Stephanie Villavicencio: Anxiety Abroad 2016

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The gargoyle of Notre-Dame contemplates Paris. (Photo by JW Bailly CC BY 4.0)

Anxiety Abroad by Stephanie Villavicencio, FIU Honors College July 2016 I lived thousands of miles from home for a month and though my anxiety assumed otherwise, I survived! I’m in the middle of lunch, sitting across from my mother and I’m trying to hide the tears. I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m afraid. I leave to Europe for a month in the morning and I can’t do it. I paid an exorbitant amount to participate in a study abroad program and I’m convinced that I just can’t. What if I forget my passport? Or lose my luggage? What if something terrible happens and I never get to see my family again and — Panic attack. This is what I’m most afraid of. My anxiety holding me back, keeping me from living the life I want to live but am too afraid to. So I packed up my fears, got on a plane, and flew to France.

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Stephanie and her France 2016 class of FIU Honors in Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors (Photo by JW Bailly CC BY 4.0)

Museum days were some of the hardest because crowded places are the bane of my existence. A crowded room may as well be a giant panic button to my brain, but I made myself focus on the lectures and the history behind each work of art, instead, each brushstroke, every color. The hardest day had to be the one when I hiked in the French Alps. After a long uphill drive and a huge, beautiful lunch we started our trek. Not being in top physical shape, I was nervous I’d get lost, left behind, or just fall off the side of the mountain. So on the way up, when I start to lose my breath, I’m reminded of the fun fact that air is thinner and breathing is harder while one is on a mountain. Overthinking. The beginnings of anxiety. In my frenzied state, I try to calm myself down with a sip from my water bottle and end up spilling half. Cue panic attack. Now I’m going to die of lack of oxygen and dehydration. As certain as I am that this is my final resting place, that here, among the cows, is where I will die, somehow, I make it to the top. By some divine miracle I reach the top red in the face, short of breath, exhausted, sweaty. The top. Later in the month we took a day trip to the site of the World War II landings in Normandy, a region whose history was rife with violence and tragedy. We visited various battle sites and after a day filled with tellings of sacrifice, death and destruction, I was physically and emotionally spent, trapped with my thoughts in my own head, contemplating life, death, and who deserved which. We ended that day at Normandy Cemetery on Omaha beach, also referred to as Bloody Omaha for the sheer number of lives lost on its shores. Climbing down to the actual beach as a class was surreal, knowing that lovers and families were potentially sunbathing in the very spot a soldier breathed his last. It was surreal and simultaneously beautiful; knowing that people were free to do so thanks to the selfless sacrifice of another. So though I, personally, am not entirely confident in my appearance and never would have thought I’d be one to do so; though we had no swimsuits or towels or any previous intention of doing so, we all stripped down to our underwear and celebrated that freedom. And while that day saw me constantly tormented by my own thoughts, that moment my skin met the freezing ocean, all the weight was swept off and away with the current and I was joyful and alive and free. Now, a month since I’ve been stateside, I look back on the girl crying in Nordstrom Cafe, and while she’s the same person with the same fears and anxieties, she knows now that she has the strength to overcome them. Living with anxiety is never as simple as “getting over it” and deciding not to let it bother you, and this trip helped me realize that coping with anxiety is about acknowledging your fears and limitations, while refusing to let them define you. Check out John W Bailly’s study abroad programsFrance Study Abroad Italy Study Abroad Spain Study Abroad

Rachel Young: Live to Work or Work to Live? 2016

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Weekend street market in Lyon. (Photo by Rachel Young CC by 4.0) 

Live to Work or Work to Live? 
by Rachel Young, FIU Honors College 
July 2016

Here are my thoughts on varying lifestyles and their effects after having lived abroad in France for a month.

It was a Friday evening and I was sitting in a mandatory study abroad meeting to go over all the technicalities of traveling and the university regulations that would still apply to all of us once we were on French soil. After hearing about what we should and should not do while abroad, we turned to something hardly any of us had thought about; adjusting when we returned. We were told there were stages of adjusting. We were told we would feel out of place returning. We were told it would be a process. Months later I’m struggling to recall how I once lived the way the majority does here in the States, namely Miami.

Spending a month in France challenged me, both physically and mentally, and truly changed who I am and how I see myself and humanity in every light. From hiking the French Alps to drinking wine with a holocaust survivor to sitting in a park eating falafels in the Jewish-Gay Quarter on Bastille Day, I realized that there is more to life than the mundane. My time in France allowed me to compare the typical lifestyle in Miami to the typical lifestyle in Paris. For one, I found that the majority of people have a firm grasp on what it means to enjoy life and most importantly enjoy your life. I emphasize the idea of the self because that is a very vital aspect of French culture. Though they have collective tendencies and are a very resilient people, they live their lives the way they wish to live them, without fear of judgement; something I admire and aspire to incorporate into my day-to-day life. The French have a deep understanding of the difference between working to live and living to work. What drives us is what we should be questioning.

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Rachel Young and her France 2016 class of FIU Honors in the Jewish-Gay Quarter in Paris. (Photo by JW Bailly CC by 4.0) 

The sense of growth that I feel is something I want to preserve and I’ve been finding it difficult to do so given the atmosphere I’m in. Though it is difficult to strip France of its beauty to try and figure out why the quality of life seems to be so much more enriching, I’ve tried with every ounce of fiber in my body and I’ve come to the conclusion that it simply has to do with the environment one is in. I’ve encountered maybe a handful of South Florida residents that maintain this European mentality and they usually grew up elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, South Florida is rich with culture, but pales in comparison to the history and resume that France has. How can we even compare?

I guess what I want readers to take away from my experience and my words is, take a step back and evaluate how you’re living your life and don’t feel discouraged to question societal norms and more relevantly, regional norms. It may seem like a daunting task, but every journey begins with the first step.

Addis Gonzalez: Scientia est Potentia 2016

Addis Gonzalez in front of the Jean-François Champollion’s tomb in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. (Photo by Rachel Young CC by 4.0) Scientia est Potentia
by Addis Gonzalez, FIU Honors College Alumna
July 2016

Plot: Division 18, #2
Death: Mar. 4, 1832
In the British Museum of London you will find the Rosetta Stone. If you look closely, you can see that it is composed of three different languages. At the top and middle are hieroglyphic and demotic writing, both of which were incomprehensible until the early 19th century. At the bottom you will see Ancient Greek inscription which scholars used to decipher the other two languages. This is partly attributed to Jean-François Champollion, who transliterated Egyptian scripts in Paris in 1822.

Champollion was born December 23, 1790 as the last of seven children to Jeanne-Françoise Gualieu and to Jacques Champollion. His mother was not too present in his life and his father was a notorious drunk. He was raised mostly by his older brother Jacques-Joseph, a successful archaeologist who wanted to join Napoleon’s Egyptian Expedition. This is said to have influenced Champollion’s early-on passion for Egypt. Having a great talent for philology since a young age, Champollion learned a dozen languages by the time he was 16. This caught the attention of Joseph Fourier, who was the first to expose him to the mysterious hieroglyphs.
From that moment on, he declared that he would be the one to decode Egyptian hieroglyphs.

The Champollion brothers continued to express their passion for knowledge while under the new Royalist regime when they established Lancaster schools to provide the general population with an education. Since ultra-royalists did not believe in education for all classes, these schools were considered revolutionary endeavors. Taking it one step further, Champollion led an uprising in 1821 where he and a band of Grenobleans stormed the citadel and removed the bourbon royalist flag and replaced it with the tricolor flag. Although he was charged with treason and went into hiding, he was eventually pardoned and able to continue his work.

There is a constant stream of passion seen in this man’s life that is invigorating and truly inspiring. He comes at all aspects of life with full force. In his eyes, the mysterious and unattainable is captivating and close in sight. He ties himself to a foreign culture that was more than three millennia and 2,000 miles apart from his own. He did this while making his political presence known in a time of turmoil in his own country. The only aspect of Champollion that I do not agree with was his failure to mention the contribution Young made to decrypting the hieroglyphs. I believe that one should always give credit where credit is due.

Just like Champollion, I am in a constant pursuit for knowledge. From a young age, I too shared a love for language and the individuality it brought to different cultures. Those individualities also cultivate commonalities between shared interest groups, regardless of time or space. My dreams in life have always been to learn about as many cultures as possible and travel every inch of this planet. Essentially, it is an endless search for a sense of familiarity with the unknown in order to feel the unspoken bond between us all. To me, this is exactly what Champollion embodies.

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Addis Gonzalez’s France 2016 class of FIU Honors in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. (Photo by JW Bailly CC by 4.0)

Gaining a deeper sense of familiarity and understanding changes our perception of the unknown. There is no fear, no need for any possible future presidents to feed on phobias of the masses or offerings of regressive structures such as proposed massive walls that induce segregation. There is, on the other hand, opportunity for growth, acceptance, and unity.

I genuinely am a very curious person and live my life in an endless period of “Egyptomania” that expands beyond interest in the study of Ancient Egypt remains and culture to absolutely everything. More appropriately, I live my life in a period of “Enlightomania”. I’m sure there are others like me whose thirst for knowledge is never quenched. Luckily, I was born in a country who fought for the ability for me, a young Latina woman, to receive an education. Countries, such as those in the Middle East, aren’t as lucky. Women receive an education that is different from men, in segregated classrooms taught only by other women. Education is a growing experience and the thought of people receiving it in a limiting environment is like imagining a person walking through a free city with 50 lbs of chains strapped to them.

Champollion and those who sought to understand the world’s past, present, and future truly make humanity a magnificent thing to be apart of. Even so, I believe that we still have a ways to go in order to expand our horizon of understanding so that all are able contribute equally.

Rachel Young: 31 Days 2016

En route to Montparnasse (Photo by Rachel Young CC by 4.0)  31 Days 
By Rachel Young, FIU Honors College
July 2016

Start – Montparnasse Bienvenüe 
End – Abbesses (Butte Montmartre)

31 days to scour every inch of this city
31 days to ride every metro line 
31 days to delve into thousands of years worth of history 
31 days is all
31 days, it’s fine 

But will it be enough? 
Will it be enough for me to find myself or even begin to?
Will it be enough for me to realize life is our greatest gift but still so rough? 

31 days 
31 days to feel feelings I’ve never felt before
31 days to sympathize and feel reborn 
31 days to fall in love with timeless art
31 days and in Paris I’ve left my heart

Fluorescent lights and chipped blue tile
It’s not until my 30th day I realize finding beauty in everything is so vital 
The rush of the damp underground air
The mother combing her daughter’s unruly hair

31 days to climb every step
31 days, not one overslept
31 days, 29 stops
31 days, not even close to being enough 

I find comfort in my metro seat
I find comfort in the 18th 
For that I take two lines from home 
And find myself in Abbesses 

With just a swipe of my Navigo 
I ascend from the steps of Montmartre to the steps of the Sacre Coeur 
Where did the time go? 

