, without the agreement of Parliament.
  • Freedom of fines and forfeitures without a trial.
  • Freedom from armies being raised during peacetimes.
Voltaire (1694-1778)
Voltaire (1694-1778)
13 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 26: Voltaire and Modern Journalism
Touchstones: Fourth Estate and Journalism

Voltaire was a French Enlightenment philosopher born François-Marie Arouet. He was an advocate of civil liberties and satirized intolerance, and religious dogma in a time one was punished with censorship, jail, banishment, or worse.

Some of my favorite Voltaire quotes translated from French:

  • Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
  • Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes.
  • In the case of news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.
David Hume (1711-1776)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:David_Hume.jpg
12 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 27: Hume and Skeptical Empiricism
Touchstones: Skeptical Empiricism, The Problem of Induction, and Hume’s Fork

The Scottish Enlightenment philosopher and historian Hume was a leading exponent of empiricism. The belief that all human knowledge derives solely from experience.

Some of my favorite Hume quotes:

  • “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.” -A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739
  • “The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster.”
  • “Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.”
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
12 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 28: Kant and Kantianism
Touchstones: Transcendental Idealism and Categorical Imperative

The German philosopher Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a central figure of the Enlightenment which put reason as the tool of choice when discussing God, nature, and humanity. 
Some of my favorite translated quotes include:

  • All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.
  • Nothing is divine but what is agreeable to reason.
  • We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.
  • It is beyond a doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience.
Common Sense by Thomas Paine
Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Common Sense is a pamphlet published by Thomas Paine in early 1776 advocating independence for the thirteen colonies from England. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. Per capita, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history.

  • the distinction between kings and subjects is a false distinction

Of note, Thomas Paine was a self-proclaimed monotheist (believing in one God), but disdained organized religion, proclaiming that his only church was his own mind.

Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence expresses the ideals on which the United States was founded and the reasons for separation from Great Britain.

  • The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (among others).
  • People have a say in their government.
The Constitution of the United States
The Constitution of the United States

The Constitution is a merger uniting the original 13 states with different cultures and laws. Under America’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, the states acted together only for specific purposes. The final Constitution of 1887 united all the states as members of a whole, vesting the power of the people in a Federal government.

Bill of Rights
Constitution, Gavel and handcuffs

The Bill of Rights was written two years after the signing of the Constitution and ratified by three-fourths of the states in 1791. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Georgia refused. In 1939, the three decliners symbolically sent their approvals to Congress.

Amendments:

1st: Freedom of speech, press, of and from religion, assembly, and the right to petition the government.

2nd: Right to bear arms

3rd: Protection against housing soldiers in civilian homes

4th: Protection against unreasonable search and seizure, and the issuing of warrants without probable cause.

5th: Protection against trial without indictment, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and property seizure.

6th: Right to a speedy trial, to be informed of charges, confronted by witnesses, witnesses, and legal counsel.

7th: Right to trial by jury

8th: Protection against excessive bail, fines, and cruel and unusual punishment.

9th: Rights granted in the Constitution shall not infringe on other rights.

10th: Powers not granted to the Federal Government in the Constitution belong to the states or the people.

11th Amendment

One state cannot sue another. US courts cannot hear cases nor make decisions against a state if it is sued by a someone who lives in another state or country.

12th Amendment: Procedure to elect a president and VP, then updated in 20th Amendment.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
9 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 29: Mill and Utilitarianism
Touchstone: Harm Principle

John Stuart Mill was born on May 20, 1806, in London, to James Mill, a Scottish-born philosopher and economist, and Harriet Barrow. His Greatest Happiness Principle lies at the core of utilitarianism, advocating for actions that maximize utility, generally understood as producing the greatest well-being for the most people, but how do you measure or evaluate this “utility” or “happiness?” On May 8, 1873, at age 66, surrounded by a few friends and his stepdaughter Helen, John Stuart Mill took his final breaths. 

