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.



Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace was the birthplace of Queen Victoria and the home of Princess Diana. King William III bought the house from the Earl of Nottingham in 1689 and had it remodelled by Sir Christopher Wren. At the time, the house was a welcome respite from the drains of Whitehall Palace. Several state rooms are open to the public. The palace is set in the middle of the graceful Kensington Gardens and is near the fashionable shopping central London districts of Kensington, Knightsbridge and Chelsea.

Kensington Palace is most famous as the home of Diana, Princess of Wales, but there’s much more to it than that. It’s one of the great undiscovered secrets of London, because most people don’t even realise that it’s open to visitors, or that it contains objects and stories covering the whole of royal history from the seventeenth century onwards.

I particularly like the way the palace captures four centuries of royal history. We go from William and Mary and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, to spectacular eighteenth-century state apartments of the Hanoverians, to the childhood of Queen Victoria to the modern royal family, Princesses Margaret and Diana are key twentieth-century Kensington residents.

It's amazing to think that Kensington Palace was originally built as a country get-away for the Royals now that its right in the middle of some of the busiest, most built up areas of London.


"Drive out prejudices through the door, and they will return through the window."


March 19, 1771 - Letter to Voltaire

Frederick renewed his friendship with Voltaire, and in a letter to him he wrote that he wanted to enlighten "my people, cultivate their manners and morals, and make them as happy as human beings can be, or as happy as the means at my disposal permit." With others of the Enlightenment he continued to believe in tolerance, especially the tolerance of his subjects toward one another. But regarding this he would not be completely happy with the results. To Voltaire in 1771 he would write: "Drive out prejudices through the door, and they will return through the window."

During the Age of Enlightenment, there were advancements in many fields. This era mostly focused on the achievements of the individuals. The Age of Enlightenment resulted in less prejudice thoughts, less racism, less religious segregation and less class division.


A Prejudice is basically a statement that is very difficult to overcome. I.e. if you think you have gotten rid of them in one way they show up in some other form. An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts. Often it is about intolerance of or dislike for people of a specific race, religion and butch of other things.

What we should do, I suggest, is to give up the idea of ultimate sources of knowledge, and admit that all knowledge is human; that it is mixed with our errors, our prejudices, our dreams, and our hopes; that all we can do is to grope for truth even though it be beyond our reach




Benjamin Franklin was frustrated that he had to constantly switch his pairs of glasses, depending on what he was trying to focus on. He longed for the ability to see both near and far with a single frame. In order to accomplish this, Benjamin had the lenses of two pairs of spectacles cut in half and put half of each lens in one sole frame. Today, millions of individuals take advantage of Franklin's bifocals, giving people a convenient way in which to correct their vision for both distance and reading.


Eyes are the most used organs of our body; one simply cannot work without looking. We are so used to keeping our eyes open even when we are daydreaming or gazing aimlessly in empty space that we do not know how to function without them. In this age of television, computers and video games where the main stress is on eyes we just forget that we are overusing them. And this is where the importance of bifocals comes into relevance. With the aid of these artificial vision enhancing lenses we can see the way we want to, far and near.


But the combination of two types of lenses which would enable far and near sightedness, the Bifocals was invented by the famous American statesman and inventor Benjamin Franklin in 1700’s. Bifocals are the lenses or glasses which help people correct their far sightedness and short sightedness. These work in the same way as spectacle lens.


I think it is the best invention, not wordily, but it has helped so many people. In some case the bifocals are the struggle for survival.


Kina slott

Kina slott is a pleasure palace in Drottningholm’s park.

It was a birthday gift to queen Lovisa Ulrika from King Adolf Fredrik.


Kina slott is drawn by Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz and was led by hovintendent Jean Eric Rehn.

They started the work 1763 and it was done 1769.




The architecture is essentially French rococo but with Chinese and oriental elements which were the height of fashion in those days.

Facade, the lacquer red walls and sculptural decoration show a good knowledge of Chinese architecture, but the actual building, the body can be characterized as distinctly European.The interiors is mostly Swedish rococo.


China was the world’s cultural centrum at this time. People read books from China for example. That’s why they’ve built the pleasure palace according to Chinese culture.

Nowadays we could say that USA is the cultural centrum, we’re seeing movies, reading books and importing American fashion to Sweden.

So, if we were about to build a pleasure palace today it would probably be inspired by American culture.



If you want to read more,


// Christopher Carlsson


I think that we all are familiar with taxes, we’re complaining about too high taxes.

Everybody pay taxes today, according to what they earn. It wasn’t like this back in the 16-18 century, France was a feudal country wich means that the king was chosen by god also the nobles, priests and church didn’t had to pay taxes, then it was the “regular” people who had to pay for everything, for example all the wars.


As I said before, some of us are complaining about the high taxes but I think that we have it quite good compared to how it was around ca 1500-1700.

The people did have to pay everything while the nobles lived on the peoples taxes.

So, the people worked hard and paid almost everything they had so the nobles and the church could live like kings without doing anything.

Of course this was wrong and after a while people started to think, why am I paying for the nobles?

This, bad harvest led to higher prices and that led to lower salaries for the people.