From sex shops to Moulin Rouge 
To Piaf’s early stages 
Pigalle sets the bar high 
I feel the need to remember all faces 
I feel I need more time

Place de la Concorde, you’ve seen Paris grow up
From the French Revolution to the various Tour de France revolutions, you’ve had the front seat
Standing tall next to the Tuileries, in awe of your grandeur I’m trumped

31 days to relate to a tragedy, a lifetime to carry out a heavy responsibility
31 days to cross every ‘pont’
31 days and Rue du Bac leads me to a shop full of taxidermy 
31 days, hey there’s that metro font!

31 days, metro closes in 5
31 days we’ve reached Rennes 
31 days, this stop is barely alive
31 days this city I’ll always defend

Montparnasse we meet again 
Bienvenüe would have loved the gem you’ve become 
Your seemingly endless tunnel brings me comfort 
The lavender rooted in the gardens of the Jean Moulin museum, I’m home

31 days, how long has it been?
31 days I feel at home
31 days so much accomplished since
31 days, worth all the miles flown

31 days I once had
31 days have gone
31 days and we’re already preparing to land
31 days, Paris I’ll always call you home

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Gare Montparnasse’s never-ending walkway (Photo by Rachel Young CC by 4.0)

Reflection
I owe my experience in Paris to the metro. Without my Navigo card and my pocket map, I don’t know what I would have seen or how I would have felt. The metro makes moving around the city so easy it’s almost a crime not to take advantage of it. What I’m going to miss the most of Paris is the metro and the emotional ties I have to it. Back in the spring semester, my group and I chose Line 12 and I can say it’s easily my favorite metro line. The connection I’ve developed with the various stops and even the metro cars themselves is something I cannot put into words. The moment I realized I was in Paris and the various existential crises I had throughout the trip took place on this metro line. My relationship and my connections with this city will stay with me throughout my lifetime and a lot of those connections I owe to this line. The facility that the metro gave me to explore the deep crevices of Paris and to delve further into the history and culture that France holds is something I will value forever. Merci beaucoup et à bientôt, ligne 12.

Tatiana Arevalo: Declaration 2019

Louis XVI – Tatiana Arevalo

Marc Sandoz, Antoine-François Callet, 1741-1823, Ed. Éditart – Quatre Chemins, Tours, 1985.

Death

“The life of one for the lives of millions”

I did everything I could that’s what I kept repeating to myself as we were escorted out of the palace and into the carriage, I didn’t care to know where we were going it was all the same to me I knew what was going to happen,

My heart beat racing, a fire burning much like the pitchforks that await me,

I close my eyes only to hold back the tears, I have tried to fix the mistakes of others that came before me, only to be left with the blame,

The memories flood my mind much like the tears I am holding back, they bring me to a simpler time when I could easily navigate my way through life, the tutors would teach me about math, science, physics, nautical explorations,

They told me that all I needed in life was these subjects and if I knew them through and through I would be a successful king,

The one thing they failed to teach me is how to understand the needs of the people, human emotion a lesson that cannot be learned from a book,

There is simply nothing I can do now because the people have made up their mind or should I say their hearts, once emotion suppresses the logic and rationality that a man has then there is nothing to be done to stop him,

I know what is they want for they seek my death so that they may establish a new form of government one where I am not present,

I’ve been trapped in a palace since birth unable to see what the life of a commoner was like, how could anyone learn from simply being a meer listener to the gossip that runs rampid in the streets,

I have failed my people, I have failed my wife, I have failed my children, I have failed myself, and most importantly I have failed France

Now there is only one split second remaining for the transition to occur from king to commoner.

Explanation: Louis XVI like most kings has been protected for most of his life from the outside world, everything he knows has either been taught to him through a book which has an altered perspective with concepts only certain people understand. This makes it very hard for him to comprehend his people, historians claim that he was often aloof, distant and reserved. It should be noted that during his upbringing with tutors they often advised him that in order to be king he must have a stern approach towards his people because if not they will disobey him. However, there are two ways in which power can be acquired the first is that you make people fear you and the second is that people give you respect. At this point in his life before he faces his execution he begins to understand how he could have avoided this situation had he been more vocal about what he was trying to fix within France. His predecessors have left him with a crumbling economy, which has left people out of work, without adequate housing, and without food. The burden was too much and since he is the person that is representing the state of France as a whole it would only make sense for the revolutionaries to kill this symbolic figure of power. As for death it is certain, no one is ever truly ready for it, not even kings as seen with this poem, he now understands what the commoner has to go through when they are sentenced to the guillotine. Now realizing how the citizens think, he starts to sympathize with them, he becomes humanized at a point where it’s already too late. Also towards the end of the poem I made it so that the last thing that he says failed is France because after all its the state above everything else even before oneself.

Historical Analysis: At this point the year is 1789 King Louis XVI can feel the power of the citizens growing, him and his family are brought to the Tuileries Palace. The safest option for his survival is to him to leave, but as a royal instead of escaping on a normal looking carriage that doesn’t call so much attention he decides to leave on a large royal carriage to Austria. This gold looking carriage calls the attention of the people in Varen which is a French city close to the Austrian border, and from here is he is found and brought back to Paris. Once he got back to Paris documentation was found that shows he was speaking to Austria about launching an attack on the revolutionaries which is why he was trying to go escape. All the nobles had already made it there, with him being the last one to go. It is difficult to plan a strategic attack when your own military cant even suppress the revolutionaries. He did the smartest thing he could do which was get the backing of a foreign power. Then in 1791 he tries to leave the city of Paris, but his plan is quickly found out and he is militarily forced to return back to the prison. Then in 1793, the National Assembly finally makes a decision regarding King Louis XVI and his family, the punishment is death by guillotine. During the time while him and his family were kept as prisoners, the National Assembly began to adopt some of the principles of the Declaration of the Rights Man, but this was all overshadowed by the problems that were plaguing the war at the time.

Courtesy of memedroid


Courtesy of me.me

Human Rights

The pursuit of human rights have been at the forefront of French ideology for centuries from the ideals that started in the enlightenment that would eventually lead to the American revolution and later the French one. In 1778 Louis XVI signed the Treaty of Alliance that promised the American revolutionaries military and economic backing if Great Britain formally issued a declaration of war. The expansion of human rights abroad, the French strategically lost more by siding with the revolutionaries, but it was mainly through a hatred of Great Britain that they decided to help. The Americans had broke away from the British, risked it all, and due to help from the French the underdogs were able to succeed. Around the time that Americans were writing up their constitution the French were starting their revolution, and the Americans were torn at the decision of helping the French. Many of them felt as though they had to repay the French for their assistance while others though that the United States should focus on domestic issues instead of focusing on an international scale. Many claimed the United States should not try to make alliances so early on since they were just starting out as an independent country.

Louis XIV had a distant mentality from the former Louis XIV who is known more famously by his quote “L’Etat, c’est moi” or “the state that’s me”. He had tried to institute policies that had been oppressive towards people such as abolishing torture confessions, he tried to get the nobles to pay more in taxes to help those commoners that were struggling to make their harvest (and of course the nobles refused), and abolished the death penalty for those that left the army. Although he did have good intentions for the people in time he took reactive measures to situations that were either beyond his control such as the crop failures of the 1780s which caused grain scarcity, or things that he could not get approved such as lowering of taxes. With the debt surrounding the 1763 Seven Years War instead of continuing to take from French Banks Louis XVI should looked for financial assistance abroad in order to lessen the burden on taxpayers. Although he did all these things in the name of human rights those that chose to join the revolution would preach that the government of France was corrupt, and that they joined in the name of creating this notion of fundamental human rights. This would then be a contradiction when Napoleon Bonaparte would commit crimes against the citizens in the countries he conquered.

During the reign of Louis XVI he saw the drafting of the 1789 Universal Declaration of the rights of mans and citizens which would then in 1948 become the model for the United Nations Universal Declaration of human rights. It came to be in 1789 and then in 1948 in Paris, France the birthplace of this document, it was ratified by 48 different countries and is a document that had become the pillar of the United Nations. As a student that participates in Model United Nations I find interesting that the original birthplace of human rights is where I am going to be this summer. Louis XVI could have taken advantage of the opportunity to be the one to commemorate this notion of human rights into the French Government, but he truly didn’t understand what it is they were fighting for, and his inability to do so made him pass up the opportunity of a lifetime. The culture that France embraces so much today came from the people not the state, even though in today’s society the state is the one that makes the decision on a larger scale. For a leader the dessivive, firm action should have been without hesitation, but this King often hesitated to approve anything, which was his downfall.  An avid lover of philosophy inspired by the ideals of the enlightenment, which said that a king exist independently of his subjects, missed the opportunity to be remembered for something truly extraordinary.

Courtesy of Esmemes
Courtesy of awwmemes

Democracy  

“Universal Hope”

The time of the people has come, a long awaited moment that felt like it was only yesterday,

All faith has been lost in the king, for his power seems not to phase us,

We’ve stayed silent for far too long, felt the blows of the sticks as they beat whatever life we have left in us,

Before our bodies used to ache for food, now they ache for revenge a quenching thirst that can only be stratified by the fall of a head,

My crops have died by the cold frost, and our patience has been growing thin,

We seek to plant our voices into the government, to be heard, to have rights, to be treated as citizens instead of subjects,  

My body has been undergoing intense stress for months, or is it years,

For I can’t seem to recall,

Meticulous planning, marches, shouts, cries, protest, tears, pride, justice, then came the revolution,

As our blood boils it changes into a different color, so when I die on the battlefield I can bleed blue, white, and red,

The colors of change.

Democratic Theory: There are several factors that helped the French population in rising up to overthrow the government. When the movement first started it was supposed to be a peaceful movement then later on it  turned into a dictatorship under Napoleon Bonaparte. During this time they had been inspired by the Declaration of the Rights of Man which came as a direct result of the ideals proposed by the enlightenment. Fed up with the burden of taxes and an inability to find food many of them found it better to pick up arms rather than try and negotiate with King XVI who had shown that he had very little interest in them. The most successful democratic movements happen when there are more people involved in the movement than the military forces from the Authoritarian regime that try to suppress them. Also France’s climate is relatively good meaning that crops are able to flourish, according to Jones’s theory the reason why democratic transitions are more likely to occur in certain areas, is because they have an abundance of ……..Water. The reasoning being that the central authority cannot stop the rain from falling from the sky, as we know the more it rains the more crops grow meaning they are less likely to follow an authority when all they really need is given to them by nature. In some countries the main source of revenue might come about as a result of a resource that cannot be easily taken advantage of by everyone such as oil, diamonds, metals, etc.