 

 

Barron v. Baltimore

The Supreme Court ruled that the Bill of Rights does not apply to the states because the Federal government does not have jurisdiction.

 “[the Constitution was created] by the people of the United States…not for the government of the individual states.” –Decision written by Chief Justice John Marshall, 1833.

This was the law of the land until the 14th Amendment which was ratified after the Civil War in 1866.

 

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
7 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 30: Nietzsche and Nihilism
Touchstones: Nihilism, Übermensch, and Eternal Recurrence

Friedrich was born on October 15, 1844, on the 49th birthday of the Prussian King, after whom he was named. In 1869, at the age of 24, Nietzsche was appointed as a professor of classical philology at the University of Basel in Switzerland. The mustachioed-musician-philosopher Nietzsche shows us that his life was not solely confined to the rigor of intellectual quests; it also embraced the landscapes of creative artistry and a fervor for living a life well-lived.

13th Amendment

Abolished slavery in the United States. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation nearly three years earlier and the Civil War which started nearly five years earlier paved the path forward on this issue.

14th Amendment

The 14th Amendment was passed after the Civil War in 1866 and ratified by the states in 1868. It provided all citizens with “equal protection under the laws.” The 14th Amendment bans states from depriving citizens of life, liberty, or property without “due process of law” making the Constitution including the Bill of Rights the law of the land at all levels (a.k.a. “Incorporation Doctrine”). The 14th Amendment made the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, applicable at all levels of law (state and federal) and to all citizens.

 

15th Amendment

Granted African American men the right to vote, but not Native Americans nor women, by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Radiometric Dating
Iodine 131(I-131)Radioactive isotopes used for hyperthyroidism treatment are stored in Lead boxes
5 Generations Ago

In 1905, radiometric dating was discovered. It is a method used to date rocks and other objects based on the known decay rate of radioactive isotopes. This technique is used to date rocks. Paleontologists regularly order discoveries in chronological order and estimate their age. Knowing the age of rocks allows paleontologists to assign known values to rocks and fossils to firm up the known historical calendar.

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
5 Generations Ago

30 Phil, Chapter 31: Sartre and Existentialism
Touchstones: Anxiety, Consciousness, and Bad Faith

Jean-Paul Sartre arrived in the Material World on June 21, 1905. Born in Paris to a modest family. Sartre, the chain-smoking existentialist who frequented Parisian cafes, is most remembered as an activist writer and for his idea of “bad faith.” 

16th Amendment

Allows the government via Congress to collect income taxes.

17th Amendment

Direct election of Senators by the people instead of the state legislature.

18th Amendment

Prohibition started with the 18th Amendment and lasted for just 14 years until the 21st Amendment repealed it in 1933.

19th Amendment

Granted women the right to vote, but not Native Americans.

Native Americans Citizenship

Congress granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S.

Until 1924, Native Americans were not citizens of the United States. Many Native Americans had, and still have, separate nations within the U.S. on designated reservation land.

Even after the Indian Citizenship Act, some Native Americans weren’t allowed to vote because the right to vote was governed by state law. Until 1957, some states barred Native Americans from voting.

Electron Microscope = Nanoworld Discovered!
pathogen virus background

Starting in 1931 with the invention of the electron microscope, the nanoworld became visible to us. The nanoworld contains items as small in diameter as 1 micrometer (1 micron) to a diameter 1,000 times smaller, a diameter of 1 nanometer. The nanoworld includes the smallest single celled organisms, the smallest bacteria as well as viruses, proteins, and molecules.

Note: The virus was discovered in 1892 through scientific experiments and first seen in the 1930s.

Radiocarbon Dating
We all need a little CAFFEINE

In 1946, Willard Libby created the method for dating organic materials by measuring their content of carbon-14, a newly discovered radioactive isotope of carbon. This dating technique provides objective age estimates within a few decades for carbon-based objects that originated from living organisms.

22nd Amendment

Term limits on President.

