You are on page 1of 4

McCausland 1

Hadley McCausland

Mrs. Lark

HIST 134

23 April, 2017

Portfolio Reflection

The very first assignment given to my classmates and I was a discussion board.

The question to go off of was, Do you think history should be a required course for all

college degrees? My answer: yes. History is such an important aspect of the way society

has formed over the years. In my opinion, I believe that politics and bureaucracy have

heavily influenced history. The three individuals I have chosen that have impacted

history the most through politics and bureaucracy is Xerxes, Alexander the Great, and

Augustus.

To begin, Persia controlled a vast majority of territory during this time. They were

a tight knit empire and believed they were influential leaders because they allowed

religious freedom throughout. On the other hand, Greece was broken up into several city-

states ruled by several different people. The Persians wanted to expand their territory.

Their perfect match was Greece. The conflict between Persia and Greece was known as

the Greco-Persian War and ultimately decided Greeces history and changed Western

Civilization forever.

Xerxes was the fourth king of the Persian Empire and reigned from 486 BC until

his assassination in 465 BC. Xerxes is known as being the son of the famous Darius I.

Darius I was the leader during the Ionian Revolt that started the heat between the Persians

and the Greeks. Unfortunately, Darius I died before completing the invasion of Greece
McCausland 2

(Wikipedia). Therefore, his son, Xerxes, took on that battle. Xerxes planned an elaborate

battle to conquer Greece (Wikipedia). In the end, Greece defeated the Persians. If it

werent for Xerxes taking on the Greco-Persian Wars, then Greece may not have become

to blooming center for art, philosophy, government, and democracy. Ancient Grecian

culture spread rapidly and has major influences on the world today.

From Xerxes, we can learn to better our society by always taking a chance. He

had to take on a difficult challenge passed down from his father. Although it ended in

defeat, the world was changed forever. The flourishment of art, culture, philosophy, and

democracy was an integral part of the ancient world. Xerxes went into battle with a goal

in mind. Even though he lost, it still made society stronger in many other aspects.

William H. McNeil stated, History offers innumerable heroes and villains. Reading

about what people did in far away times and places enlarges our sense of human

capacities both for good and evil. Encountering powerful commitments to vanished ideas

and ideals, like those that built the pyramids, puts our personal commitment to our own

ideals into a new perspective, perhaps bitter-sweet (McNeil). I believe that quote is

applicable to Xerxes. He went into battle with a goal in mind. Even though he lost, it still

made society stronger in many other aspects.

Next, Alexander the Great taught us a lot too. He also was a successor of his

father. He intended to invade Persia. While doing so, he influenced Greek culture all

throughout. He transmitted Greek philosophy, culture, language, and art to every region

he came in contact with (Mark). Alexander the Great conquered a vast amount of

territory. He pushed people out of their homes and making the live under his reign.

Dictatorship is not a good. But in the long run, it became a good. Advances in science
McCausland 3

and the other listed above improved society. People were becoming smarter and more

civilized. Without the spread of culture under different rulers, our world would have

developed more slowly. In this example, politics and bureaucracy helped.

History is a lesson: a lesson of intentions, movements, experiments, and human

production; a lesson that builds integrity and character within our children. Is man

inherently good? Who controls the distribution of power and wealth? Whose government

is for which people? The study of history requires us to ask such complex questions as

these (Postma). Alexander the Great makes us question these statements. As a society,

we can learn and adapt from Alexander the Great. I think that people in the United States

are not being introduced to new cultures and experiences as much as we should. People

are very sheltered to their own. Being aware of other cultures can open up so many doors

to finding peace in a person.

Lastly, another character from ancient history is Augustus. He also used politics

and bureaucracy. Due to the fact that he was a leader, he used it for good. Augustus

wanted to be favored by his people. He gained their trust a ruled for over 10 years. He

returned Rome into a peaceful and prosperous center. Not only did he stick to his values,

Augustus expanded the empire as well! Augustus ended over 100 years of civil war and

achieved over 40 years of internal peace (PBS.org). We can learn from Augusts values.

His quality of leadership should inspire us all.

In conclusion, we can learn so much from history. From history, we can adjust

and adapt to instances that are applicable today. We can take a chance like Xerxes.

Become influential in the spread of culture awareness. And be a great leader like

Augustus.
McCausland 4

Works Cited

"Achaemenid Empire." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Apr. 2017. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

Mark, Joshua J. "Ancient Greece." Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr.

2017.

McNeil, William H. "Why Study History." Why Study History? (1985) | AHA. N.p., n.d. Web.

23 Apr. 2017.

PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

Postma, Michael. "What Can History Teach Us Today?" ASCD Express 6.22 - What Can

History Teach Us Today? N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.