Marie Antoinette – part 2 – her impact on economy

As I mentioned Antoinette overspent the budget that she had. It wasn’t all for herself, though. She gave away money to charity as well, but we all know that she spent most of the money on herself, clothes and parties.

In the end of 18th century there was a big lack of money. Ludwig XVI was considered a weak king, and the contribution to the North-American liberty war was not appreciated by the people and neither by the French economy. She kept spending until the money ran out and that didn’t help the people at all, everybody knows the infamous quote by Marie Antoinette “let them eat cake”. When the French people could not afford to buy bread to live, they demonstrated and said that quote. I interpret it as if she doesn’t really care, or that she acknowledges the fact that the people are starving to death. The queen was sentenced to death; one reason was that she spent too much money.

Although she wasted a lot of money, she helped the poor people out a little bit. She did charity for ex. blind people & starving people. She also revoked the tax called “the Queen’s belt” and she commented "belts are no longer worn", I got to say that I admire her sense of humor.

I think that because of her title she has to think about what she does with the money, she can’t be careless no matter how much she wanted that pretty dress. I also think that we all have a little Marie Antoinette inside us that wants to shop till you drop, or maybe it’s just me. I can’t say that I’m any better than her, because I have been in situations where I have wasted all my money after the first day of the month, the difference is that I have no obligation like the queen.  I think that it was wrong of her to spend that much money on insignificant things when she could have spent the money on issues that could save the French people’s lives. Why did she spend all that money? Some say that she didn’t have enough love in her life, but just an excuse, and I don’t think that it’s good enough either.

Kimia Rezaei

Voltaire – The satirist:


This quote is a product of the mind of your everyday French satirist François-Marie Arouet. He is known to you as his pen name; Voltaire. Voltaire had brilliant wit and used it to analyze everything from your everyday problems to politics and law. Voltaire is by many regarded as the voice of the enlightenment.


When reading up on Voltaire I came across over hundreds of quotes said by this one guy, that I find amazing. How did this guy ever have the time to sleep?  He did not just say smart things, he did also write one of the most influential literary works in the history of time; Candide.


As the quote machine he was chose he sad many wise words but I found one quote more interesting than the rest of them. “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers” he said. I think that it is a very reflecting quote, and I believe that he has a point. Think about Sir Isaac Newton and his discovery of gravity. He did not discover it because he had all the right answers; it was because he asked the right questions. Why do the apple fall down from the tree he wondered, and then he used his brilliant brain to work out a theory on universal gravitation. It all started with the question.


I see one limitation in Voltaire’s quote though, I do not believe in judging people. Do not judge one if you do not know the person in question, because you will almost certain get the wrong impression of the person. But as judging goes it is better to judge one by the questions rather than answers, because without the questions you have no answers. With questions come knowledge and with knowledge come the answers. That is why the questions say more about one than the answers he or she has.


What about Voltaire then? I said before that he was a satirist. You might ask what that is, what is satire? Satire is a form of literature, which holds up an object’s shortcomings with the intent of shaming individuals or maybe even society itself. Satire often involves ironic and sarcasm, often with wit, making it very funny. Today we often see it at television, two of the most prominent examples is the American cartoons; “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy.”  A Swedish example is the politic satire comedy “Parlamentet.”  Where comedians are divided into two political blocks and debate the issues of the day.


One might even say that Voltaire is an ancestor of “Family Guy”. That makes Voltaire in my mind a very cool philosopher. What about you, do you see the connection between the satiric quotes of François-Marie and today’s satiric comedy? What do you think of satire, do you enjoy it as much as I do when shows like Family Guy makes fun of celebrities?


Do you want to read up on Voltaire? Then check this link out!


Are you interested in the art of satire? Check out this summary on satire, and this  list of satires and satirists, I bet you will recognize a whole lot of them!