This was one of the reasons why the French revolution broke out.


Nowadays we pay taxes according to how much we earn and also in many countries we have welfare were we helps people who doesn’t have a job. So now it’s contrary, the people without jobs and enough money now gets help with money from the ones that works and has it better.

No one gets money from doing nothing and no one is tax-extemted.

So I believe that we have it better today.



// Christopher Carlsson IB1

Spinning Jenny



The spinning jenny is an invention from the industrial revolution. 1764 was the year that James Hargreaves came up with the smart idea of the spinning jenny, which facilitated the handling of large quantities of harvested cotton. We don’t really know what the name; “spinning jenny” came from. One theory is that James Hargreaves daughter was named Jenny and he named the machine after her. The other theory is that it is a distortion from “engine”.

James Hargreaves was born in Oswaldtwistle, England in 1720 and was a carpenter and weaver. He didn’t have an education so he couldn’t even read or write. I think that it was good of James Hargreaves that he made the spinning jenny. It proves that people that don’t have an education can be good at other things. The spinning jenny has been a very important invention in those days. It helped the people to spin threads and make yarn.

It made producing yarn faster than before. This led to a negative thing; many people lost their jobs and became poor, but it wasn’t just negative, the production of yarn just needed a few persons and it produced faster and become more popular.

I think that the spinning jenny was both good and bad, good because the producing of yarn became faster, and bad that many people became poor.


What if the machines end up doing everything for us? How many would have a job then? Would it be more homeless persons then, because they don’t have any money? What do you think?

I think that more people would be poor, and they those who had a job would become rich. It might be more differences in the society.


Mozart and the Requeim.

Wolfgang Amadeuz Mozart started to play piano at a very early age. He was born in 1758 in Austria, and at the age of six he had already started to write and compose music. He later on became famous on his compositions, and when he and his family made a journey through Europe it gave him the opportunity to play at concerts all over the Europe.
Before Mozart died he wrote many symphonies including the marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and the magic flute.

Mozart died in an early stage of life and before he died he started to write the famous symphony Requiem.
The Requiem was far away from ready when Mozart died, however it is one of his most famous works. Due to Wolfgang's death he could not finish it but there were others who did it for him. The most famous completed version was made by Wolfgang Amadeuz Mozart and Franz Xaver Sussmayrs version. Even though there have been made many versions of the Requeim this still the most famous one.

I do think that Mozart was extremely talented on what he did. And because of that, I do not think that anyone else should finish his works, since there is probably no one who can live up to his level. Also it's not really Mozart's own work when somebody else is finishing it. So I think they should have left the Requeim as It was even if it did not become famous. It's the same thing as if Leonardo Da Vinci had painted half the Mona-Lisa and then died. It's not the same thing when someone else has done it, because they didn't make the art itself, it would almost be like cheating on a test.
What do you think?
// Calle

“One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.”

This was once said by Thomas Paine, an American who lived during the 18th century. He is called one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and had an impact on the American Revolution.


Thomas Paine was not a Christian; he belonged to the religion of Deism. This means he believed that God created the Earth, but was no longer in charge of its fate. That he was not a Christian maybe shows why he said something like this, but I understand his thoughts. It is better to have someone who can learn you the principles today’s society is based on, instead of teach you about Christianity. I would rather have one hundred teachers and one priest in one town, than the other way around. At least I feel that religion should not be tied up to one man’s thoughts, it should be something you explore for yourself. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy listening to others thoughts about everything, but mostly it should be about your personal relationship with God. And if you want to get deeper into Christianity, why not read the Bible? You do not have to have someone who is telling the stories for you.


I know you can read a lot of books and gain knowledge about the society as well, but many things are complicated, and it could be nice having someone to explain it for you. Common knowledge consists of raw facts; it does not include any deeper levels of religions around the world. So, despite I am a Christian, I agree with Thomas Paine. You need knowledge the Bible cannot teach you to get a job nowadays, that is a fact. Instead of putting money into preachers’ hands, give it to someone who helps children, and adults, to gain the knowledge they need to be able to get a job. In the developed countries around the globe, we have more teachers than priests, a lot more actually. In the developing countries, I am not so sure. Their source of inspiration to manage the day lies in the hands of their God, and therefore they have many priests and such. I think we should help them to get more teachers. If you have watched any show about raising money for children in needs, you may know that they often try to raise money for schools, and when they interview a pupil, the most common answer they get is: “I want to be a teacher when I grow up”. Within the next generation there will be more teachers, but we need to help them getting there by being their teachers for now. They are making progress.


/Sebastian Carlshamre




During the enlightenment new inventions came that contributed to the industrial revolution . For example: the spinning Jenny, the water frame and and an improved steam engine. This revolution lead to both positive and negative things both when it happened and today.


A negative aspect both today and in the 18th century is of course the negative impact it had on the environment. Coal was used much in the factories and for transportation and that made the industrial ares and the air very dirty. The same today, factories are still not environmentally friendly and it has hurt our nature.


