Leo Darroch experiences “The Past is our Present to your Future” whenever she reads this inscription in front of the monument of the former Prime Minister Earl Grey in the center of the Newcastle upon Tyne, a city in UK. (Darroch, Online) These words, according to the author, were most probably inscribed to delve upon the people the value of maintaining traditions of the Catholic Church. This was love for traditions; quite unique and true but it is also true that from our past is born our present and from our present our future.
The way we have adopted our lives and the way we are living today and caught in the vicious circle of our lives has been the result of more than 400 years of evolution of several human affairs in the form of several mile stones crossed in all social, economic, political, military as well as all in the spheres that human life can even think of. From the reign of the France’s King Louis XIV to the death of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1821, many changes took place, which had an everlasting impact not only in France and Britain but also whole of Europe and even many parts of the world, which were colonies.
These changes were predominantly on account of the reforms constituted by the rulers in their respective periods. Many reforms took revolutionary turns changing complete life styles and whole traditional values and concepts on which their life was based. Many adventurous propositions of King Louis IV led to many wars in the Europe between the years 1650-1715. Several changes were witnessed in wars, and many theories, new techniques of warfare and new practices emerged with many culminating in what is known as modern way of warfare.
He introduced special rewards for the most courageous and virtuous soldiers, and established new order to raise the power and prestige of the soldiers. King also announced for the soldiers revenue and pensions, which would increase according to the capability of the soldier. This was the established in the name of Saint Louis and only officers who had been serving in the troops and on the basis of merit and distinguished services were considered as eligible for the same and would get special honors and rewards.
Today also we can see same military orders in several nations. Army officers are bestowed with various honors and rewards on virtue of their bravery and valor. According to historians, the reign of Louis XIV was beginning of the modern state. Many of the things we see today like centralized government, a centralized civil bureaucracy, national legislation, a national judiciary was initiated under the reign of Louis XIV.
(Page, Online) Louis XIV was considered as the greatest ruler of his age and time and the impact of the reforms he laid we can still feel today. Years 1769 to 1821 saw rise of Napoleon Bonaparte in France, who is still known as the Emperor of swords unleashing his power over all Europe as well as Russia and threatened British Monarchy but according to historians, he was not only a monarch but also a great administrator.
He left for his subjects and for their coming generations an incessant impact of his intelligence and heart; 20,000 miles of imperial roads, 12,000 miles of regional roads, thousands miles of canals were the efforts of Napoleon’s long sightedness. (Weider, Online) He also built the Great Cornice road along the Mediterranean coast, and the mountain roads, which were laid along the Alps through Simplon Pass and Mont Cenis, and many harbors were also expanded.
(Weider, Online) It was his innovative and thought process that has made our travel smooth and easy and till today these roads are the lifelines of our economy and our whole life. There is also no doubt that the period of industrial and scientific revolution only made possible for us to zoom with a speed across these roads. Reaching destinations now takes very less time in contrast to the past. Napoleon also started various think tanks and research centers in France to begin their work on projects deemed very important for the national economy.
He also set up an Industrial Board to facilitate the provision of data and information for the French Industry; now also there are many industrial boards helping the industries in all its spheres of activities. It was also the period of enlightenment and Napoleon took advantage of the same by establishing modern system of education. He transferred the administrative control of the public schools from the dominion of Catholic Church to the State, making schools as institutions of moral values, patriot feeling and the intelligence.
Now nuns and priests were forbidden to teach in the public schools and under the reign of Napoleon, France might had been the first ever nation to set up high schools comprising different levels often called as “lycees centrales” (Haas, 1) for students scoring high average marks and also schools imparting knowledge on trade, mining, astronomy and varied related subjects, and now when we look at our schools today, we find the same system. In all the public schools, we are taught different subjects and even children of today are graded and put on the role in the schools depending on the interest of their subjects and also on their grade level.
Napoleon also developed a civil code, which is still in force in France, known as the Code of Napoleon. (Haas, 1) Between the years seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were the years of many changes; the Age of Absolutism, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, the American & French Revolutions entered the lives of people of Britain, France, Europe and slowly yet steadfastly creped into the world with new thoughts, enlightenment, scientific discoveries and industrial revolution. Scientific revolution, which was thought to begin around 15th century, changed the scientific ideas which were popular in physics, astronomy and biology.
Thoughtful and intelligent minds, scientists and scholars were questioning on the various beliefs and practices. People started believing sun as the center of the Universe, which was not so few decades back, secondly, the Aristotelian theory on the matter as continuous and made of Earth, Water, Air, Fire got changed to the notion that matter of atomic. Scientific revolution also questioned the predominant religious thoughts on the God and the existence of the Earth to the extent that we still believe such things today. We still believe Sun is the center of the whole Universe and now we question every thing, which is religious and natural.
We often find ourselves asking what is God and what is nature? Is there any thing like God because no science has discovered this so for; we believe what is scientific? French revolution brought social changes; nobility and Feudal lordship was abolished and women, poor and the middle class got all the economic, social and political rights which were withheld by them before the revolution whereas after the American revolution, there was new hope of light for the colonists. The new nation that was created formulated new laws and new ideas with own governance providing common defense and general welfare.
The effect of the changes brought about by the revolution we can see till today: women, poor and middle class people enjoy more rights today. Women can enter into any occupation of her choice and the poor and the middle class can exert all their social and political powers. All around us, we can see equality, fraternity, secularism and continuous progress. Though we are now wearing different style of clothes, live in the architecturally different houses having power of electricity enabling us to enjoy everything world is providing yet these are the fruits of those periods of 400 years old.
The age of enlightenment during the same era made us perpetuate to think rationally on every aspect of life, which previously bounded us to age-old superstitious beliefs. Now whatever we are taught, we have every right to think on rational grounds. Philosophers of the period of enlightenment like Pascal, Descartes, Bayle, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau told us to adopt and believe in our power of reasoning. (Rempel, Online) Today too we could see ourselves discovering new things and every time new waves of thought process.
We are today no doubt as a consequence of the revolutions of our bygone days, with more rights to get education, follow our religious ideals and political endeavors and enter into nationalist’s thoughts. We have more freedom, more privileges and more objects of luxury. We can reach across the globe sitting at home with the help of new technologies but at the same time, we have also confided ourselves in selfishness. With the modern techniques of warfare and nuclear bombs, we are always at the threshold of risk and moreover our scientific endeavors are rendering us more vulnerable to the threat of environment degradation and economic hatred.
But overall we are now imbibed and bestowed with the greatest powers which should be enjoyed by human beings like their natural rights, rational thoughts, equality, secularism, nationalism and above all continuous progress. Works Cited Darroch, Leo. “The Past is our Present to your Future”. Internet (2002) Available: http://www. latin-mass-society. org/leounavoce. htm, April 3, 2008. Haas, Werner. “The Reforms of Napoleon and Their Impact on Europe. ”
Internet (2007) Available: http://www. associatedcontent.com/article/257247/the_reforms_of_napoleon_and_their_impact. html? cat=37, April 3, 2008. Page, Thomas M. “Age of Absolutism”. Internet. Available: http://history2. professorpage. info/absolutism. htm, April 3, 2008. Rempel, Gerhard. “AGE OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT. ” Internet. Available: http://mars. wnec. edu/~grempel/courses/wc2/lectures/enlightenment. html, April 3, 2008. Weider, Ben. “The Assassination of Napoleon. ” Internet. Available: http://www. napoleon-series. org/ins/weider/c_assassination_w. html, April 3, 2008.
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