By: Andreas Larsson

The love story of Axel von Fersen and Marie-Antoinette



Axel von Fersen was a Swedish nobleman born 1755 in Stockholm. When he was 18 years old he travelled to Versailles in France during an educational travel, and met the Crown Princess of France, Marie-Antoinette, at a prom. She was also eighteen years old. Nothing happened that time, but four years later he returned to Versailles, and they started out on an affair. As she at that time had become the Queen of France, it was risky to have an affair, and many thought it was inappropriate. Therefore, Fersen joined the French army to protect Maire-Antoinette. He was sent to the American Revolutionary War at an age of 23 years, and despite his young age he got a high ranking. After four years of battling for the Northern States, he returned to France and continued his affair with the queen. A couple of years later Gustav III, king of Sweden came at an official trip to Versailles. Fersen was invited to the prom held at the end of his visit, and nine months later Marie-Antoinette gave birth to her first son, Louis Charles. Many historians today believe it was Fersen’s son, but nothing can be proved.

The French Revolution stood and waited around the corner. During some years Fersen travelled a lot between Sweden and France. When he was in France he was one of those who stood closest to the Royal Family, and he helped out planning their escape. When the Royal Family went by horse and carriage out from Paris, Fersen was the one who drove them. Unfortunately, he was exchanged at a break, and the family on the run was caught near the German boarder. In 1793 Marie-Antoinette was executed, along with the rest of her family, and Fersen grieved throughout the rest of his life. He moved back to Sweden a couple of years later, and died at Karl August’s funeral in 1810. A drunken and upset claimed that Fersen was the cause of the loss of the Crown Prince, and threw himself at him. In front of the Swedish Army he was beaten over and over again, and sailor finished the job by jumping with both his feet on the chest, breaking the ribcage.


Axel von Fersen’s love for Marie-Antoinette nearly cost him his life many times, but he kept coming back to her. If a queen of a country today would have an affair, the whole world would go wild, but at that time it was not much of a big deal, many who knew about it did not care. He risked his life by trying to help her out of situations, never because a fed up Frenchman tried to kill him. And what about the moral question? I cannot imagine how it would be to risk a whole nation’s balance just by having a relationship with the queen, even though it was not a big deal as said before.

During this time the Revolution broke out in France, and that was partly because Marie-Antoinette sat at the throne. She was not beloved by the people, because almost all she did was partying and buying expensive things to herself. That is not how a queen should act, and upon that she had affairs. I would not like to live in France at the end of the 18th century, and have such an instable situation and irresponsible queen.


What do you think about the affair from a moral perspective? Did her way of living have an impact on the Revolution?


/Sebastian Carlshamre

The King of England wants us to pay more taxes? Hell no!


That might have been the words of anyone of the around two millions colonists living in the British colonies in America in the 1760's.


Let me give you some background information, the British Empire was deep in debt following the Seven Years War, and the Parliament of Great Britain felt that the colonies were not pulling their load, so what did they do? Well first they implemented the Quartening act. The Quartening act   was used by the British forces to ensure that the colonists payed for the British solidiers stationed in the colonies. The colony of New York refused to pay these taxes, and that did not make the king happy. They also implemented the Sugar Act, which was the first law meant to have the colonists help raising the revenue of the Empire. However there was big opposition in the colonies to the act, just as with the Stamp Act that followed two years later in 1765.  So the British Parliament tried to find  a solution to the problem. They thought they had found it with the Townshend acts. Named after Charles Townshend or as he was called by his friends ”Champagne Charlie”. He was the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance) of Great Britain at the time, and a long time member of the British Parliament. The revenue act of 1767 was one of the acts implemented, and it  did just as every other act meet great opposition. All the Townshend acts but one was repealed. The Tea Act remained, not for the sake of revenue for the Empire, but for the sake of principle. This eventually lead to the Boston Tea Party, and the American Revolution.


Why am I telling you this? It is to show the power of money. Money's importance to history has been big, what do you think of money's importance through history? What about today?


Read more about ”Champagne Charlie” and his acts here:


/Andreas Larsson

Triangular Trade

Triangular trade is trade between three different locations. This entry is going to be about is the trade in the Atlantic between, approximately, 1500 and 1800. The triangular trade is also closely linked to slave trade and, consequently, we are still affected by it today.