Courtesy of Quick Meme

Philosopher King

Interestingly enough even though Louis XVI was a king, and I Tatiana Arevalo a mere student I found that him and I shared a love for academia. During his time at Versailles (Fun fact: he was the last king to live in this palace)  he had tutors from all of the world to come to teach him about philosophy, religion, chemistry, wood making, and physics he spent much of his time at the palace in these study areas. I too enjoy learning very much sometimes taking on more than I can handle, but I absorb knowledge like a sponge, and am fascinated by new information. Sometimes for me it’s easier to try and figure out a math problem, read a poem, or write an essay, than it is for me to figure a person out. Louis XVI found it fun to sit in his chambers away from all his problems and get lost in the knowledge, and often I found that when I do that I find myself being hostile towards people. He was intrigued by large problems, but often lacked the social awareness or understanding to help those that lived in France. For me as terrible as it sounds I prioritize school over everything which leads me to have less time to spend with people. Luckily for me unlike Louis XVI once I’m done with my school work I know how to relax, and I have the ability to do so because I’m just a commoner. Louis XVI must have had a perpetual stress, and he probably never got the chance to relax or the chance to be spoken to like a normal person because he was always king. Often he listened to the nobles never really exerting power for himself, which is something I face too, instead of listening to the options of others, I should have confidence in my own abilities to make decisions. He should have listened to them, but ultimately made the decision he thought was best for his subjects, and felt strong in his ruling.

A foreigner in your own country

Louis XVI was referred to as a poor king even before the people hated him, an attitude that still persists in France today, however people do acknowledge his efforts noting that he was just placed in a situation of misfortune. His wife Marie Antoinette was Austrian, to the French this was seen as someone occupying the position that should have been given to a French royal. Marie never cared for the French people, I mean why would she when that needed at the palace, and she was very occupied with fashion (she was a good trendsetter). The attitudes of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were both aloof, reserved, and distant towards the people of France which made for a deadly combination that would eventually lead to their demise. They acted this way towards each other, seeing as it took them seven years to finally be intimate with each other. They looked as if they were not in constant communication which could be easily seen by other people.

Sources:

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://pages.uoregon.edu/dluebke/301ModernEurope/301Week08.htm

#frenchrevolutionmemes Instagram photos and videos. (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2019, from https://www.pdfkitapciniz.com/tag/frenchrevolutionmemes

Cadbury, D. (2003). The lost king of France: How DNA solved the mystery of the murdered son of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. New York: St. Martins Griffen.

EyeWitness to History – history through the eyes of those who lived it. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2019, from http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/

Haerpfer, C. W. (2009). Democratization (1st ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Hardman, J. (1993). Louis XVI. New Haven; London: Yale University Press. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1xp3t59

History – King Louis XVI. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/louis_xvi.shtml

Louis XVI. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2019, from https://www.memedroid.com/memes/detail/2464611/Louis-XVI

Louis XVI. (2019, January 15). Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/people/louis-xvi-9386943

Louis XVI. (2019, April 10). Retrieved from http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/history/great-characters/louis-xvi#the-french-revolution,-the-final-years-of-louis xvi

Louis XVI of France *Helps a Bunch of Rebels Overthrow Their Royal Oppressors* French People *Overthrow Their Royal Oppressors* Louis XVI of France | France Meme on awwmemes.com. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2019, from https://awwmemes.com/i/louis-xvi-of-france-helps-a-bunch-of-rebels-overthrow-ce796d0c771a42b5950d22fd96d4c471

Machiavelli, N., Cust, H. J., Whitehorne, P., Dacres, E., & Bedingfeld, T. (1967). Machiavelli. New York: AMS Press.

Marie Antoinette memes. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2019, from http://www.quickmeme.com/Marie-Antoinette

Overthrow Louis XVI Abolish the Absolute Monarchy Become a Dictatorship Become a Dictatorship | History Meme on esmemes.com. (2019, April 03). Retrieved from https://esmemes.com/i/overthrow-louis-xvi-abolish-the-absolute-monarchy-become-a-dictatorship-20990848

Mozelle Garcia: Italia America 2019

The Influence of Ancient Rome in The United States Judicial Structure

Mozelle Garcia

For the context of this website, “Ancient Rome” refers to Rome between the 8th century BCE, when Rome was founded, to its fall in the 5th century CE (1).

Legal Basis

The Twelve Tables were established around 439 BCE. They were the backbone of Roman Law throughout the height of the empire until they were replaced by the Justinian Code around 529 CE (2). The influences of the Justinian Code permeated continental Europe and most European colonies, all the way to the United States today (3).

Judicial Structure

Ancient Rome

Under the Twelve Tables, from the 5th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, the first step in “legis actiones” or “Roman legal procedure” was for the plaintiff to approach the defendant in public and call him to court. The defendant could be brought in forcefully if necessary (4). A trial was divided into a preliminary hearing where a magistrate decided if there was a case worth hearing. A magistrate is a civil officer or lay judge who administers the law, usually only in minor areas. This was a very formal process in which precision of language was a key factor in determining success or failure. If a case passed a “judex” would then try it (4). A judex was not a lawyer or magistrate, but rather a person with professional knowledge in the subject. The role of a magistrate judge in the U.S. court system is similar to that of the original magistrates in Ancient Rome. The judex would make a decision in the trial, but had no power to enforce anything. Uncooperative defendants could be brought to a magistrate who could get property seized or even make the defendant a slave to the plaintiff to work off his debt (4).

As time passed in the republic, cases became more complex and as such it was required to write issues down to present them to the judex. This led to the formulary system where the magistrate had greater power in deciding if the case should go to the judex. Later in the republic power increased for the courts again as summons could be issued by the court, trials were held exclusively before the magistrate, and it became the court’s responsibility to see through the sentence (2). These changes occurred under the “cognitio extraordinaria” period of Roman Law. Herein an appeal system also developed, which is a core component of the justice system in the United States today.

Modern United States

It is important to note that the United States Judicial Structure is built on a system of appeals. This system of appeals originated in Ancient Rome, as cases became more complicated and the legal system became more intertwined with bureaucracy (2).  As this occurred, a distinction between civil and criminal disputes began to arise. This has further developed so that the difference is major in the United States. Civil disputes involve people, companies, entities, or other groups, who have allegedly harmed another. Criminal cases on the other hand are brought by the state. A criminal act is different from a civil wrong in that it is considered harmful to society as a whole, rather than a single person or group (5). Criminal cases end in a guilty / not guilty plea or verdict, and criminals will receive punishment from the state that can come in the form of a fine, imprisonment, or in some cases the death penalty. The structure of the appeal system is depicted by the chart below.

(6)

Personally, I find the shift of the justice system in the United States to being more specialized a positive thing. This gives lawyers more flexibility in what they choose to study and practice. Being able to focus on what interests you allows you to serve the public in the most effective way, as you have greater job satisfaction and motivation (5). I am not particularly interested in working as a prosecutor or defense attorney, but rather aspire to work in the corporate sector of the law. Because of the formal institutions separating these areas in place today, that is achievable. I have the late Roman empire to thank for starting this evolution.

The judicial system in the United States also demonstrates Roman influences in that it begins with a grand judge and / or a preliminary hearing. In many States, the accused have a right to have a jury decide if there is enough evidence to go to trial (7). Furthermore, both the prosecution and defense had advocates speak on their behalf as is the practice in the United States today (8).

In Ancient Rome It was not uncommon for the trials of lower class citizens to be held outside, with much jeering from the crowd of the market or square. While all judicial proceedings take place indoors in the U.S., the less serious the offense the more informal the proceedings. An example is the chaotic, quick pace of traffic court where several cases are addressed in the span of hours. This is another manifestation of court culture in the U.S. brought from Ancient Rome where we see that there is leniency on formality depending on the case.

The Death Penalty and Discrimination

Executions were rare for Romans of high status, but for slaves and common criminals it was quite common. Imprisonment was not a legally sanctioned punishment in Ancient Rome, the most that one would be locked up was when they were awaiting trial (8). Criminals were killed publicly, for the public to rejoice in their punishment (9). The trials of lower citizens on the whole tended to be very open to the public.

In the U.S. the death penalty is highly controversial. 20 out of 50 states do not allow it (10). In those where it is allowed, it is typically very difficult to attain, and when they do there are several regulations that go along with it. To end the life of the criminal a lethal injection is usually administered (10). In Florida, for example, the jury must unanimously recommend the death penalty in order for the judge to be able to impose the sentence (10).

There are prominent arguments in the U.S. which note how, similar to in Ancient Rome, the distribution of the death penalty is not equally applied to all citizens. For example, a 2014 study found that a death sentence was three times more likely to be recommended for a black defendant than for a white one in a similar case (11). Furthermore, black sentences account for 34.2% of executions when they only make up 13.4% of the U.S. population (12). It is well known that in the United States minorities are disproportionately affected by poverty and poor education (13). On the other hand, those with greater resources can hire better attorneys and achieve more lenient sentences in that way.

This is a negative practice to have inherited from the Romans as it perpetuates an inequality in the Justice system, but it is a manifestation of Rome in the US that must be pointed out nonetheless. The systematic separation of classes is something present in many societies, but that does not mean it has to stay this way. While our judicial system has drawn inspiration from Ancient Rome in many ways, we have also refined several practices, and the application of capital punishment is an area where adjustments are still needed.


Legal Education


While education in law is considered a “distinctively Roman development,” legal education in Ancient Rome was much more informal during the earlier years of the empire (14). However, formal legal education began to rise and become more bureaucratic under the later empire. Law became increasingly centralized as the power of the state grew (14).

In the U.S. today, a legal education entails enrolling in a Law School, typically for a period of three years with exceptions being made for part-time programs. Prior to this, students must obtain a bachelor’s degree and pass the Law School Admission Test. In Law School, students are not directly taught the law, but rather are taught how to think like a lawyer. Emphasis is placed on analytical reasoning and logical thinking. With this it is clear that the core competencies of a good attorney remain the same as they were in Ancient Rome. Particularly in litigation, the teachings of Cicero are still used to teach young lawyers to be good orators.

Public Speaking

Public speaking is an essential part of being a good litigator. The devices that people use today to write their arguments and prepare for trial were also emphasized in Ancient Rome. While Greece is considered the true birthplace of rhetoric, the Romans adopted the Greek teachings and expanded upon them form around 90BCE (15). Marcus Tulius Cicero 106-43BCE) lived during the decline of the Roman Republic but was considered the greatest of Roman orators. He was a lawyer, as well as a politician and philosopher. He wrote De Inventione and De Oratore, which offered theories of oral discourse and emphasized the five canons of rhetoric, Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory, and Delivery (15).



The study and practice of rhetoric has hardly evolved since the days of the Romans. For example, today as part of the Pre-Law Certificate Program at Florida International University, students are required to learn about rhetorical theories and practices. These courses place great emphasis on the teachings of cicero and other Roman influencers. The canons of rhetoric are easily identifiable in the speeches given by politicians and senators as they strive to achieve the same goal of persuasion that their Roman counterparts had. L

Legal Jargon

One of the most prominent ways in which the influences of Ancient Rome manifest themselves in the United States Judicial Structure is through the use of Latin terminology and principles. Through classes under the Pre-Law certificate program here at FIU, an undergraduate aspiring to go to law school such as myself will become well-versed in terms such as “stare decisis, culpa en contrahendo, and pacta sunt servanda.” (2). These translate roughly to “stand by things decided” (a legal principle wherein things are decided according to precedent), “fault in contracting” (which points out the importance negotiating with care), and “agreements are to be kept” (16,17).  The prevalence of these terms as well as the principles they uphold is a clear indicator of the extent to which Ancient Roman custom is alive within the U.S.’s legal system. Stare decisis is actually outlined by table XII, as it states, “whatever the people had last ordained should be held as binding law”. This helped shape the common law system of the United States today (2). Common law is a system which builds on precedent; decisions are made by considering the outcomes of previous similar cases (17). The Ancient Romans began building the common law system as they kept records of proceedings in the later periods of the empire.

