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War and Human Nature Essay

Ever since history began being recorded, war and humanity have been inseparable. Empires rose and fell, most of them through and by fighting and bloodshed. Honor was bestowed unto great warriors and conquerors; in other words, blood could be referred to as the ink that has drafted human history (Chambers et al, 2009). The question which lingers is: is war an inevitable attribute of human character or is it specific to time and place? Many historians, philosophers and social scientists have come up with various arguments in favor or against the two conclusions about war.

To be really specific about war patterns, this essay uses the Dutch Revolt and the Seven Year War to discuss this pattern of war. It is important first to analyze or rather discuss the cause of wars in order to understand their nature. War can be defined as a violent or forceful contention between two or more parties. It is a state in which empires, groups of people, states or nations engage in declared and hostile and armed conflicts, or such a period when such conflict is going on.

One school of thought holds it that man is not at liberty to choose or define his actions, and therefore wars will always be an unavoidable eventuality. With this belief, war becomes necessary and inescapable; an integral element in the definition of humanity. The only option man has is to minimize its ravages. An opposing school of thought maintains that man actually has the ability to choose and therefore war is his entire responsibility since it is a consequence of his choices (Chambers et al, 2009). I choose to go with the latter.

The Dutch Revolt occurred between the 1568 and 1609 and was an uprising by seventeen provinces of the greater Spanish Empire which was a predecessor of the Eighty Years’ War and the birth of the Dutch Republic. The reasons for the revolt were taxation and the rise in influence of the Protestant Christian movement. The lower parts of the Spanish empire where the Seventeen Provinces existed were annexed after a series of intermarriages and successive conquests. The region was wealthy, and paid heavy taxes to support Charles V’s campaigns in his disparate territories scattered all over Europe.

In addition, these territories were important trading partners to entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, and wars were disrupting trade (Chambers et al, 2009). Secondly, Protestants were growing in affluence, Charles V and his successor Phillip II considered it their responsibility to fight Protestantism, considered inappropriate by Catholicism. On its part, the Seven Years’ War is sometimes referred to as the First World War since it involved all the major powers in Europe, lasting between 1756 up to its conclusion after the signing of the treaties of Huberstusburg and Paris in the year 1763.

The war was triggered by the French’s seizure of British Minorca and the invasion of Saxony by Frederick the Great. Mainly based on struggle for power and territory, it spread to Africa, India, North and South America and the Philippines. The war had over 1 million casualties and resulted in major shifts in power especially in North America (Chambers et al, 2009). It is evident that a series of decisions by men, particularly the quest for wealth, power and affluence is responsible for the outbreak of war (Chambers et al, 2009).

Man, through the social, cultural and political evolution process deviates from conditions of tranquility, causing conflict between fellow men and later between states or nations. It is for this reason that during wartime, humanity goes into a state of seeking peace, aware of the destructiveness of war. The conclusion is therefore that war is, by its nature, specific to time and place, as determined by the decisions of men during such a time and place.

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