The triangular trade would bechance the following way:

Traders from Europe would freight a ship with copper, guns and ammunition, silks and glassware for example. Then they would travel to the “slave coast” of Africa (today Togo, Benin and Nigeria). Here they would trade their goods with either colonies/forts of the Europeans or Arabs. They would trade the goods for slaves which any of the other two trading partners had captured. These slaves were treated like cattle. They were kept in the kind of fencings which were normally used for livestock, with the exception that they were improved to prevent escape, until they were sold. Once sold, they were freighted onto the ship and herded under deck. Here they stayed the entire journey to America. This posed a problem, as there were many slaves and little room. Thus many diseases spread and many slaves died before even reaching America.  But who cares as long as you go profit, right!? Because this is what the slave traders did. If 2/3 of the cargo was still alive upon arrival, then you were a rich man. Once in America the slaves were immediately sold to plantation owners. Under their command they worked until death came upon them, either by exhaustion or under the whip of the overseer. The merchant, who now had sold his cargo, would buy what the plantations produced (cotton, sugar, tobacco and coffee amongst others) and transport his new cargo back to Europe again, where it was sold and refined.

This was a very lucrative business, especially for the merchants and plantation owners. But also for the people in Europe because they received raw materials which had been produced at extremely low cost (the overseers demand a wage. The slaves, however, do not.) Now, you could afford to refine raw materials in large quantities and still give the workers a decent wage. This translated into economical possibilities, which, in turn, translated into the industrial revolution, “The Great Acceleration of Europe”. This is the acceleration whose head start Europe and America is still profiting from today (even though many East Asian nations have industrialized their societies at hyperspeed).


Now, does anybody see the moral issue that suddenly arose?


A major contributor to our prosperity is the fact that our ancestors we eager slave-traders and oppressive plantation owners. Without them we would probably not have gotten as far as we are today. The industrialization would still have happened, sure. But maybe hundred years later, leaving much less time to achieve the things we have achieved today. Also, we have stunted the growth of probably the whole continent of Africa (although we are trying, at least partially, to compensate this by now).


So, what do you think? Are we heirs to thievery? And how much, and what, effect has slave trade had on our modern society?  Tell me what you think.



“A short history of the world” by J.M. Roberts

//Baloo Peinkofer

France - Slavery



France was a supreme colonial power with huge resources when it came to the "terrible trade" of slaves, the French turned four times as many Africans into slaves as the Americans did(quite a few), and they used them far more brutal during a very long period of time. French had jumped into the Atlantic African slave trade in the early 16th century, so the trade with slaves was a huge and a important market for France and her economy.


The leading figures of the Enlightenment condemned slavery, but they made little impact on France and her political opinions about slavery. The French Revolution finally brought antislavery thoughts into the French politics, and in August 1789 had the Declaration of the Rights of Man stated, "Men are born free and are equal before the law."  You might think that the French would have ended their slave trade once and for all at this point, but then you would have been wrong! First during March in the year of 1818 the entire slave trade was finally declared illegal in France, long after the rest of Europe had given it up.


Only the thought of capturing free people and than turning them into slaves makes my sick! Humans being forced to work under very-very bad circumstances and with no hopes for a better future. I can't even imagine how terrible it must have been to be kidnapped from my home, then turned into a slave and be forced to work for some idiot on the other side of the globe. Bounded labour another form of slavery is even today a problem in some parts of the world E.g. Pakistan, Malaysia where it's a huge problem about the illegal labour.


The French enslavement and repression towards a whole population(native and African tribes) can only be matched by the terrible acts of the Nazi regime towards the Jewish population during the world war two. Both are huge crimes against humanity which can never be forgotten.


// Nylund

Liberty Statue - Gift From France


"The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World" was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.


America probably could not have won its freedom from the British during the American Revolution without the help of the French. France provided arms, ships, money and men to the American colonies. It was an alliance of respect and friendship that the French would not forget.


Almost 100 years later, in 1865, after the end of the American Civil War, several French intellectuals, who were opposed to the oppressive regime of Napoleon III, were at a small dinner party. They discussed their admiration for America's success in establishing a democratic government and abolishing slavery at the end of the civil war. The dinner was hosted by Eduardo Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye. Laboulaye said, “Wouldn't it be wonderful if people in France gave the United States a great monument as a lasting memorial to independence and showed that the French government was also dedicated to the idea of human liberty?", So they decided to give the US a monument they would never forget!