Why so Roman?

The founding fathers of the United States drew inspiration from Ancient Rome in a number of ways. Entire projects can be devoted to identifying the influences of Rome in U.S. executive and legislative strict, as well as in federal architecture and culture. Certainly, the influence of Roman judicial structure was no exception as the structure of the courts was outlined, and the system for keeping laws determined.

Implications

Taken collectively, the influences of Ancient Rome are present in nearly every aspect of the Judicial Structure in the United States today. The Romans were the first to conduct the classic trials in the way we know today, and they paved the way for the study and practice of law to become one of the most respected positions. As I prepare to enter this profession as well, I will continue to be exposed to many terms from the Latin language, rhetorical techniques, and the same system of law used in ancient times. With new knowledge about the roots of the Judicial System, I will understand more readily how everything goes together while at the same time be able to look at the negative commonalities and plan my role in changing them.


References:

  • All images are in the public domain. The chart depicting U.S. Court Structure is shared publicly via slide-share on LinkedIn.

Mozelle Garcia

For the context of this website, “Ancient Rome” refers to Rome between the 8th century BCE, when Rome was founded, to its fall in the 5th century CE (1).

Legal Basis

The Twelve Tables were established around 439 BCE. They were the backbone of Roman Law throughout the height of the empire until they were replaced by the Justinian Code around 529 CE (2). The influences of the Justinian Code permeated continental Europe and most European colonies, all the way to the United States today (3).

Judicial Structure

Ancient Rome

Under the Twelve Tables, from the 5th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, the first step in “legis actiones” or “Roman legal procedure” was for the plaintiff to approach the defendant in public and call him to court. The defendant could be brought in forcefully if necessary (4). A trial was divided into a preliminary hearing where a magistrate decided if there was a case worth hearing. A magistrate is a civil officer or lay judge who administers the law, usually only in minor areas. This was a very formal process in which precision of language was a key factor in determining success or failure. If a case passed a “judex” would then try it (4). A judex was not a lawyer or magistrate, but rather a person with professional knowledge in the subject. The role of a magistrate judge in the U.S. court system is similar to that of the original magistrates in Ancient Rome. The judex would make a decision in the trial, but had no power to enforce anything. Uncooperative defendants could be brought to a magistrate who could get property seized or even make the defendant a slave to the plaintiff to work off his debt (4).

As time passed in the republic, cases became more complex and as such it was required to write issues down to present them to the judex. This led to the formulary system where the magistrate had greater power in deciding if the case should go to the judex. Later in the republic power increased for the courts again as summons could be issued by the court, trials were held exclusively before the magistrate, and it became the court’s responsibility to see through the sentence (2). These changes occurred under the “cognitio extraordinaria” period of Roman Law. Herein an appeal system also developed, which is a core component of the justice system in the United States today.

Modern United States

It is important to note that the United States Judicial Structure is built on a system of appeals. This system of appeals originated in Ancient Rome, as cases became more complicated and the legal system became more intertwined with bureaucracy (2).  As this occurred, a distinction between civil and criminal disputes began to arise. This has further developed so that the difference is major in the United States. Civil disputes involve people, companies, entities, or other groups, who have allegedly harmed another. Criminal cases on the other hand are brought by the state. A criminal act is different from a civil wrong in that it is considered harmful to society as a whole, rather than a single person or group (5). Criminal cases end in a guilty / not guilty plea or verdict, and criminals will receive punishment from the state that can come in the form of a fine, imprisonment, or in some cases the death penalty. The structure of the appeal system is depicted by the chart below.

(6)

Personally, I find the shift of the justice system in the United States to being more specialized a positive thing. This gives lawyers more flexibility in what they choose to study and practice. Being able to focus on what interests you allows you to serve the public in the most effective way, as you have greater job satisfaction and motivation (5). I am not particularly interested in working as a prosecutor or defense attorney, but rather aspire to work in the corporate sector of the law. Because of the formal institutions separating these areas in place today, that is achievable. I have the late Roman empire to thank for starting this evolution.

The judicial system in the United States also demonstrates Roman influences in that it begins with a grand judge and / or a preliminary hearing. In many States, the accused have a right to have a jury decide if there is enough evidence to go to trial (7). Furthermore, both the prosecution and defense had advocates speak on their behalf as is the practice in the United States today (8).

In Ancient Rome It was not uncommon for the trials of lower class citizens to be held outside, with much jeering from the crowd of the market or square. While all judicial proceedings take place indoors in the U.S., the less serious the offense the more informal the proceedings. An example is the chaotic, quick pace of traffic court where several cases are addressed in the span of hours. This is another manifestation of court culture in the U.S. brought from Ancient Rome where we see that there is leniency on formality depending on the case.

The Death Penalty and Discrimination

Executions were rare for Romans of high status, but for slaves and common criminals it was quite common. Imprisonment was not a legally sanctioned punishment in Ancient Rome, the most that one would be locked up was when they were awaiting trial (8). Criminals were killed publicly, for the public to rejoice in their punishment (9). The trials of lower citizens on the whole tended to be very open to the public.

In the U.S. the death penalty is highly controversial. 20 out of 50 states do not allow it (10). In those where it is allowed, it is typically very difficult to attain, and when they do there are several regulations that go along with it. To end the life of the criminal a lethal injection is usually administered (10). In Florida, for example, the jury must unanimously recommend the death penalty in order for the judge to be able to impose the sentence (10).

There are prominent arguments in the U.S. which note how, similar to in Ancient Rome, the distribution of the death penalty is not equally applied to all citizens. For example, a 2014 study found that a death sentence was three times more likely to be recommended for a black defendant than for a white one in a similar case (11). Furthermore, black sentences account for 34.2% of executions when they only make up 13.4% of the U.S. population (12). It is well known that in the United States minorities are disproportionately affected by poverty and poor education (13). On the other hand, those with greater resources can hire better attorneys and achieve more lenient sentences in that way.

This is a negative practice to have inherited from the Romans as it perpetuates an inequality in the Justice system, but it is a manifestation of Rome in the US that must be pointed out nonetheless. The systematic separation of classes is something present in many societies, but that does not mean it has to stay this way. While our judicial system has drawn inspiration from Ancient Rome in many ways, we have also refined several practices, and the application of capital punishment is an area where adjustments are still needed.


Legal Education


While education in law is considered a “distinctively Roman development,” legal education in Ancient Rome was much more informal during the earlier years of the empire (14). However, formal legal education began to rise and become more bureaucratic under the later empire. Law became increasingly centralized as the power of the state grew (14).

In the U.S. today, a legal education entails enrolling in a Law School, typically for a period of three years with exceptions being made for part-time programs. Prior to this, students must obtain a bachelor’s degree and pass the Law School Admission Test. In Law School, students are not directly taught the law, but rather are taught how to think like a lawyer. Emphasis is placed on analytical reasoning and logical thinking. With this it is clear that the core competencies of a good attorney remain the same as they were in Ancient Rome. Particularly in litigation, the teachings of Cicero are still used to teach young lawyers to be good orators.

Public Speaking

Public speaking is an essential part of being a good litigator. The devices that people use today to write their arguments and prepare for trial were also emphasized in Ancient Rome. While Greece is considered the true birthplace of rhetoric, the Romans adopted the Greek teachings and expanded upon them form around 90BCE (15). Marcus Tulius Cicero 106-43BCE) lived during the decline of the Roman Republic but was considered the greatest of Roman orators. He was a lawyer, as well as a politician and philosopher. He wrote De Inventione and De Oratore, which offered theories of oral discourse and emphasized the five canons of rhetoric, Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory, and Delivery (15).



The study and practice of rhetoric has hardly evolved since the days of the Romans. For example, today as part of the Pre-Law Certificate Program at Florida International University, students are required to learn about rhetorical theories and practices. These courses place great emphasis on the teachings of cicero and other Roman influencers. The canons of rhetoric are easily identifiable in the speeches given by politicians and senators as they strive to achieve the same goal of persuasion that their Roman counterparts had. L

Legal Jargon

One of the most prominent ways in which the influences of Ancient Rome manifest themselves in the United States Judicial Structure is through the use of Latin terminology and principles. Through classes under the Pre-Law certificate program here at FIU, an undergraduate aspiring to go to law school such as myself will become well-versed in terms such as “stare decisis, culpa en contrahendo, and pacta sunt servanda.” (2). These translate roughly to “stand by things decided” (a legal principle wherein things are decided according to precedent), “fault in contracting” (which points out the importance negotiating with care), and “agreements are to be kept” (16,17).  The prevalence of these terms as well as the principles they uphold is a clear indicator of the extent to which Ancient Roman custom is alive within the U.S.’s legal system. Stare decisis is actually outlined by table XII, as it states, “whatever the people had last ordained should be held as binding law”. This helped shape the common law system of the United States today (2). Common law is a system which builds on precedent; decisions are made by considering the outcomes of previous similar cases (17). The Ancient Romans began building the common law system as they kept records of proceedings in the later periods of the empire.

Why so Roman?

The founding fathers of the United States drew inspiration from Ancient Rome in a number of ways. Entire projects can be devoted to identifying the influences of Rome in U.S. executive and legislative strict, as well as in federal architecture and culture. Certainly, the influence of Roman judicial structure was no exception as the structure of the courts was outlined, and the system for keeping laws determined.

Implications

Taken collectively, the influences of Ancient Rome are present in nearly every aspect of the Judicial Structure in the United States today. The Romans were the first to conduct the classic trials in the way we know today, and they paved the way for the study and practice of law to become one of the most respected positions. As I prepare to enter this profession as well, I will continue to be exposed to many terms from the Latin language, rhetorical techniques, and the same system of law used in ancient times. With new knowledge about the roots of the Judicial System, I will understand more readily how everything goes together while at the same time be able to look at the negative commonalities and plan my role in changing them.


References:

  • All images are in the public domain. The chart depicting U.S. Court Structure is shared publicly via slide-share on LinkedIn.

1.—. “Ancient Rome | Facts, Maps, & History.” Encyclopedia Britannica, www.britannica.com/place/ancient-Rome.

2. “Law in Ancient Rome, The Twelve Tables – Crystalinks.” Crystalinks Home Page, www.crystalinks.com/romelaw.html.

