Essay: Religion on World Events

Pages: 5 (1499 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] The events that led to this movement were many and varying and each nation had different specific reasons for venturing onto the high seas to expand their knowledge and power base. Essentially Western European nations had to grown and explore or face the risk of becoming overrun by those nations who were expanding their power through colonizing efforts and means.

During this 300-year period of history, different nations from Western Europe played significant roles in its development. The need and desire for new trade routes eventually began this fervor of exploration. Many products such as fine fabrics and silks, spices, teas, opium, artwork, literature and other consumables were in high demand in European nations from the Eastern part of the globe. Those traders who could establish trade routes could also expand their power. Spain, Portugal, and England were the major exploratory forces that set the pace for this new age of exploration and discovery.

Economic forces were no doubt the main driving force behind the push to explore and capture new lands for materialistic purposes. Although the processes of shipbuilding, navigation and sustained living were definitely improved through the technological breakthroughs the Renaissance brought, it was essentially the practical economic forces which put the technology to use during this time. As a result mercantilism became a popular means to economically control and model a nation's power status and becomes extremely important in understanding the age of exploration itself.

Mercantilism is an economic policy that suggests that there is a limited amount of money in the world and that the natural resources are most important. Geographical and traditional boundaries were mostly ignored in this economic model and gave powerful nations an excuse for colonizing other nations with impunity. Once these resources were attained, nations sought to export as much as possible and retain the money earned to acquire power under this economic model. New markets, set up by colonies became essential in achieving this aim and as a result explores sought new lands and ideas to support their masters' wishes.

During this age, competition for the natural resources in the New World were astonishing. Human life indigenous to these lands were summarily killed or enslaved. The African Slave trade was also a direct result of this movement which saw the export of black labor from Africa to help work and sustain these new markets that were established as a result of the exploration and exploitation.

Throughout the development of the new world, the nations of Western Europe were at constant struggle with themselves and the populations of their colonies. The greatest and most impactful result of this age of discovery is the development of the United States of America and the founding of a republic with high standards and values where everyman is treated equally and with a reasonable opportunity for success. America as an idea was something brand new that originated out of Western European culture and instilled a new level of respect of the individual.

The path taken to this culmination was not easy and war, slavery and genocide played a large role in its development. This does not mean we should not be grateful for what was achieved as these struggles should encourage us to embrace our history and be thankful for everyone who struggled and gave their life to such efforts.

Unfortunately, a squandered America also suggests that the work and toil completed in the Age of Discovery was wasted as well. America is the prize jewel behind the colonizing that occurred and needs to be understood as a reward and haven for those who seek to make sense of history in today's age. The most negative aspect about the age of exploration is the risk that America's downfall will also suggest that the accomplishments done during this time were wasted.

References

Arnold, J. (1999). The Causes and Results of the Reformation. IIIM Magazine Online, 1,2, 14 Mar 1999. Retrieved from http://old.thirdmill.org/newfiles/jac_arnold/CH.Arnold.RMT.2.html

Goetzmann, W.H. (1995). New lands, new men: America and the second great age of discovery. Texas State Historical Association.

Kreis, S. (2009). The Protestant Reformation. The History Guide, 2009. Retrieved from http://www.historyguide.org/earlymod/lecture3c.html

Manteufel, T. (1994). Churches in America. Concordia Publishing House 1994.

Woodward, R.L. (1968). The Merchants and Economic Development in the Americas, 1750-1850. Journal of inter-American studies, 10 (1), 134-153. [END OF PREVIEW]

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