The construction began in France at the year of 1875, the sculptor/designer was Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. The huge statue was completed in the year of 1884 in Paris, the statue was shipped to the US in 1885.


“The Statue of Liberty” has been a great and powerful symbol for freedom all over the world.

It was a grate idée of France to give a gift which represented freedom and liberty, a monument which the US can be proud of! When you think of freedom of any kind you often reefers to the statue of liberty.



// Nylund

“God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.”



During the Enlightenment the rise against the church started. The famous philosophers Voltaire and Rousseau were two of the people who protested against the church in France. These two persons abandoned the Catholicism for a smaller religion called the deism. Deists believe that there is a God and that he created universe, but they believe that God have retired, which makes it pointless to pray and serve him. Rousseau also stated that the human is good and have a free will, and therefore it does not need to obey nor God or the church. I myself think it was quite a brave thing to do when they protested against church. The church had had great powers for over a millennium, a power which was so strong that you might think that it should be able to resist a wave of protests. They killed many protests hoping that it might scare off others protesters. But as you all should know by now there is one thing that is stronger than the sword – the pen. One man who was very good in using the competence of writing was Voltaire. He has written many famous quotes that he used against the church. These quotes became very popular and he became a sort of “leader” of the protesters.      A painting from the enlightenment showing a catholic church

One of these quotes is:
“All good Christians’ glory in the folly of the Cross. Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense.”
But the protesters did not only protest at the power of the church. They also protested against the persecution of the Protestants’ driven by the Catholicism. When the Protestantism began to spread across Europe, the Catholics tried to stop it by persecute the Protestants’ and kill them. Voltaire was against this, and he tried to gain more people to be against it.
Rousseau was both a philosopher and a politician, and he had several political quests, one among them was to make the individual will conform the general will (la volonté générale) of the citizens. What Rousseau was trying to say is that when you for instance are going to elect, you should vote for the party or that politician that is best for society, not the party or persons that is better for your own. If you follow this, you are acting as the General will want you to do. He was also against the church, although not as much as Voltaire was.

I think that the protesters formed the community into a new one including more choices of your own. Free choices also develop the world faster. I mean, what if we still would have had the feudal system like in the medieval? In the feudal system the church had a high and important role to control the people. The medieval developed almost nothing at all during an almost entire millennium. When the enlightenment started, new products and inventions were starting to be developed. The people were thinking different, which I believe led to the rise against the church. What do you think?

Here are some pages if you are interested in more facts about this! :)
Quotes from Voltaire:
Facts about Rousseau & the general will:

Erik Jonsson

Benjamin Franklin's first invention

Benjamin Franklin invented many things including “swim fins“ in 1773 which were applied on hands. He was as a teenager very interested in swimming. Since he lived nearby the ocean he had plenty of time to improve his swimming techniques. He wanted to increase the speed and thereof came his idea of swim fins. It is also said that he got the idea from watching frogs. Swim fins is one of his first invention and made out of wood. It wasn't until 2000th century people tried to improve Franklin's invention by using other material and also come up with the idea to apply the fins on feet instead of hands.

Today there is a range of flippers to choose from, depending on what you want to use it for and if it wasn't for Franklin who knows when they would be invented? It is definitely a great tool even though it hasn't played a very big part in history neither played a big part for society. Thus it has, for those who has an interest for diving or swimming (in some extension), brought a big advantage. As it is mentioned above, you move a lot faster in the water. For those who dive, you can get deeper or swimming under water for longer. For swimmers on the other hand, they more or less just improve their speed. But imagine a scuba diver trying to swim around under water without fins? Not to mention how much more we’d probably damage the environment. We would also get tired much faster. Partly thanks to fins/flippers we can explore water in a bigger extension than a couple of hundred years back in time.


James Watt – Steam Engine


Watt was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer, renowned for his improvements in steam engine technology.