3. Syam, Piyali. “What is the Difference Between Common Law and Civil Law?” Law Degrees Available Online | @WashULaw, 28 Jan. 2014, onlinelaw.wustl.edu/blog/common-law-vs-civil-law/.

4. Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Roman Legal Procedure.” Encyclopedia Britannica,
http://www.britannica.com/topic/Roman-legal-procedure.

5. Haskins, Paul A. Essential Qualities of the Professional Lawyer. Amer Bar Assn, 2013.

6. Toth, Bryan. “Organization Of U.S. Court System.” Share and Discover Knowledge on LinkedIn SlideShare, 24 May 2009, www.slideshare.net/bmtoth/organization-of-us-court-system.

7. “The Criminal Justice System.” Welcome to the National Center for Victims of Crime,
victimsofcrime.org/help-for-crime-victims/get-help-bulletins-for-crime-victims/the-criminal-justice-system.

8. “Crime and Punishment.” Life in the Roman Empire, carolashby.com/crime-and-punishment-in-the-roman-empire/.

9. CMHypno. “How and Why the Romans Executed People.” Owlcation, 27 Oct. 2011,
owlcation.com/humanities/roman-executions-why-the-romans-executed-people.

10. “30 States with the Death Penalty and 20 States with Death Penalty Bans.” Death Penalty ProCon.org, 13 Mar. 2019, deathpenalty.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=001172.

11. “Facts about the Death Penalty.” DPIC | Death Penalty Information Center, Apr. 2019,
deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/FactSheet.pdf.

12. “U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: UNITED STATES.” Census Bureau QuickFacts,
http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045218.

13. US Census Bureau. “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017.” Census.gov,
12 Sept. 2018, http://www.census.gov/library/publications/2018/demo/p60-263.html.

14. Riggsby, Andrew M. “Roman Legal Education – A Companion to Ancient Education.” Wiley Online Library |Scientific Research Articles, Journals, Books, and Reference Works, 2015, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9781119023913.ch30.

15. “Origins of Public Speaking: The Roman Republic’s Adoption of Rhetoric | Public Speaking.” Lumen Learning – Simple Book Production, courses.lumenlearning.com/publicspeaking/chapter/the-roman-republics-adoption-of-rhetoric/.

 16. US Legal, Inc. “Culpa-In-Contrahendo Doctrine Law and Legal Definition.” Legal Definitions Legal Terms Dictionary | USLegal, Inc, definitions.uslegal.com/c/culpa-in-contrahendo-doctrine/.

17. —. “Pacta Sunt Servanda Law and Legal Definition.” Legal Definitions Legal Terms Dictionary | USLegal, Inc, definitions.uslegal.com/p/pacta-sunt-servanda/.

Juan Ortega: España Ida 2019

American Political Identity as Influenced by Spain

By Juan Ortega

Studying abroad in Spain with Professor John William Bailly

Propaganda promoting American imperialism

What is the United States of America? One may think of words such as “capitalist”, “democratic”, “equal”, etc. to define the idea of the United States. Documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution would likely pop into the thinker’s mind. However, all of these ideologies that frame the concept of America stem from Europe. While many may think these are adaptations of British ideas, they would be incorrect. These came from Spain.

Politically speaking, the United States adopted multiple ideas from Spanish influence. Politics is a wide umbrella of topics that can be broken down into the main three factors that keep a country prospering, functioning, and secure: economics, legislation, and military. Of these topics, the United States of America has grown to become the superpower it is today in part due to Spanish creations. From capitalism to human rights to guerrilla warfare, the United States has adopted multiple Spanish-born ideas to help grow and spread its interests.

Christopher Columbus founding the Americas, starting Spanish colonialism

Economics: CAPITALISM

The founding of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492 started the race for colonies amongst multiple European states. Funded by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Columbus’s claim of the Americas for Spain provided an immediate increase in raw materials for production and manufacturing of finished goods to be sold around the world. This was the birth of colonialism.

Colonialism was a direct result of the economic ideology of the time: mercantilism. This concept described global wealth as finite. Currency was backed by precious metals, meaning that all the wealth in the world was limited to the amount of precious metal that existed. Therefore, the economy was a zero sum game. It was the goal of all European countries to accumulate as much of the wealth as possible.

In order to accumulate such wealth, countries had to produce finished goods that would be desirable for buyers both inside and outside the country. However, this was a constant balancing act because it was believed that if imports outweighed exports that would mean wealth was leaving the country. It was the constant goal to have exports far surpass imports, meaning a country would need more colonies for even more raw materials.

New York Stock Exchange

It was a race to basically conquer the world, and Spain had the lead. Inspired by the Spanish, the Portuguese began its search for colonies as well. Portugal began to fight for pieces of South America, setting up colonies in what is today Brazil. It also began setting up colonies in Africa along the southwestern and southeastern coasts since merchants would have to traverse around the entire continent to reach Asia, and these ports were prime real estate for resupplying. Fighting between the two countries, both ruled by Catholic monarchs, broke out, forcing the intervention of the Church. Born in Spain himself, Pope Alexander VI produced the Treaty of Tordesillas, which divided the globe in two halves. Spain was given ownership of all land discovered and undiscovered 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands, and Portugal was given claim to the land east of the line. This would not be the first time religion interfered in political matters, but that will be elaborated on later.

Capitalism was inspired by this European search to concentrate wealth. English thinkers Adam Smith, James Steuart, and David Ricardo were the ones that primarily formed the concept of capitalism by arguing against many practices of mercantilism. For example, the governments that did follow mercantilism would practice many protectionist policies in order to avoid over importation, as mentioned earlier. In order to ensure that wealth was not escaping the country heavy tariffs would be placed on foreign products; therefore, people would be forced to buy from sellers within their own countries. The products that were not sold would then be stored away or destroyed. These thinkers argued towards a global economy in which multiple national economies would buy and sell from one another and rely on credit instead of precious metals. Mercantilism would go on to evolve into capitalism, and while the concept was formalized by English thinkers, it came as a result of Spanish expansionism.

Capitalism has since become a centralized theme in American culture. A lack of regulations on big businesses comes from the concept of laissez faire, translating to “hands off”, that limits government intervention in the free market. Even the concept of the free market itself stems from the goal of trying to accumulate as much wealth as possible. However, now wealth is seen is unlimited.

Bartolome de las Casas and Native Americans

Legislation: HUMAN RIGHTS

Part of the discussion revolving around human rights actually stems from the aforementioned involvement of the Catholic Church in Spanish politics. While colonialism helped to boom the Spanish economy, the discovery of Native Americans introduced a very peculiar situation. Since the Natives lived on what was claimed to be Spanish territory would they be subjects to the crown? Were they human? Were they equals?

The treatment of Native Americans was from then on one of brutality, rape, murder, and slavery. Natives were overwhelmed by well-armed and well-organized conquistadors using weapons never before seen by the Natives and completely incomparable to the spears and bows and arrows the Natives used. Furthermore, aside from soldiers being sent to the New World, priests were also sent to begin evangelization.

First, to justify colonialism in the New World to Spaniards that questioned its morality, King Ferdinand, Queen Isabella, and the legal jurists argued that the Spanish had the right to exploration since the world was created by God for man’s use. Furthermore, the Spanish had the right to evangelize, and finding an entire population that had yet to hear of Catholicism meant more followers for Christ. The Spanish also had the right to protect themselves against the Natives; if the Natives should attack them or reject the faith, the Spanish rationalized that armed conflict would then be justified. Therefore, it would be a righteous war. These rights were granted to the Spanish simply on the basis of their humanity as children of God.

To justify the treatment of Native Americans back in Spain, the government argued that the Natives were lacking the truth of God’s Will, and it was the Spanish’s responsibility to God as a Catholic nation to spread the Good News. Missionaries were set up all throughout the Americas, with forced conversions becoming common. Torture and cruelty were the norm to force Native Americans to give up their own gods, rituals, and beliefs for acceptance of monotheism and the Catholic dogma. However, the introduction of Catholicism to the Natives would actually help in their eventual legal protection.

Civil Rights March in 1963

Some members of the Church, such as Dominican friar Bartolome de las Casas, began writing to the king regarding the conditions the Native Americans were being subjected to. His writings became some of Spanish society’s first encounters with the harsh realities of what was happening in the Americas. Another member of the Church, theologian and philosopher Francisco de Vitoria, began to write on the concept of natural law as a reaction to de las Casas’s leters. Natural law states that each human being is born with an innate moral compass, with an understanding of what is right and what is wrong. During the 1500s, when de las Casas and de Vitoria were writing, it was understood that this moral understanding was ordained by God. De Vitoria states that since Native Americans were taught Catholicism, there is an acceptance that they, too, are human beings. Furthermore, by their very nature as humans and their ability to perceive morality and immorality, they are also children of God. Therefore, they are equals to the Spanish. His writings helped to push King Charles II to create the New Laws of the Indies of 1542.

This legislation went on to grant Native Americans Spanish citizenship as well as protections from unequal treatment. The Natives were to be taxed and paid fairly. Most importantly, the law abolished slavery of Native Americans. If a Spaniard in the New World did want to hold a Native as a slave they would have to present their case in Spain, which was far too expense and too long a travel for many to justify holding enslaved Natives. The encomienda system was also abolished. This system stated that when conquistadors conquered an area, the land was to be split amongst them. The Natives that resided on the portion of land given to a conquistador were then under his jurisdiction. While this was introduced partly to help with evangelization, it became a type of quasi-slavery.

This legislation was extremely unpopular in the New World and was not fully enforced due to the fact that colonies had a certain sense of autonomy allowed to them by geographical distance. However, this is widely considered to be the first piece of human rights legislation. The discussions meant to justify Spanish colonialism and those meant to protect Native Americans became some of the first discussions ever regarding the rights guaranteed to a human being simply on the basis of their existence. This is no way crediting Spain or the Catholic Church with progressive ideals. Following the passing of this legislation, Spain began to import African slaves. Therefore, one cannot seriously say that Spain or the Catholic Church were leaders in this field. However, this legislation helped to implement the idea into the social psyche, which would eventually grow with abolitionists calling for an end to slavery. This legislation was extremely unpopular in the New World and was not fully enforced due to the fact that colonies had a certain sense of autonomy allowed to them by geographical distance. However, this is widely considered to be the first piece of human rights legislation. The discussions meant to justify Spanish colonialism and those meant to protect Native Americans became some of the first discussions ever regarding the rights guaranteed to a human being simply on the basis of their existence.

These concepts find themselves ingrained in the American Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution, which list a people’s right to recreate a functioning government should their government fail, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc. The ideal of innate human rights has become integral to the American identity, as oppressed groups have used these documents to argue against segregation, inequality, etc. throughout generations. The belief in human rights led to documents like the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the U.S., and later the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to secure legal protection for people of color. While America does have a history of racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination, the centrality of human rights in the founding documents has pushed the country constantly forward, always progressing.