The work conditions under the industrial revolution where really bad. People, lived in small houses in cramped streets around the factories. They worked long hours, they didn't get a high salary and child labor was not unusual. The owners of the factory wanted, of course,  a high profit as possible. Today it is the same, we as buyers want to buy our gods for as little money as possible. Then the factory owner has to give his/hers employers a low salary or have machines that does the work, and then many people will be unemployed and that is not good either. The problems with the work conditions has luckily changed today in the Western world. In other parts of the world like China, Taiwan and Bangladesh the problem still exists.


We have gotten a more comfortable life with new products. No man can produce everything that he needs on his own today. We need, if we are suppose to maintain the life we live now, help from others. Without factories and the industrial revolution we wouldn't have all the things we have today, but you can question if it is worth it when you know the harm it cause  on the environment and on the factory workers.



By: Kajsa

Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht

Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht was born 1718 in Stockholm and she died at the age of 44 in 1763. Nordenflycht was a lyric poet and one of the first Swedish female self-supporting writers. She is also sometimes called the first Swedish feminist.


As a young girl Nordenflycht would rather study than learn that times typical women's work. So her parents let her study under her brother's tutor and the family also hired a man named Johan Tideman who conversed with Nordenflycht about philosophy and literature. Tideman later became her husband after a wish from Nordenflycht's father's deathbed. Tideman died after only 3 years of marriage.


Nordenflycht's bad luck with men continued, her second marriage with Jakob Fabricius only lasted for a year before he also died. Nordenflycht started to think that life was troublesome, she was tired of living and found consolation in writing. A friend of Nordenflycht helped her to publish her poetry work under the name “ The mourning Turtledove”. The poems in the book were inspired by the deaths of her two previous husbands. This was the start point of her career and in the following years she wrote and published a series of poetry work.


As Nordenflycht was a feminist she disliked Jean-Jacques Rousseau perception of women. So in 1761 she wrote a poem that was addressed to him called “fruentimrets försvar”.


Her bad luck with relationship followed her under her whole life. When Nordenflycht was around 40 years old she fell in love with man who was twenty-years-younger than herself, Johan Fischerström. This was her last love. She wasn't happy with the relationship though. She died soon after the relationship had started. It is not sure how she died, some say that she committed suicide and others claim that she died suffering from cancer.


In the poem “Min levnads lust är skuren av” Nordenflycht writes about the grief after her husband Jakob Fabricius. The poem is very emotional and heartbreaking. She is feeling really bad, so bad that she even wants to die. You can relate to her loss of hope in life and her feeling that nothing will ever be better. She is feeling that her life is not worth living without her loved one. The poem is one of her most famous ones.


Here you can read the whole poem by Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht :är_skuren_av



By: Kajsa

Womens education

The status of women during the Enlightenment changed drastically. Even though individual liberties, social welfare, economic liberty and education often was discussed and brought up, it didn't affect women much. In many ways, the position of women was seriously degraded during the Enlightenment. Economically, the rise of capitalism produced laws that severely restricted women's rights to own property and run businesses. While Enlightenment thinkers were proposing economic freedom and enlightened monarchs were tearing down barriers to production and trade, women were being forced out of a variety of businesses throughout Europe. In 1600, more than two-thirds of the businesses in London were owned and administered by women; by 1800, that number had shrunk to less than ten percent.

Even though more people, especially women, could get an education the quality of the education became worse. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, education was available only to the wealthiest women, most to men. The education that these select women received was often fairly equivalent in content and quality to the best education available to men. The Enlightenment, however, stressed the absolute importance of education for moral development and the ideal operation of society. Education was extended to the women of the upper and middle classes. Thus Enlightenment thinkers believed that women and men differed in intellect. They said that science and philosophy only were meant for men. These subjects were closed off to women. Instead women were offered training in "accomplishments," which is, various skills that contribute to the moral development and the "display" quality of a wife: music, drawing, singing, painting, and so on. While men were learning the new sciences and philosophies, all that was offered to women in education was decorative "accomplishments."

Today we don't differ men from women when we discuss education. Everyone has the right to study any subject. However in Sweden today women often have a longer education then men. For those who choose to become a builder, painter or work with vehicles has a shorter education than for those who decide to become doctors, teachers or any other subject that needs high education from the person. Imagine a doctor who has no idea how to treat the most common illnesses! Even though we have the right to become what we want the majority who chooses to become something that has most to do with practical work, are men. These educations are shorter than others because you can choose it secondary school and then you're done. Whereas those who want to become a teacher or doctor or what ever that isn't to choose as a 3-year program in secondary school, have to live through 3 years of general knowledge to then study what the subject or ender a program that educate you for the job you in the future want to have.


Jean-Baptiste Greuze vs. today's -isms

Jean- Baptiste Greuze was born 1725 and died 1805. He was a French artist and "Le Père de famille expliquant la Bible a ses enfants," was his first painting that gave him attention. He became a genera artist and his paintings had a moralized purpose and each painting had a story to tell.

One painting I like very much is The spoiled child or “L'enfant gâté” as it's called in French. Even though I have to say, I'm not really in fond of paintings from the enlightenment at all. Even though they all have their own stile, they're very similar to each other. They all picture people in a realistic environment and whether they are outside or inside it looks like watching a picture taken with a camera, with small beautifications of course.