The first working steam engine had been patented in 1698 and by the time of Watt's birth, Newcomen engines were pumping water from mines all over the country. In around 1764, Watt was given a model Newcomen engine to repair. He realised that it was hopelessly inefficient and began to work to improve the design. He designed a separate condensing chamber for the steam engine that prevented enormous losses of steam. His first patent in 1769 covered this device and other improvements on Newcomen's engine.


James Watt's improvements on the steam engine converted a machine of limited use, to one of efficiency and many applications. It was the foremost energy source in the emerging Industrial Revolution, and greatly multiplied its productive capacity. Watt was a creative genius who radically transformed the world from an agricultural society into an industrial one. These improvements allowed the steam engine to replace the water wheel and horses as the main sources of power for British industry.


Through Watt’s invention of the first practical steam engine improved the effectiveness of many industries, infrastructure(boat and train traffic). Watt’s improvement of the steam engine was a huge push forward for the industrial revolution and modernisation of the world.


He also developed the concept of horsepower. The international unit of power, the Watt, was named after him as gratitude.



// Nylund

Montgolfier balloon


In September 1783 one managed to for the first time in history lift a living creature, not physically able to fly itself, from the surface of earth. Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier, more known as the Montgolfier brothers, had by watching laundry getting dry over the fire discovered that small air pockets were formed in the fabric and made it fly towards the sky. They were the sons of paper manufacturer Pierre Montgolfier and had by that an infinite access to paper. This fact turned out to be quite vital in their future lives.


Joseph was the typical scientist. He was a bit of a loner and enjoyed spending time thinking and studying on his own. Etienne was, in opposite to his brother, a business minded person. He had been studying architecture in Paris during a couple of years and had learned a lot of valuable knowledge about constructions. Together I’d say they were the ultimate inventor. Joseph had been thinking and developing the theory about the hot air pockets in the clothes and investigated if the same phenomenon would occur in a balloon made of paper. With Etienne’s ability to construct and their free access to paper through the dead father’s manufacture the first hot air balloon was built. It was a big success and the brothers got eager to develop their balloon and make it bigger. This eventually led to a hot air balloon big enough to be able to carry a human being.


On the nineteenth of September the two brothers were invited to the castle Versailles to demonstrate their balloon. As an honour of the day the balloon had a blue colour in the same shade as the sky it would lift towards and decorated with golden stars, suns and signs of the zodiac.


Even though they were eager to feel air under their feet they were careful enough to not let a human being be the first one to try the balloon, since they did not know how our bodies would be affected physically. In the basket, specially put together for the purpose, they placed a sheep called Montauciel (which beautifully enough means “Climb to heaven”), a duck and a rooster. The sheep was estimated to have a similar physiology as humans and therefore it would be easier to see how humans would be affected. The duck and the rooster was expected to be unharmed by the investigation but was there mostly to try the air craft since they are birds that are not used to be as high up in altitude. So the three animals were the first living creatures to, by help of a human invention, leave the surface of earth. This was performed in front of a crowd of applauding nobles; among them King Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette.


It is easy to understand that the Montgolfier balloon was something spectacular. Humans have always been interested in how to make the impossible possible, to make humans fly and to be able to see the world from another perspective. The Montgolfier balloon was the first time it was actually possible, it opened up a lot of doors that had been closed until now.

I found it interesting that they actually used animals in the experiment. It is now very common to use animals in different types of tests and it is strongly discussed whether it is fair or not. Is it likely that animals would have been used in an investigation like this today? And is it true that humans always have been interested in how to be able to fly? And if it is true, why do you think we are? Do humans by nature want to be able to do everything even though we are not physically able to do so?


Victoria Gunnerek

The Swedish East Indian Company

Ostindiska Kompaniet

During the 1720s one started to encourage international trade in Sweden. There had been some tough years during which Sweden had lost the Nordic war and their King. The treasury was empty and it felt vital to fill it with foreign money. Therefore the navy was prioritized; Sweden wanted to export as much as possible.


East Indian Companies had existed in Germany and the Netherlands for quite a long time when a man called Henrik König got privileges to start the Swedish East Indian Company and be the only one to keep trade with all countries east of the Cape of Good Hope.