Guerrilla warfare being used in the Peninsular War

Warfare: GUERRILLA WARFARE

While the techniques behind guerrilla warfare have been used for centuries, the formalization of the informal warfare was done by Spain. Following Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise to power in France at the end of the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars broke out across Europe. These conflicts came from Napoleon’s quest to conquer all of Europe. The French army under his guidance was seemingly unstoppable, defeating large, organized army after large, organized army on the battlefield. However, the French’s biggest rivals came from small, disorganized armed militias. The Peninsular War began in 1807, when Napoleon’s Grand Armée invaded the Iberian Peninsula. As the French marched across the peninsula, small Spanish militias would hide in the brush, over hills, and behind buildings along their path. Then, when the time was right, they would rain down bullets on the French and quickly retreat.

These surprise attacks were not the norm of for European warfare at the time that saw two organized armies meeting at a location, lining up, and firing at one another until one army retreated or surrendered. The militiamen that fought using this tactic became known as “guerrilleros”, which roughly translates to irregular fighters. Guerrilla warfare was so effective that it eventually pushed the French out of Spain, and Napoleon referred to the constant losses in Spain as the “Spanish ulcer”.

Guerrilla warfare is largely associated with rebellions and resistance groups that are under armed or underfunded. American interventionist policies following World War II have actually led to a rise in American support of guerrilla warfare. Throughout the Cold War and even today, with conflicts such as the Syrian Civil War, the United States has provided weapons, ammunition, and basic training to rebels. This training largely focuses on guerrilla style tactics since most rebel fighters are not trained professionals. The optics of guerrilla warfare has actually helped to spread American interests in a region and justify direct intervention: a poorly organized group of everyday citizens trying to fight off the big bad enemy. This type of imagery has, on more than one occasion, been used to help garner sympathy from American citizens to boost war morale.

Citations

Picture #1: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/12/republican-party-tea-party/

Picture #2: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/8138884/First-Americans-reached-Europe-five-centuries-before-Columbus-voyages.html

Picture #3: https://www.varchev.com/en/here-are-the-stocks-the-biggest-hedge-funds-bought-and-sold/

Picture #4: https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/las-casas-discovery

Picture 5: https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/history/info-2018/civil-rights-events-fd.html

Picture #6: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_warfare_in_the_Peninsular_War

Alexander, Don W. “French Replacement Methods during the Peninsular War, 1808-1814.” Military Affairs, vol. 44, no. 4, 1980, pp. 192–197. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1987288.

Alexander, Don W. “French Military Problems in Counterinsurgent Warfare in Northeastern Spain, 1808-1813.” Military Affairs, vol. 40, no. 3, 1976, pp. 117–122. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1986525.

“All the World’s a Stage for Spain.” Colonial Rosary: The Spanish and Indian Missions of California, by Alison Lake, 1st ed., Ohio University Press, Athens, 2006, pp. 19–31. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1rfsq51.10.

Blade, Melinda K. “Spanish Colonization of New Spain: Benevolent? Malevolent? Indifferent?” OAH Magazine of History, vol. 14, no. 4, 2000, pp. 54–58. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25163385.

Calle, Simon. “Francisco De Vitoria.” Www.college.columbia.edu, http://www.college.columbia.edu/core/content/francisco-de-vitoria.

“Colonialism.” Plato.stanford.edu, 9 May 2006, plato.stanford.edu/entries/colonialism/.

Laqueur, Walter. “The Origins of Guerrilla Doctrine.” Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 10, no. 3, 1975, pp. 341–382. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/260153.

 “SPANISH COLONIZATION AND SOCIAL EXPERIMENTS.” New Viewpoints on the Spanish Colonization of America, by Silvio Zavala, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1943, pp. 104–114. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv4s7ngh.14.

Simpson, Lesley B. “Spanish Utopia.” Hispania, vol. 20, no. 4, 1937, pp. 353–368. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/332688.

 “THE EMANCIPATION OF THE INDIAN SLAVES.” New Viewpoints on the Spanish Colonization of America, by Silvio Zavala, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1943, pp. 59–68. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv4s7ngh.10.

Vickery, Paul S. “Bartolomé De Las Casas: Prophet of the New World.” Mediterranean Studies, vol. 9, 2000, pp. 89–102. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/41166913.

Elaine Morales: Declaration 2019

“The General” by Elaine Morales

De Gaulle (1890-1970) was in every sense a contradictory character — Jean Lacouture, an earlier biographer, called his colossal personality “a battlefield” — with tensions between “restraint and hubris, reason and sentiment, classicism and romanticism, calculation and provocation”. He was “a soldier who spent most of his career fighting the army; a conservative who often talked like a revolutionary”. And Gaullism “succeeded in becoming the synthesis of French political traditions reconciling the left to the state and the right to the nation, the left to authority and the right to democracy”. He was able to achieve this unifying transcendence because of the “legitimacy” — his favourite word — he had acquired during the Second World War as leader of the French government in exile.

Lewis Jones (2018)
Charles De Gaulle during World War II

Early Years

Charles Andre Joseph Marie de Gaulle was born on November 22, 1890 in the region of Lille in the Nord Department. His family, specially his uncle and his grandfather inspired him to learn about history and inserted him into the lecture word. He learned compositions and was passionate about poetry. At the age of fifteen, he anticipated the future when wrote an essay with the title “General de Gaulle”, in which he imagined he was the leader of the French army on its victory over Germany in 1930.  Years later, he joined the French army placing his father and his own intellectual interests about history and his country. During his first years of serving the army, he demonstrated strong abilities besides his physical qualities (height: 6’5”), and five years later he was promoted to sergeant. During his studies at the academy he started being an average student, and then he increased his skills, intelligence, knowledge, and personality being on the top of his class. The time of being proved arrived to his live when the World War I stayed. 

World War I

After two months he rejoined the army as commander of the 7thCompanyand two months later he was assigned regimental adjutant. He performed a good job on his position, earning the Croix de Guerreand ascending to Captain. Once again, he received a bullet on his left hand and was out of battle during four months. Once his abilities led him coming back, he rejoined the forces, leading the 10thcompany again. For last time, he received bayonet wound on the left thigh after being stunned by a shell. He survived the effect of this incidents and the consequences of poison gas, but was captured by the Germans. 

During the first days of the war he was wounded while performed as platoon commander in the Battle of Dinant.He received a bullet on his knee and was hospitalized enough time to criticize the methods of the French Militia. There were three aspect that De Gaulle found erroneous about the military tactics: the over-rapid offensive, the inadequacy of French generals, and the slowness of English troops. 

PRISON

De Gaulle spent almost three years on prison under the German regimen. He got depressed because he was absent on the War. This situation was for him a fatality. His passion for the battle were so strong than got him frustrated about being incarcerated. He never complained about the food, the situation, the lonely, the exile; his only concern was not being part of the French army.  He used this time to read, to learn German, to discuss with other prisoners about military strategies and possibilities of victory. He also wrote his first book “ Discorde chez l’ennemi” which was published on 1924 and explained the division and issues within the German troops. When the war was terminating, he was liberated, and came back to his father’s home with his three brothers who survived the war. 

Preparation

Charles went to Poland to as staff of the French Military Mission to Polandand earn the decoration of Virturi Militari. Once back in France he studied at the Ecole de Guerreduring two years, in which his grades were good, but never excellent. His professor Moyrand referred to him as an intelligent man, with unique attitudes as leader and as soldier, and as extremely arrogant with excessive amount of self-confidence.  One year later after finishing his studies, Charles published an essay on tactics depending of the circumstances, which constituted for many a response to his professor Moyrand. The same decade, he published other articles and lectures such as “Historical Role of French Fortresses”, “Leadership in Wartime”, and “Prestige”, ending on the formation of his book The Edge of the Sword. He came back to Ecole de Guerre as a commandant, but this time with the position of commander as he had sworn years earlier. Gaulle continued writing, even proposing his tactics to the senator, arguing for his concepts and ideas and earning prestige amount the militaries. 

Tanks and rapid maneuvers rather than trench warfare. 

On his book published on 1934, named Toward a Professional Army, he explained his position against the old trench warfare and the benefits of the use of tanks and rapid maneuvers. He believed so much on himself and was strong about his ideals, he defended his war strategies and his book was a success. Gaulle sold more than 700 copies on France and the thousands of copies on Germany (good numbers for that time and topic). After his book, he earned more respect and prestige across the country, and his tactics were criticized in France and followed in Germany. He was a well-known figure when he published his new book France and her Armyin 1938. 

Word War II

During War II he was the command of the 4thArmoured Division, he wrote books, criticized strategies and was in front of tanks battles. During the German invasion, he was directing the attack at Montcornet and was defeated several times by the enemies.  He rejected order of withdrawal and advance into the field, enjoying one of the few victories of French.  During this period, he was so secure about his tactics, rejecting superiors advises and confronting the Germans face to face. Then, he was given a mission to go to London, many of his collagenous had rejected and he accepted. On his biography he specified the depression and frustration he felt forming part of this mission. This meant his recognition of the government and a decided break from the French Army. During this time, he had several ideological problems with Churchill, demanding the rights of the French Committee (Jones, 2018).

Churchill and De Gaulle (1944)

Free French

He was recognized as the leader of the Free French and confronted as usually problems with his superiors. Gaulle’ wife and daughter had to move constantly while in London, and they were living separated for the general. He was a public figure and counted with admires in France, while the Vichy sentenced him to four years’ imprisonment and the court martial in absentia condemned him to death. After agreements and conversations, he formed the Free French National Council and then the Free French Air Force which cost him almost being killed in a plane sabotage on April 21st, 1943. To the other hand, president Roosevelt refused to accept him and even when their relationships started to improve, De Gaulle was not a trusted person to the American government. He stayed with his ideals and was clear on every meeting, he asked for being recognized as a leader figure of Free French. On June 14 of 1944 Charles went back to France in the wake of invading army. France welcomed him as deserved, and he headed the first allied troops to enter the capital: “Leclerc’s Free French second armored division. Sometime later, he was also the head of the provisional French government. In the elections of 1945, he failed to win enough votes and retired from the public life (Rudolph, 2016). The major cataclysm of France has passes, but Charles De Gaulle was not satisfied with the results, writing the following phrase:

It is not tolerable, it is not possible, that from so much sacrifice and ruin, so much heroism, a greater and better humanity shall not emerge.”

Charles De Gaulle. 

The President of the Fifth Republic

The official felt that France did not need him, or at least that his ideals were so pure for a country still on recovery. He wrote his book Memories of the War. When the Fourth Republic stayed, he planted his disposal for the country. Algeria returned the power to him after winning the war, and he was assigned as president of the Fifth Republic. Instead of following Argelia’s interests, the president stayed by the France’s benefits, creating discomfort and resulting in the white revolution in Algiers. He suffered attempts against his life at this time.

His labor most important during this period were:

  • Trying to convert France in an atomic power rose
  • Healing the relationships with German
  • Making the first attempts of inserting Britain to the European community
  • Tour for 10 Latin American countries.