I am more in fond of today's art. We have a range of different types of paintings. From the 2000th century art exploded with -isms. Surrealism, expressionism, suprematism, you name it! Why would we want to paint people wearing beautiful dresses, or being completely naked.. when we can look at a painting and thinking “what on earth does this look like?” and have a interesting discussion where no-one's opinion would be wrong, since we view it from different perspectives.

Which type of art are you more interested in? Today's unrealistic paintings, or rococo art?


Mordet på Gustav III

"Förliden fredag d. 16 mars 1792, kl. 3/4 till 12 om aftonen, då hans Kongl. Maj:t nyss var inkommen på maskeradbalen uti Kongl. Operahuset, hade en okänd mask infunnit sig uti trängseln af de masker, som samlat sig bakom konungen, och der aflossat en pistol hvars skott tagit ett stycke öfver venstra höften något ifrån ryggraden."


Gustav III was very interested in culture. Big parties with a big influence from France were common on the royal court and they even talked French there, even though it was in Sweden. It was just on a big party when Gustav III was murdered. The party was a masquerade ball on Kungliga Operan. During the night the king got a letter with a threat, Gustav III ignored it because he had got many of the same letters before, and then it didn’t happen something. This was a stupid mistake that the king did, later that evening Jacob Johan Anckarström shot him. It wasn’t just Jacob Johan Anckarström, it was about 13 people on the masquerade ball who was in the conspiracy. All of them had the same clothes.


Now to the question, why did Jacob Johan Anckarström shot Gustav III? Anckarström felt failed and blamed all on Gustav III, in particular of the constant tax increases. Another thing was that Gustav III changed the constitutional amendment so that he was alone to govern Sweden.


I think that Jacob Johan Anckarström did the wrong thing. Why shot a king because he felt failed? Sure, it wasn’t that fun when the taxes were increased and Gustav III changed the constitutional amendment but was it necessary to kill him just for that?


You can link this situation to things in today society, one example fighting. Let’s say that it is two boys on a party. Boy 1 is just looking at boy 2 and then the boy 2 became angry. Instead of talking with boy 1, boy 2 hit boy 1. This often happen when alcohol is involved and I think that instead of fighting the boys should talk. The same thing was when Jacob Johan Anckarström shot Gustav III. Instead of just shooting him, he should have talked with Gustav III before and than they could work it out in another way.


So in my opinion (and hopefully yours too) should people begin to talk more than e.g. fighting or shooting someone. Instead for be disturbed and angry you can try to do something about it!




To read more about the murder of Gustav III:




Marie Antoinette – part 1 – style

Marie Antoinette was the queen of France (1774-1792), married to Louis XVI. Being the queen allowed her to have access to all the extravagant clothes and rich garments, with a budget that she didn’t seem to care about. It’s easy to say that Marie Antoinette was not only the queen of France, but also the queen of all shopaholics.

This woman had quite a few dresses, and we might think that these dresses are outrageously ugly but in those days her style was high fashion. The queen ordered the newest looks from the prestigious designer Rose Bertin, the leading Paris couturiere. The dress code was of course dresses at all times, often in soft pastel colors. Antoinette supported the avant-garde fashion, with the 3-foot high powdered hair and the extremely wide dresses. The dresses were so wide that when she was going to go through a doorstep she had to turn 90 degrees and walk sideways to be able to go through. Under the heavy dresses she had to wear long, unbelievably tight corset.

Antoinette had a kind of corset that a called “the grand corps”. It was only worn by her, and other noble women could wear it on a special occasion. This corset was stiffer that the other types of corsets (as if they weren’t stiff enough?) and it made eating breathing and moving hard. The queen was known for her rebellious ways when it came to wearing the grand corps, she refused it, but can you blame her? Fortunately for her she was skinny enough that she didn’t need a corset, therefore she would often go without.

I can’t imagine walking around in corsets that tight and dresses that big. In those days women had to wear it every day, all the time. Can you imagine coming home from school and not putting on your sweatpants and instead putting on a corset and a 60 pound dress? As I mentioned, the corsets make it harder to eat, breathe and move, this is because it’s incredibly tight and presses all your organs together. This means that it’s not only unbelievably uncomfortable but it is also medically dangerous. Thank god that the world has developed in a way that allows us to be comfortable when wearing clothes, and not risking death (because of the corsets).

Even though I wouldn’t want to walk around in those dresses I would like to try one. Personally I think that these dresses are a work of art. All the time and effort the designers put into their creations is visible. You can see that her style reflects in today’s modern fashion. Designers like John Galliano (for Dior), made a collection reflecting Marie Antoinette’s dresses. Some of the big fashion houses create pieces with small details reflecting 18th century fashion like Alexander McQueen. You don’t even have the look that far, even H&M takes after a bit of that old fashion, for example sunbonnets. The renaissance fashion has had a big impact on today’s fashion, but it has developed a lot, and I think that we all are grateful for that.

Kimia Rezaei

John Adams

John Adams



Adams was a highly educated statesman, diplomat and political theorist and promoted republicanism.

