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History is not my enemy it is my guide to the future. This week’s reading have been very insightful and surprisingly interesting. Although I have said that I tend to find history quite boring, that’s honestly a lie. I do find history very interesting, and here is the ‘but’ History is can be grim for minorities and women. Not to come off as prideful but it takes a toll on my emotions when I learn about my history. Now I look back on my past history lessons and realize my resentment for the subject were all due to my educators.
My past educators were poorly taught thus poorly taught me and my peers. Until reading Jared Diamond Guns, Germs, and Steel I thought Africans were taken as slaves and natives conquered by Europeans because they were non-European.
However as Diamond states ‘History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among people’s environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves.
’ My initial reaction to that statement was it makes sense because if Europeans were targeting natives based on biological differences they would have to know of those biological differences prior to their first arrival. Which Diamond further goes on to explain is that for a civilization to be advanced begins with farming. Farming is only possible in regions that have plants and animals that can be easily domesticated. Something as simple as food supply is the foundation to every aspect of civilization.
Hunter gatherer civilizations had major setbacks because they constantly had to hunt for food were as sedentary lifestyle eliminates the need to constantly look for food.
Also the presence of germs only disadvantaged the natives even more because all major biological epidemics began from contacts with animals. So since farming civilizations built up an immunity to the germs from animals the natives did not and severely impacted the population. Again having access to easily domesticated plants and animals was what put the natives at a huge disadvantage not the biological differences. Also again my educators made me believe history was misogynistic. When in fact all I was really learning was the history of misogyny.
The women of ancient Egypt did not face gender boundaries. Rather ancient Egyptian society was heavily based on economic and social classes. Egyptian women were allowed to divorce, obtain many occupations, own or sell their property, and even free slaves. Like many other historians I wonder also why did the rest of the world reflect the exact opposite? The role social class plays in Egyptian society is what makes Egyptian women roll in ancient civilization so unique. To conclude my favorite reading of this week was Hammurabi’s Code of laws. As mentioned before I used to find that history was misogynistic, I was referencing examples like this. Hammurabi’s set of laws were overflowing with misogyny and extremism. For example most of laws explain that in his society all women must be owned by a man.
In certain situations if the marriage failed she should be returned to her father’s house and the money he paid for her would be settled. However in majority of his laws that state a woman’s wrong doing no matter how minor the act resulted in her being put to death. His law 105 states that if a nun walks into a bar she should be put to death, but a man can strike another man which could lead to the victims death and yet only pay a fine. Finally majority of the laws are prime examples of extremism and radical points of views. As a few laws state the crime of incest result in the death penalty. I do find incest immoral but do I do not believe people who participate in deserve gruesome death penalties. Hammurabi’s laws have not changed my mind on capital punishment but it does give me a better view as to why people do not believe it is necessary
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