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Historical Analysis Questions Answers

What did Anton Van Leeuwenhoek see with his microscope?

Van Leeuwenhoek with the use of his microscope spotted very tiny creatures in rain water. He also made the same observation on lake water. He gave a description of a free-floating green algae on the lake, comprising of spirally wound serpent-like green streaks, spread out in an orderly manner. Van Leeuwenhoek figured the circumference of each of the streaks to be about the thickness of a hair and all contained of small green globules linked together. Furthermore, he saw protists and they were shaped like a bell and they made a stir at the round opening making the water around them to be in motion. He was able to also see plague in his own teeth with moving tiny living animalcules (van Leeuwenhoek 1). His discovery also made him to see animal and plant tissues, at mineral crystals and at fossils where he saw microscopic foraminifera, microscopic animals such as nematodes and rotifers.

What might have been the implications of his findings for earlier events?

Van Leeuwenhoek’s discovery of the presence of single-cell organisms while using a microscope opened a totally obscured world for biologists and established the field of microbiology. His findings aided in forming the foundation of cell theory and discredited the concept of spontaneous generation (the theory that living creatures can naturally occur from non-living matter) (van Leeuwenhoek 1). His findings also pioneered bacteriology and protozoology as sciences to be developed.

What are the two assertions that John Locke makes about how people learn from birth on?

John Locke authenticated the emergence of knowledge from birth on. He opined that, simple and complex ideas are responsible for the development of learning. Simple ideas integrate in diverse forms to establish complex ideas. Hence, the most elementary units of knowledge are simple ideas, which are attained purely from experience. He further explained the existence of two types of experience that enable people to learn from birth on (Locke 1). The first one is sensation (this is when the mind sees the world outside the body by use of the five senses), and the second one is reflection (happens when the mind turns inward, identifying ideas about its personal purposes, like willing, doubting, thinking, and believing).

What might have been the implications of Locke’s argument for earlier ideas about learning and shaping of human character?

Locke’s arguments had implications in terms of its philosophical influence both by its admirers and by its critics. His arguments were assimilated into the curriculum at Oxford and Cambridge and its translation into Latin and French amassed it an audience around the continent. His arguments were documented as significant addition to political thought (Locke 1). Throughout the American Revolution, Locke’s views were frequently favored by those looking for more representative forms of government.

What are the two assertions that Voltaire makes about tolerance?

Voltaire declared that all people are indebted to tolerate each other. He contends in favor of tolerating each other regardless of our religious beliefs, while preserving the right to argue persistently against it and reproving religious fanatism of all kind (Voltaire 1). Locke also asserted that instead of politics favoring tolerance, it strongly favors prejudice. He said political exclusion hardly promoted political goodwill nor does religious propagandizing of the dominant church guides the nation towards toleration.

What might have been the implications of Voltaire’s arguments?

Voltaire’s Philosophical Letters caused a lot of criticism from the leviathan French state because they believed if his arguments were carried beyond religion, will end up causing a rebellion at any effort by government to enforce common values on the citizens. Also, his argument against equality continues to have profound consequences for the centralized policies of all governments (Voltaire 1). Those citizens who discard similarity in religion are naturally directed to question the sense behind the many other government institutions.

What were the conditions of government that Montesquieu regarded as ideal?

Montesquieu pioneered the idea of a government existing behind three branches—executive, legislature, and judiciary. He explained the significance of separating power. He said that each government function ought to be exercised by the proper agency of government, and reiterated that the individuals within the three branches should not overlap (Montesquieu 1).

Which ruler or polity studied this semester came closest to realizing Montesquieu’s ideal by the 1700’s?

Europe comes closest to realizing Montesquieu’s ideal government by virtue of the existence of a moderate government, the government is only invested with the legislative and the executive powers and left the judicial powers to the citizens (Montesquieu 1).

Which ruler or polity studied this semester came closest to representing a system Montesquieu might have criticized?

Italy represents a system largely criticized by Montesquieu on the basis that, the legislative, judicial and executive powers are united (Montesquieu 1). There is less liberty, and the citizens feel oppressed.

Works Cited

Locke, John. “Book II: Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding of Ideas”

Voltaire, Francois. “Philosophical dictionary.” Selected and Translated by H.I. Woolf New

York: Knopf, 1924 Scanned by the Hanover College Department of History in 1995.

De Montesquieu, Charles. “Modern History Sourcebook: Montesquieu: The Spirit of the

Laws,” 1748

van Leeuwenhoek, Antoni. The select works of anthony van leeuwenhoek: containing his

microscopical discoveries in many of the works of nature. Vol. 1. translator, 1800.



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