He was America’s second president 1797-1801 after a little profit against the one that in year 1800 won the election, Thomas Jefferson. Later anyway did he took up the friendship with him again after some years of tough competition between them.

Adams was a very active delegate from Massachusetts in the congress but did also work very hard for a free America. In May 1776 did the congress choose him and five other including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman to write the American declaration of independence that should release them from Gr. Britain. From the beginning did it only was thirteen states, all from the east side of the big country. The declaration included what is called the best sentence of English language about individual human rights:


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


When the writers were elected it was usual that they were put in order and when it was voted the main writer became Thomas Jefferson the one that received most votes in the congress and Adams came after and it’s said that it was only with a single vote. John was big fighter for freedom and wrote in 1787 to the defence of the constitutions, I quote: “Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom” which I think is pretty good because it is all about what you learn when you’re little, that will follow in your head throughout your life. Like if you learn to handle and not wasting your money when you’re little you probably won’t do it when you get older either. I think it’s the same thing with attitude to war.


They both died, John and Thomas incidentally on the independent day 4th of July 1826 and just hours after that Jefferson had died should Adams have said: “Thomas Jefferson survives”


/ Jakob Lundén

Economy during the Enlightenment

The economy during the enlightenment had some dramatic changes. From the beginning had the economy and politics strong connection with each-other. The farmers had contracts with the feudal society and was ruled by them. They paid to much taxes and the taxes was only awarded to aristocrats or the members in the government.


The mercantilism played a big role in the economy. The government had big control over the economics and created a good balance. But this system had to go and changes were made. Francois Quensnay was a new thinker. In his book, Tablue Economiques he talks about and describes the natural order of trade. The natural order of trade was a method of trading which the government did not have any role in. This new kind of trading would both society and the individual person earn money on

This kind of trading was then developed by Adam Smith which took the economy to a new again.He focused on how to make the economy and trading work best. Smith thought that an free market economy worked best.

Smith ideas was spread across the world and countries like United States who took his ideas which lead to economic growth for USA.


The natural order of trade was a very good thing for the future of economy.  I think the free trade system was good because it made the government step aside from economy and the bound between them was minimized.

What do you think?


// Calle

Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes was born in Malmsbury, England in 1588. He was educated in the finest school of England. When Hobbes became older he fled to France when King Charles time at the power almost was over and the parliamentarians was going to rule of the country and Hobbes was a monarchist. Hobbes left and he stayed for 4 years before the return to England.


His time in France was successful. There he wrote most of his books but not everyone liked them. Back in England his books was banned. And they even burned his books in Oxford. During the time in France he also wrote his most famous book, the Leviathan which was published in 1651. Leviathan is about the structure of the society. This book Is called one of the earliest examples of the social contract theory or the state of nature. Hobbes talks much about the state of nature in Leviathan and he describes it as “ war of every man against every man”. He means that a man is selfish in his natural state of mind. He also proclaims in the book that a single ruler is the best form of leading something.


I don not think everybody is selfish and only cares about themselves. If we would do that, we would not live together In packs like we do today. We all would be loners.



// Calle

Rousseau - opinion about females


Rousseau, religion and many other philosophers said that the man was standing above the woman and had the supreme role in the society! Rousseau believed that man and woman were born with different capabilities, but together they would complement each other. He meant that man should take care of the business outside the home while women on the other hand should take care of the home and the kids only because that women are naturally weak and therefore only capable of serving the male gender. For that reason, females have no need of any masculine qualities like education or physical strength.


-"What the brain wants isn’t always what your body is able to manage, that’s why men have the supreme role in the society!" – Rasmus Holmqvist, 2010.

(He was joking, so don’t be mad at him girls).


You could say that even the bible supports Rousseau’s opinion about the female role in the society at that time, "That Eve (female) was created to give Adam (male) pleasure when he was bored".



Rousseau said that the education of women should always be relative to the one of men. The duties of woman at all times towards man is to give him pleasure, be useful, making him love and esteem her, educate him when young and caring for him when grown up.


It’s really an absurd thought that women are made to please the male gender in different ways. Females should have the same rights as men when it comes to education, jobs, salary and even the general roll in the society! It must have been very hard for women during these periods of times, when philosophers and religion says that the female is standing below the male gender in the society. I'm glad that the society and the view towards the female gender has change during time and will continue changing so that women will become equal to the male gender.

// Nylund

Catharine's plot against Peter III - What comes after a tyrant?


In the year of 1762 Karl Peter Ulrich was proclaimed Tsar of Russia(emperor) after the passing of Peter the Great, with the name Peter III. (Peter was the nephew of late King Charles XII of Sweden)  Peter was married to Sophia Augusta Frederica, later named as Catherine.


Peter was considered inappropriate as emperor due to his incompetence and excellent low talent. Around Catherine there was a group loyal to her and wanted to see her as Empress. In June 1762, one of the conspirators was arrested and to avoid the conspiracy to be revealed, it was decided to strike. Grigory Orlov, Catherine’s lover, and his four brothers had bought support in three Guards regiments in the capital. To meet any counter-attack from Tsar Peter, Catherine gathered 14,000 men and headed of towards Peterhof. Peter gave up without resistance, and was then under house arrest. Just over a week later Peter was beaten to death, after Catherine decided that he could never be released since he was a major threat to her as an Empress.