Rediscovery: City of Catalhoyuk, circa 7100 BCE
Rediscovery: City of Catalhoyuk, circa 7100 BCE

The ancient site of Çatalhöyük was not continuously known through historical records and was rediscovered in the modern era. It was first excavated by James Mellaart in 1958, who conducted major excavations between 1961 and 1965. These excavations revealed a wealth of information about Neolithic life and brought significant attention to the site. Its discovery significantly expanded understanding of Neolithic societies, particularly their complex architectural and social structures. The extensive preservation of buildings, artifacts, and art at Çatalhöyük has provided critical insights into early urban development, making it one of the most important archaeological sites for studying prehistoric human society.

All States “allow” Native Americans to Vote
silhouette of native american shaman with pikestaff

Basic Timeline:

  • 1787 – Article 1, S2, P3 of the Constitution states, “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be … determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons…excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”
  • 1868 – 14th Amendment passed, it declared all persons “born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” were citizens. However, the “jurisdiction” requirement was interpreted to exclude most Native Americans.
  • 1870 – 15th Amendment passed, “The right of citizens…to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” 
  • 1924 – Indian Citizenship Act, a.k.a. The Snyder Act, made Native Americans citizens and gave them the rights granted by the 15th amendment. State constitutions and laws still needed to be challenged and changed 1 by 1.
  • 1948 – Arizona changes constitution.
  • 1965 – Voting Rights Act passed allowing federal enforcement of voting rights.
  • 2013 – The Supreme Court guts the 1965 Voting Rights act in a purely partisan vote.

Native American voter suppression continues and is increased by Republicans, the Republican Party, and their supporters. 

24th Amendment

Outlawed poll taxes as a voting requirement in federal elections. Conservatives used poll taxes to disenfranchise black voters in several states.

Rediscovery of the Library of Ebla: circa 2350 BCE
Rediscovery of the Library of Ebla: circa 2350 BCE

In 1975, Italian archaeologist Paolo Matthiae and his team unearthed the remarkable Library of Ebla at Tell Mardikh, Syria, revealing a trove of around 20,000 clay tablets and fragments. This discovery dramatically expanded our understanding of ancient Near Eastern civilizations, introducing Eblaite as a previously unknown Semitic language and providing unprecedented insights into the culture, economy, politics, and diplomatic relations of Ebla. The tablets’ contents, ranging from administrative records to diplomatic correspondence and literary texts, have offered scholars a unique window into the early Bronze Age, highlighting the sophistication and interconnectedness of ancient societies. The rediscovery of the Ebla library stands as a milestone in archaeological and historical scholarship, underscoring the complexity of human civilization in the third millennium BCE.

Discovery: Neanderthal Symbolic Thought
Discovery: Neanderthal Symbolic Thought

It’s clear: neanderthals created art. The discovery of cave paintings in Spain, dated to over 64,000 years ago, marked a profound shift in our understanding of Neanderthals. This corrected the longstanding perception that Neanderthals lacked symbolic thought and artistic expression.

Bread Making Pushed Back
Various bread with grain in a bowl on the table.

The groundbreaking discovery that humans were making bread 14,000 years ago, before the advent of agriculture, was published in 2018. Since grain is easy to grow, does this suggest agriculture might have started a few thousand years earlier? Under study, but the discovery of bread-making from around 14,000 years ago indeed suggests that humans were experimenting with grains before the widespread adoption of agriculture, which is traditionally dated to about 12,000 years ago with the Neolithic Revolution. 

Researchers analyzing charred food remains from a Natufian hunter-gatherer site called Shubayqa 1 in northeastern Jordan found evidence of bread-like products. This finding was significant because it pushed back the earliest known use of cereal grains and highlighted the complexity of pre-agricultural human societies. The study, revealing the preparation and consumption of bread from wild cereals, provided crucial insights into the dietary habits of Natufian societies and offered new perspectives on the transition to agricultural life.

Back to Before 1000 CE Edition.

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