From Sweden the East Indian Company brought wood, bar iron and forging art, things that we had a lot of. Some of these goods were sold in Spain for silver coins. The silver coins could then be used to buy tea, spices and china, in China. On their way towards East Asia they could carry trade with among other countries Madagascar and India.


I find the Swedish East Indian Company interesting since they are one of the most influential companies in Swedish history. Through their trade with the rest of the world the Swedish economy was stabilized. They were also important in the stabilizing of the Swedish globalization and contact with other countries. Today globalization is strongly connected to the world economy. Isn’t it quite interesting that it all started with a demand of foreign money, export and a fondness of culture which included china and East Asian food?


There are a lot of interesting articles to read about the Swedish East Indian Company. I’d recommend you to read this (It is in Swedish though). In 2005 a newly build copy if Ostindiefararen Götheborg, which was a part of the Swedish East Indian Company but wrecked outside Gothenburg in 1745. Many times one has been diving to investigate the wreck and they have found among other things loads of china, tea in wrappings and bundles of brocade silk.


Victoria Gunnerek

The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau



Rousseau was born the 28th of June 1712 in Geneva; he died on the 2nd of July 1778 in Ermenonville France. His political philosophy heavily influenced the French Revolution, as well as the American Revolution and the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.


Rousseau criticized Hobbes for asserting that since man in the "state of nature . . . has no idea of goodness he must be naturally wicked; that he is vicious because he does not know virtue".

Rousseau wrote that morality was not a social construct, but rather "natural" in the sense of "innate", from man's instinctive disinclination to witness suffering, from which arise the emotions of compassion or empathy. These were sentiments shared with animals, and whose existence even Hobbes was familiar with.


“The first man who had fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”

–      Jean-Jacques Rousseau


This quote reflects Rousseau’s philosophical thoughts perfectly that man kind is good but she is being destroyed by science, arts and society. To some degree I can agree with him in this because society can both have good and bad influences on people.


So if you want to read more about J.J Rousseau follow these links:



To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.

To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.

This is a quote by Charles de Montesquieu. I believe that by this quote he means that people will revere leaders that do not see themselves as dictators but instead as one of the people. Even though as a leader, having the same status as a citizen would not be possible, although he or she could have a good relation to the people of the state and that would help gaining trust from them, thus strengthening his reign.

There could also be other aspects to this quote, such as if it would be harder to lead a population that have voted for you and support you or a population that has been forced to obey you. I believe that if the people are afraid of you and they follow you only by fear, it could be easier to rule for a shorter amount of time but you have the risk of a revolution, it will only be a temporary solution and you will risk your life as well. When the people become tired of your rule, someone might try to kill you in order to appoint a new ruler. On the other hand when you rule because you have been voted leader you have to keep the people happy and that is more difficult than just using fear to rule, but on the other hand you can skip the part where you might become murdered.

What do you think? Is it easier to reign when the people are afraid of you or if they admire you?

/Daniel S Wong

The Witchcraft Trials in Salem


From June through September of 1692, nineteen men and women, all having been convicted of witchcraft, were carted to Gallows Hill, a barren slope near Salem Village, for hanging. Another man of over eighty years was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges. Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft. Dozens languished in jail for months without trials.  Then, almost as soon as it had begun, the hysteria that swept through Puritan Massachusetts ended.


What caused the Salem witch trials of 1692? This question has been asked for over 300 years. Although it is a simple question, it does not have an easy answer. The answer is difficult because there are numerous factors and events that helped create and influence the trials. The main factors that started and fuelled the trials were politics, religion, family feuds, economics, and the imaginations and fears of the people.


I can't imagine if I was a child during this awful time period. Seeing my parents participate in something so awful and so unreal. Everyone believing things that I had no choice but to believe in also. Watching people being hanged for something they had no part in and most of all enjoying their suffering. If I was one of the children during the Salem Witch Trials I would try my best to stay with what I knew was right, but most likely I would get caught up believing the unbelievable and seeing the innocent suffer.



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