As Empress, Catherine's intentions were good-hearted but unfortunately didn’t lead to any improvements and it was equally unstable in Russia as when Peter had power.

Catherine had some difficulties controlling the nobility which had no intention on helping her what so ever, as long as Catharine didn’t have the support of the nobility she would have difficulties to manage the "new Russia" and keeping the plebs happy. (reason-The nobility didn’t want to give up the privileges they had.) During Peter's and Catherine’s reign the rich only became richer while the poor simply became poorer. The situation was just as unstable as before and once again on the verge of civil war. In 1773, Catherine struck down an uprising (the Pugatjev-uprising) against her regime but the hate and fear remained towards her and even enhanced by the influence of the French Revolution. Catherine was declared “the tyrant” by the Russian people. Later Catherine managed to gain power over the entire Russia and gave herself the title of Empress and Autocrat of all Russians.

This coup (revolution) to depose Peter III and replace him with Catherine, didn’t contribute whatsoever with any improvements in the governance of the country and it was still unstable and on the brink of civil war. This shows that when one deposes a bad leader from his or her position, one can never be sure that whoever succeeds will be somewhat better! The fear in who will take control after a tyrant, another tyrant maybe? Israel suffered from this fear in who would take the position as the new leader of Egypt after President Mubarak.

You can never be sure if the new leader won’t be as inefficient or even terrifying as the one before. Peter was a terrible example of a leader and Catharine couldn't allow that Russia would suffer from the incompetents of their current emperor, so she took the position as the leader of Russia and had so many plans for Russia. She turned out not to be so much better than Peter. She was only another tyrant.



// Nylund

The lightning rod


The lightning rod was invented by Benjamin Franklin in the Americas in 1749. Benjamin Franklin was fascinated by storms and he loved to study them. The lightning rod is a conductor mounted on top of a building and it makes the electricity from the lightning go straight to the ground through a wire instead of into the building. This makes the building safe and it will not be destroyed by the lightning. The reason why the conductor is placed on top of the building is because it is the highest point and the lightning always tries to find the highest point.

Except from saving buildings, the lightning rod also save a lot of people from being hurt by it, which I think is very good. If there is no lightning rod and the lightning hit the building, the people in it can be hurt because it can start a fire and so on. You will also feel much safer inside your house if you have a lightning rod.

I think that the lightning rod is a very important invention because it has saved many lives and also buildings. It has also made people safer inside their houses. What do you think? Is the lightning rod an important invention or is it just waste of money and unnecessary to have one?


// Alexandra

Spinning Jenny

The original Spinning Jenny


Spinning jenny was the first spinning wheel using a multi-spool spinning frame. It was invented by James Hargreaves in northern England. This invention made it easier to produce yarn, with one worker being able to work eight spools at once, this eventually grew into 120 spools at once. Hargreaves invented spinning jenny in the mid 18th century and it is said to be named after his daughter Jenny, others say that it is named “Jenny” because only women worked with the spinning wheels. The thing is that James Hargreaves had many daughters but none of them was named Jenny.


Many people obviously lost their jobs because of this device. They didn’t need that many people working and it took a lot less time to produce yarn, so the price fell, this of course led to protest. This happens all the time, today we have machines doing everything for us, and the question is where is the world heading? People don’t milk cows anymore, everybody uses a calculator to count maths and what’s next? This is all to make our lives easier but how easy will it get? I wish the world should just stop as it is, because it is not eco-friendly to manufacture everything.


Some things are developing in the right direction (for example eco-clothes) but a lot is still causing people to lose their jobs and the world to pollute. If we just keep developing things then the scientists and inventors will be the only ones having jobs because we will have machines doing everything else. Maybe this is an exaggeration but it can’t do us any good, can it?




Kimia Rezaei

Jonathan Swift

He is seen as one of the biggest satirist in the world literature. He questioned society, and he is the one who wrote Gulliver’s travels. It is his most famous work and it is a satire of society and it makes fun of the genre “travelers’ tales”. His work lives on in many forms of children’s books and TV-series. Did you watch Gulliver’s travels cartoons when you were kids? I didn’t miss an episode!

As you may know thoughts like this (disagreeing with society) were not appreciated in those times. Swift had to be secretive with his work and he had the manuscript copied so that his handwriting could not be evidence if a prosecution should arise. Later the manuscript was handed secretly to the publisher Benjamin Motte. Isn’t it convenient that we have our laws about freedom of expression?

I think that he was right to contradict society. I also think that he was very brave to release the work that he did, risking jail for spreading his thoughts. It is kind of like the freedom-fighters in today’s society, for example in Asia, the ones that risk jail time because they want to help people think from a new perspective. I think they need to do that in communism North Korea, it is not easy because just like Jonathan Swift the new thinkers risk jail. Should they stand up to the government for their rights and risk their lives? I hope that they could, but it is easy for me to say because I live in peaceful Sweden. If I lived in North Korea I don’t think I would be that brave.

What do you think?