On the elections, he was reelected on the second ballot for seven years. Between his achievements during this period are:

  • Tour of 6000 miles around the Soviet Union. 
  • He signed the declaration for the closeness between Eastern and Western Europe. 
  • Called to EEUU to withdraw from Vietnam during a speech on Cambodia. 
  • For his peaceful position he made of Paris a neutral point for meetings between EEUU and Vietnam. 
  • He launched the first nuclear powered submarine in 1967.
  • One of the most controversial elements during these years was his visit on 1967 to Canada, where he used the slogan “Vive le Quebec libre” encouraging the French-Canadian separatism. 
  • He continued with his foreign policy by visiting the Soviet Union, Poland and Romania in order to increase their relationship. 

“The cemeteries are full of indispensable men.”

Charles De Gaulle


Rival French Leaders shaking hands only for the show

De Gaulle government was categorized as a “dictatorship”, and years later he admitted on his letters to his son that for ten years he was really a monarch (Jones, 2018). Young students started to fight for their rights and the necessity of taking part on the decisions of the country. This point in the French history is considered the major crisis of Gaulle. He left the country without notification and returned when military security was assured. He stayed with his arrogance and self-confidence, and at this time this characteristic is shown on the phrase he uses to refers to the revolutionary students: “When a child gets angry and oversteps the mark, the best way of calming him is to give him a smack.” (Jones, 2018). He negotiated with the students and workers, but a little later he dissolved the parliament. He won one more time the elections but was unpopular and considered too old for the government. He resigned the presidency on April 28thof 1969. He published his book The Renewal, the first of three book Memoirs of Hope, this was considered the fastest seller in France. When he was almost 80 years old, he died suddenly at his home with the company of his wife on November 9thof 1970.  France and the whole world felt his death. 

“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?”

Charles De Gaulle

Kamila Etcheverry: Italia America 2019

Italia America: Patronage in Ancient Rome and The Mafia in America

Background

Romulus

Before we can begin to look into patronage in ancient Rome, it is essential to have an understanding of the origins behind the social hierarchy. According to Roman historian Titus Livy, Romulus himself separated 100 men and made them senators. The descendants of these senators were considered upper class and more specifically known as patricians. Those who were not descendants, also considered the common people of Rome and lower class, were known as plebeians. The distinction between the two groups was dependent mainly on the original ancestry and extremely wealthy land-owning individuals. Within these different classes, a complex and reciprocal relationship known as patronage was founded.

Ancient Rome: Patron-Client Relationships

Patronage consists of a relationship in which a patron, a person of high position and power, uses his influence to assist or take care of another individual, thus making them his ‘client’ and requiring services in return. If a client were unable to repay their ‘debt’, the loss of trust and loyalty would lead to the termination of the relationship.

Some of these services include but are not limited to:
– Unconditional respect and support
– Political support and votes
– Fighting in war for his patron
– Reporting any plots against the patron being conspired by others
– Ransoming family members caught in battle
– Raising money for patron’s daughter’s dowry

Structurally, no matter how powerful or important a patrician, there was always someone above them, such as the emperor. Sometimes, patricians themselves became clients to the emperor, as the emperor would assist in the patrician’s social or political status and the patrician would sign the emperor’s name in their will. The common people of Rome, however, became clients to the patricians instead and supported them regardless of their patron’s interests and opinions. These clients were in need of material goods/security that were then granted by their patrons as long as the client returned the favor, which typically consisted of political votes and support. A patron was free to have as many clients as they were able to, which only added to the patron’s prestige as their number of clients and support increased. However, as listed above, the exchanges would consist of different things and it was expected that the client be fully committed to whatever was asked of him by his patron.

Three Core Characteristics of Patron-Client Relationships

The three core characteristics of patron-client relationships are:
– The inequality in status, wealth, and influence between the two parties
– The element of reciprocity in the exchange of goods and services
– The importance of face-to-face contact between both parties.

Regardless of the nature of the relationship, what the exchanges in services specifically entail, and who the individuals are, these three characteristics are present in every patron-client relationship. Apart from this, a crucial component in these relationships is also a kind of loyalty and honor that resembles that of blood-related family, which is seen in both ancient Rome and the Mafia.

Beginnings: The Mafia In Sicily

Map of Sicily

German scholar Henner Hess described the mafia as, “neither an organization nor a secret society, but a method” where “the Mafioso not only achieves a personal material or prestige gain but also discharges certain functions within the subcultural system by entering the service of others.”

For many years, the island of Sicily seemed to have been struggling with developing some kind of a proper government and creating trust between the people and formal organizations. It was inconsistently ruled by foreign aliens and had an influx of bandit-type fugitives that highly influenced the nature and customs of the region, as the values that were held by these people leaned more towards lawlessness than anything else. Without the promise of a fair government present to protect the people and their property, towns and villages created groups or clans known as ‘families’ that relied on compromise and revenge to achieve protection and justice. At the time, the main relationships present in Sicily were between peasants, bandits, and the Mafiosos. The peasants were responsible for taking care of farming and property owned by wealthier landowners and the bandits made their income by robbing these peasants. Due to the general distrust of government and authority in Sicily, rather than turning to law enforcement, landowners and peasants turned to the Mafiosos for property protection. From this was born a patron-client relationship, where the Mafia granted property protection to the peasants from the bandits in exchange for a fee of a percentage of crops produced. Moreover, the Mafia would sometimes work both sides, allowing the bandits to complete their operations without punishment. In return, the bandits would give them part of the profit they made. As this went on, the Mafia became more powerful and were able to establish themselves as a viable source of protection and enforcement within Sicily through the success of these reciprocal relationships. However, their power ran into trouble around 1925 when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini made it a goal to destroy the Mafia, as it posed a threat to his own power and reputation. As he started cracking down on Mafiosos, Italian immigrants began to flock to the United States in search for opportunity and fleeing vendettas.

Beginnings: The Mafia in America

In January 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution was passed, thus banning the export of liquors and the home brewing of beverages with over half a percent of alcohol. The passing of this act in combination with the Italian immigrants coming in from Mussolini’s rule essentially gave birth to the American Mafia. Many of these immigrants were former Sicilian mafiosos or criminals that situated themselves in specific parts of New York City, one of which became known as Little Italy, where they began their new lives of crime. The high demand for alcohol at the time gave opportunity for criminals to smuggle in alcohol from other countries or opening their own secret breweries. In turn, the profits from these illegal activities greatly contributed to the wealth and success of the American Mafia in New York City, expanding the number of active families. As the number of members and wealth grew, the American Mafia engaged under the same concept of patron-client relationships in Rome and almost identical to the patron-client relationships seen in Sicily.

Patronage and the American Mafia

Roman philosopher Seneca stated, “if you wish to make a return for a favor, you must be willing to go into exile, or to put forth your blood, or to undergo poverty, or even to let your very innocence be stained and exposed to shameful slanders.” This level of dedication and loyalty are seen in both ancient Roman times between a patron and his client and hundreds of years later in the American Mafia.

Members doing the dirty work, known as soldiers (who will be discussed later in this post), were completing operations ordered from the boss in exchange for a cut of the profit and the protection/pride that comes from being a made member of the family. This relationship between soldier and boss checked off the three core characteristics mentioned earlier (inequality in status, face-to-face contact, and exchange of goods/services); the boss is of a much higher ranking than the soldier, all ideas or orders for operations are spoken of in person, and the boss provides his members with protection and profit in exchange for the completed operation. The more money being earned and the more successful operations, the more powerful and feared a family became, much like the power and prestige from having multiple clients in ancient Rome.

Outside of the members, the patron-client relationships with the Mafia were even more highlighted. For instance, of their many money-making sources, the American Mafia became very prosperous through their involvement with the workforce. By the 1970s, they controlled all of the labor unions in New York City. An example of this is their relationship with construction companies; all concrete companies would get work allocated by the mobsters and then the family in charge of the company would receive a cut of the profit made from the job. Another example is with regular businesses. Mobsters often engaged in protection racketeering, where they would offer protection to business owners from other mobsters in return for money. If the business owner did not agree to it, the mobsters themselves would retaliate, causing the business owner to need protection regardless of whether they agreed or not, and in turn, would become a client of the family for that protection.

In contrast, failure to follow through with your ‘debt’ in ancient Rome typically resulted in loss of trust and termination of the relationship. You may have been seen as an ingrate for doing so but the consequences were not as violent as in the Mafia. Failure to follow through with your debt or loyalty to the mobster family usually resulted in death. Patronage then and in the Mafia also differ in the kind of activity that is happening in the exchanges. From what I understand, patronage in ancient Rome was less coercive than in the Mafia. Mobsters are consistently involved in patron-client relationships but many of them have an underlying nature of force or extortion. The element of fear is greatly present in mobster relationships and I wonder if the line gets blurred between reciprocity and coercion. In both, there exists exchange but the fear behind coercion leaves a relationship that is so unbalanced, it can function with fear alone, which is something that is not necessarily seen the same way in patron-client relationships in Rome.

Despite the potential differences, there is no doubt that patronage contributes greatly to the success of the Mafia, whether it be through fear alone or not. However, patronage is not the only contributing factor to their power. The structure and order within the Mafia played a significant role as well, also becoming two aspects of the mob that can also be traced to ancient Rome in some ways. To understand this, we have to look back at the internal conflict that helped reorganize things: The Castellammarese War; the power struggle between two crime bosses in the early 1930s between Salvatore Maranzano and Joseph Masseria.

Joseph Masseria

Maranzano was one of the many immigrants driven out by Mussolini’s power and quickly involved himself in the bootlegging business as soon as he arrived to New York. He soon earned the nickname of “Little Caesar” due to his obsession with Julius Caesar, the Roman Empire, and a library at his home with books and statues dedicated to his idol.

Around the same time, Joseph Masseria, another successful mobster, was trying to move up the ladder of power and success, getting himself to a place of superiority above other mobsters. Maranzano refused to submit to Masseria’s supremacy, however, and took a chance when Masseria’s top lieutenant, Lucky Luciano, came to Maranzano with his plan to betray and kill Masseria. In a Brutus-esque manner, Luciano expressed his concerns for the reputation and function of the gang under Masseria’s control and, in April of 1931, orchestrated the murder of his own boss with the help of other men.

Lucky Luciano

After the death of Massiera, although Lucky Luciano was granted some power for himself, Salvatore Maranzano labeled himself as the highest-ranked superior in New York and the “capo di tutti capi”, which translates to: the boss of all bosses. Inspired by his idol Julius Caesar, he planned to have the family structure based off of the military chain of command of a Roman legion. As the top boss, he would hold a power that was unquestionable. Lucky Luciano, once again concerned with the negative effects of power-hungry bosses and a desire to ensure efficient operations, orchestrated yet another murder and ended the power of Little Caesar only 5 months after his hit on Joseph Masseria.

Mafia Life After Luciano: Structure and Order

At the time of Maranzano’s death, there were four other mafia families present in the state of New York. After he was killed, Lucky Luciano hoped to create a layout of some sort in which the families could avoid as much conflict as possible with one another. In hopes to accomplish this, he arranged a private meeting with all five families of New York along with other mafia families from around the country, where they agreed to keep Maranzano’s structure inspired by ancient Roman legions.

Structure: Mafia and Roman Legions

Roman legions were a part of the general Roman army and were the principal force of the Roman Empire. The units went as follows:
– a contubernia (8 men)
– a century (10 contubernium together – 80 men)
– a cohort ( 6 centuries together – 480 men)
– the legion (10 cohorts)

Each legion had an officer who was third in command, named praefectus castrorum (camp prefect), in charge of the daily maintenance and running of the legion. He also looked after food supply, nutrition, equipment supply, etc. Above the camp prefect, stood six military tribunes, of which one was the senior tribune, second in command, and referred to as tribunus laticlavius (senior tribune). Finally, above the senior tribune, was the legatus legionis, the legionary commander in charge of the legion as a whole. Eventually, the senior tribune would look forward to taking his place. The legionary commander was part of the Roman senate off the battlefield.

CC BY-SA 4.0

As for a solider, he was to be of full Roman citizenship and required to take an oath to serve the Emperor and army until death, acknowledging the harsh punishment involved if he were to participate in any kind of disobedience. New soldiers were also required to do dirty work until they were able to secure a better position.

Seeing as the structure of the Mafia was inspired by Roman legions, many similarities can be seen between the two. In the families, each had a group of men known as soldiers, or made men, who were considered the lowest members of the family. Like the Romans, soldiers in the Mafia were required to take an oath for life and were typically responsible for the dirty work that keeps the family powerful. Loyalty was a must in both the Mafia and the legion. Membership exclusivity was also seen in both the legion and the mobsters, as the legion required full Roman citizenship and the mobsters required full Italian descent.
Above the soldiers, stand the caporegime, or more commonly known as capo, who is in charge of leading his crew of soldiers. Much like the praefectus castrorum in the Roman legion, the capo was responsible for looking after the operations and daily activities of his soldiers. Above the capo is the underboss who takes instructions from the boss and makes sure that everything is carried out effectively. The underboss, too, can look forward to taking the position of the boss as he is next in line in the hierarchy incase anything happens to the boss. Finally, the boss is the legatus legionis of the Mafia family, in charge of the family as a whole. Also known as the Don, the boss is a highly respected, undisputed, and even feared leader of the family that oversees every single operation.

Order: The Commission and The Senate

Luciano was also responsible for founding the Commission which shared some similarities with the Roman Senate. Just as Rome transitioned from monarchy to republic, ridding itself of the idea of just one king, Lucky Luciano wanted the same for the Mafia families. No more boss of all bosses, just consensus among the families.

After the fall of the monarchy, the Roman Senate functioned as a governing and advisory council that was responsible for appointing officials, presenting proposals, controlling finances, and handling debates. Members of the Senate were appointed by someone of higher status, the consul, and were expected to serve as senators for life.
Lucky Luciano’s Commission served a similar purpose in some aspects. The Commission became a governing body where new members were voted in, policies and regulations were established, and disputes between families could be settled. It consisted of the five New York mafia bosses, the Chicago boss, and the Buffalo boss. Similar to the appointing of new senators in the Roman Senate, new members into the Mafia were chosen by the bosses. Just as the Roman legion’s legatus legionis held a position in the Roman Senate, the Mafia boss held a position in the Commission. When the bosses could all agree on one individual for induction, that chosen person could become a soldier. The bosses served a similar purpose as the consuls in the induction of new members. Seeing as the only way out of the Mafia was death, members of the Commission were members for life, much like the members of the Senate were as well. Additionally, just as proposals took place in the Roman Senate, proposals of a different kind took place in the Commission. For instance, if a member wanted to kill a law enforcement officer, which was against the Mafia rules, they had to run it by the Commission first and get the notion accepted.

Despite some similarities, the Commission and the Senate have a fair share of differences as well. In the Senate, consuls were selected by the people of Rome, whereas the mob bosses were selected by other very important members of the Commission rather than regular (or more common) members of the families. The Senate was mainly responsible for advising the magistrates while the Commission was not really looking to advise anyone. Because the men in the Commission were already considered of the highest ranking, there was no idea or conflict that needed to be run by anyone above them. Moreover, considering the fact that the Mafia was composed of a number of highly dangerous criminals, any conversation ever had about or within the families was of top secrecy. The meetings held by the Commission were extremely confidential and held in secret, while the Senate meetings were open to the public.

Conclusions

To most, ancient Rome may feel different than our lives today in about a million ways. The traditions, the violence, and the influences of power seem so ruthless compared to what we have grown accustomed to here; so far removed, yet so much a part of us without many of us ever realizing. Over the years, the life of the Mafia became sensationalized in American society with successful movies such as The Godfather, Goodfellas, Casino, The Untouchables, etc. Mobsters became glamorized in pop culture and although the Italian-American identity has been recognized, the influence of ancient Rome has not. Perhaps it is too distant in history or simply too complex a detail to make use of in the big screens, but its roots dig deeper into history than we could have ever imagined. Although beginnings seem to have started in Sicily, true origins and concrete influences came from ancient Rome, a society whose structure, order, and brutality from hundreds of years ago managed to slither its way into one of the most successful criminal societies in the history of the United States of America.

Sources:

Weingrod, A. (1968). Patrons, Patronage, and Political Parties. Comparative Studies in Society and History,10(4), 377-400.

DeSilva, D. A. (1999). Patronage and Reciprocity: The Context of Grace in the New Testament. Ashland Theological Journal, 32-84.

Schmidt, S. W., Scott, J. C., Landé, C., & Guasti, L. (1977). Friends, Followers, and Factions: A Reader in Political Clientelism. University of California Press.

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Critchley, D. (2008). The Origin of Organized Crime In America: The New York City Mafia, 1891-1931 (1st ed.). Routledge.

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Julia Abreu: Italia America 2019

Roman Medicine and its Influence on Modern Medicine

Ancient Rome medicine, with its mix of science and superstition, brought about many advances in the area which are still seen in our times.

Roots

Roman medicine was derived from Greek medicine, and influenced by knowledge from conquered civilizations, such as the Etruscans, Egyptians, and the Persians. The knowledge from the conquered people combined with the knowledge developed in Rome, mostly derived from the battlefield, made the Romans have an advanced medical system for their age.

The romans combined their scientific knowledge, greatly limited by today’s standards, with religious beliefs. Romans believed that diseases were a result of displeasing the gods, and that rituals such as sacrifices to the gods would cure them. Aesculapius was particularly important in ancient roman medicine. The Romans adopted the Greek god of healing in 292 BCE, when they stole Aesculapius’ sacred snake.  Despite of their belief in the gods, romans still used the services of doctors to heal sickness.

The doctors in rome were craftsmen, and learned the profession through apprenticeships. Civilian doctors had different levels of education and skills, many being Greeks. On the other hand, the military has experienced medical personnel.

Battlefield

Roman Army

The romans were the first in history to build hospitals, generally for the military. The medics in the military had a more practical approach to medicine than the civilian doctors, as they were observant and methodical, documenting which treatments worked so other doctors could do the same.  An important event for roman medicine was the civil war which happened after the assassination of Julius Caesar. The new emperor, Augustus, formed a professional military medical corps. Giving doctors titles, lands, and retirement benefits. This changes, combined with the large amount of war injuries, led to great medical advancements, in a way that would not be seen until the late 19th century.

The roman legions had the best doctors in Rome. Much of the roman knowledge of anatomy and physiology came from the battlefield, as dissections were not allowed. Surgeons also acquired their experiences in the military.

Public Health

The Ancient Romans made many advances in what nowadays would be considered public health. The Romans believed that the workers should also be in good health, as the soldiers and the rich. Therefore, they could be considered the first to have public health for all social classes.

Roman Aqueduct

One of the most important aspects of Roman public health was the use of aqueducts. They had a system of fresh running water and a sewer system, as clean water was considered essential. The water supply to the city of Rome was designed by Julius Frontinus in 97 AD, and it supplied around 1000 million liters of water a day. This helped to prevent the proliferation of diseases that were either transmitted through dirty water, or that relied on standing water . The romans also had public toilets which were flushed by clean water, and a sewer system to make sure all waste was removed from the city.

Bad hygiene was one of the prominent causes of disease transmission in the ancient world. The Romans had great hygiene, as they regularly washed themselves. Roman baths, for example, played a major role in society, as they were part of the citizens daily lives.

Roman Bath

Another important factor were the cities themselves. The cities were built in places that were considered healthy, or were modified to become a healthier environment. For example, marshes were draining to avoid malaria carrying mosquitoes. Julius Caesar not only drained the Codetan Swamp, but planted a forest in its place.

Influence in modern medicine

There are currently 6210 hospital in the US. The hospital system started in the ancient Rome military, and it is the prominent form of care in America.

Roman medicine saw the beginning of specializations, as physicians were divided into different specialties. Nowadays, doctors have to specialize in a certain area after medical school. There are more than 120 options to choose from.

Roman surgeons had basic knowledge of the importance of sanitation. They boiled all the surgical instruments prior to the start of the experiment, and used acetic acid to clean the wounds.

Public health is a major part of modern medicine, as it focuses on preventing diseases. Clean Water is one of the most important elements of health. 884 million people still do not have access to clean water. Many of those people need to walk long distances to get water, which can be contaminated with diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery. Access to proper disposal of sewage is also of extreme importance to public health.Currently, 2.3 billion people live without access to sanitation. Approximately 1 million people die every year from diseases related to the lack of access to clean water and sanitations.

Medical terminology is based on Latin and Greek. The Romans developed the field of medicine and anatomy based on the Greek knowledge. Since many anatomical parts were elucidated by the Greeks and the Romans, their names are in those languages. Latin was the predominant language used in medicine until the eighteenth century.

The Ancient Romans believed that diet was essential for health, and that moderation of food should be practiced. Nowadays it is known that good nutrition is key to health, as lack of certain elements in a diet can disrupt the normal functioning of the body and lead to diseases.

Works Cited

  1. O’Rahilly. “Etymology”. Basic Human Anatomy. Retrieved from : https://www.dartmouth.edu/~humananatomy/resources/etymology.html
  2. “ The Water Crisis.” Water.org. Retrieved from : https://water.org/our-impact/water-crisis/
  3. “Medicine in Ancient Rome.” The History of Learning. Retrieved from: https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/a-history-of-medicine/medicine-in-ancient-rome/
  4. “Ancient Roman Medicine.” UNRV Roman History. Retrieved from: https://www.unrv.com/medicine.php
  5. Brazier, Yvette. “ Ancient Roman Medicine.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323600.php
  6. Cartwright, Mark. “ Roman Medicine.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: https://www.ancient.eu/Roman_Medicine/
  7. “Importance of good nutrition.” HHS.gov. Retrieved from: https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/eat-healthy/importance-of-good-nutrition/index.html