Jonathan Swift

Kimia Rezaei

The Coffeehouse


In the 17th century the coffee for the first time were at sale outside the Ottoman Empire.

Coffee considered as a medical drink, but as fast it wasn’t any medicine any more the pubs started to sale coffee and even some pubs specialised in coffee and became coffeehouses.

Some historians says that women wasn’t allowed to enter the coffeehouses and some historians tell the completely opposite.

So coffeehouses became the rich peoples pubs but it says that they got drunk there to, which doesn’t sound like ordinary coffee.

But it was the calm place if you would go out and drink some.

1739 there were 551 coffeehouses in London.

I don’t know how big London at that time but it sounds like a lot because England is tea-drinkers (Prejudice) and there were a lot of pubs also so I don’t understand how so many public houses could be open.

There were also a huge difference between the coffeehouses because they roast there own coffee.

So it was important to get the best coffee, like always.

The number of coffeehouses decreased at 18th century but returned in all its glory at the 19th century.

By: Philip

French revolution

The economy before the revolution was terrible because the French king Louis XVI wanted to live as comfortable as possible as he could.
The king was no genius and lost a lot of wars, so the before so rich France now was really poor.
The king took the decision to raise the taxes A LOT because he didn’t want to lose his comfortable life.
How did Louise think when he did this decision, well they did have a different view of how thing worked at those days so basically I cant argue about this.
I’ll try anyway, by show himself weak to the other countries around France they started to invade.
By these war ( and losses ) the economy fell in the entire country, by raising the taxes he dug the economical bar even lower, he thought it could save him, I mean how?
should the money the people lose help just him?
In my opinion he should recruit more to the army and not let them work to pay taxes so when the army grows they can resist the attacks of their neighbor.
But the king had absolutely no knowledge about warfare at all so he probably wouldn’t be the one leading them. As the revolutionaries he should have generals.
Anyway its a lot thanks to him we got democracy today.
If it wasn’t for him the French revolution probably wouldn’t happened, but on the other hand if it wasn’t for him France could had a lot more important role in the United States and it could have ended in a way we don’t even can imagine.

By: Philip

Blaise Pascal – The Mechanical Calculator

The mechanical calculator was invented 1642 by the French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal. The calculator was an adding machine, which could perform additions, subtractions, multiplication and division. It was called Pascal’s calculator or the Pascaline. Pascal made the calculator to ease his father’s calculations and recalculations of taxes owned and paid. As the Pascaline was very expensive it became more like a toy and a status symbol for rich people (sounds a bit like the iPad today doesn’t it?).


The adding machine was commonly used as office equipment until approximately 1985. It was then phased out in favour of the computers. The machine has rarely been seen during the 21th century.


Even if there are smarter calculators etc. today, I can imagine how nice it would be to have a Pascaline during the enlightenment. Everything must have gone so much faster. Evan if calculating easy things it is much easier to have a calculator, to be really sure of calculating correctly. On offices etc. where you work with numbers all day long something mechanically must have been great. I at least think that all kind of math would be harder and more boring if we had no kinds of calculators. Because then it would take so long time, and it would be easier to make small mistakes.


About Blaise Pascal’s adding machine:'s_calculator



By: Nora JvS

Montesquieu – the Separation of powers

Charles Louis Joseph Montesquieu (1689-1755) was a French political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment. Montesquieu was the inventor of the model of the tripartite system. The model shows a separating of power among a legislative branch, an executive branch and a court. The model was based on the British constitutional system. He considered that a monarch should rule no country alone. As the monarch could be too fast when making decisions and therefore he can misuse his power. Also the monarch, according to Montesquieu, should not be able to make laws since he can make them just so that he benefits. Instead there should be laws deciding over the monarch. The most important aim with separating powers is to prevent dictatorship and an autocracy.


  • The legislative branch is the once who make laws. The legislative branch is supposed to be the voice of the people. As the people itself cannot participate during all discusses they vote for the persons included in the branch.


  • The Executive branch was the monarch and could not be chosen through elections. The monarch were not allowed to participate in the STIFFTANDE of the laws but were the once who could decide whether accept them or not.


  • The court are the once who use the laws during judging. Montesquieu thought the judge was supposed to be at the same social status as the on doomed. To make the judging more faire.


To make the model work, the different branches must limit the power of the others.  So that no one of the three branches becomes too powerful.


Today the Separation of Powers is still used in the US. Their political system proceeds from the model of Montesquieu. There are a separating of powers between the president, the congress and the Supreme Court.


I believe Montesquieu’s model is, to the most countries, a very good way of ruling. Dividing powers makes the people more involved and makes us a larger impact on politics etc. Although in crisis etc. there could actually be better with only one with the power, when we want action fast.


Do you think it is positive or negative to have divided powers?


For more reading about Montesquieu and his thoughts:



By: Nora JvS

“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” – Descartes

This quote was made by Rene Descartes also known by “father of modern philosophy”. I think a lot of Descartes quotes are interesting but this one caught my eye, you can’t always go with something someone told you. Sometimes you have to doubt the information given to you and find out the facts for yourself.

Descartes thought since we all come from different backgrounds and have different beliefs and judgments; it is hard to come to an agreement on things. So in order to come to an agreement on issues such as truth, we have to avoid the problem of who is right and why, Descartes tries to come up with a method that can be used by anyone. If we begin with principles that we all acknowledge as correct, we can use this method to come to an agreement about what is true.

I think that if people didn’t doubt, then a lot of people would get ripped off and we wouldn’t have the right of freedom. Because if nobody doubted anything then we’d still be living in the Middle Ages, when the pope was head of the church and was very powerful. Because of doubt, we found science, and with science we’ve accomplished so much. What do you think?


Mary Anderson.

I bet that most of you thought that the windshield wipers were invented by a man, but you are mistaken. The windshield wipers was invented by Mary Anderson, born in Greene County, Alabama. Anderson came up with the idea windshield wipers during a trip to New York City, when she noticed that the streetcar drivers had to open the windows of their cars when it rained in order to see. So as a solution, Anderson invented a swinging arm device with a rubber blade that was operated by the driver from within the vehicle using a lever. Pretty smart right? I think so. But how did they work, well they were operated by hand. Either the driver or a passenger had to work a crank to make the wipers go back and forth. Anderson was awarded a 17-year patent in 1903. Many people were wary of the windshield wipers invention, thinking it would distract the driver. After being rejected so many times she just decided to put it to the side.

I think that her invention was genius. It most have been quite difficult seeing the road when it was raining plus they had the windows open thinking it was easier. I don't see how they thought that. That's like driving blind. But they eventually did agree to put windshield wipers on cars, in the 1920's.


Enlightenment economy


During the enlightenment the people in villages began to realize that things don’t need to go on as they have always done. New governments were formed, new charts created and new businesses began. The people were naturally convinced that their earnings were a result of their hard work and merits. The monarchy dwindled through these years and so did the church.


Most important is that the middle classes were painfully aware that they were paying taxes to support a fabulously expensive aristocracy which contributed nothing of value to society. The useless aristocrats were very unwilling to share power with those who actually managed and to their way of thinking created national wealth. Especially in France the people became upset because they were paying higher and higher taxes and all the money went to a few thousand aristocrats.


I think this is insane! How could these people be aware that all their money goes to a few aristocrats and not do something about it? I would never have payed taxes if it had no effect on society, and how could the aristocrats take all this money and still have good conscience? Thank god we don’t have to pay taxes and that all the money goes too our politicians.




Ludwig van Beethoven



Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is known in our days as one of the greatest composers throughout history with W.A. Mozart and J.S. Bach at his side. Among his works you can find “The Moonlight Sonata” and “Für Elise”. He did not write as many works as Mozart or Bach, but that is only because he was a perfectionist; he re-wrote his works several times before he was happy. He had his first performance at an age of 7, at Cologne in Köln, Germany. As his father wanted to create a “new Mozart”, a wonder child, he announced the boy as 6 years old instead. It is kind of ironic, because even Ludwig himself believed in his father, and through the rest of his life he thought he was one year younger than he actually was. In 1787 he went to Vienna and met Mozart, and became a pupil to Joseph Haydn among other famous composers.

Beethoven died in 1827, after a cold had taken other life-long health problems up to the surface. It is estimated that somewhere between 10000 and 30000 came to his funeral. If you compare it to Mozart’s funeral, where the few people that came fled from the rain before he was lowered into the ground, it was quite respectful and it shows that he was not only appreciated after his life, as many artists are, but during his life as well.


The reason Beethoven is so special among many composers in history is that he had a reduction of his hearing half of his life. In 1801 he felt it for the first time and during a period of 17 years he became almost completely deaf. During some time he thought about taking his own life, but chose to keep going, as he had so much more within music to discover. It is a great accomplishment to be recognized as one of the greatest within music history and being deaf. He had to know how every note sounded, without hearing it, to write anything, and I think he managed pretty well.


Within music the quote “It was better back then” fits right in. You may be disagreeing with me on that point, but think about it. The music we have today might sound better to you, but if you look at how it is performed classical music is the clear winner. In today’s music you use our modern technology to make it sound right, and any kid with some money can record a song and then autotune it to make it sound better. They did not have anything like that back then. All they had was hard work and raw talent. Therefore, the music was better back then.


What do you think? Is it right to compare there greatest works with ours?


/Sebastian Carlshamre

The Terror of the Barbery Coast - Regarding slavery:



Northen Africa is today a chaotic place. The leaders of Tunisia and Egypt has been sacked from their positions, and in Libya there is a civil war going on. There were some lunatics there 300 years ago as well. During the Enlightenment, the Ottoman Empire had control over the the North African coast to the mediterranean. The coast called ”The Barbery Coast”, because of the Berber inhabitants, (The most famous Berber to you is probably Zinedine Zidane), was the home of the Barbery corsairs. Also called the Ottoman corsairs they were primarily based in the port cities of Tripoli, Algiers, and Tunis. But their predation did not only cover one small part of the Mediterranean, oh no. Their area of predation extended through the Mediterranean, up the Northen Atlantic reaching as far as Iceland, and south along Western Africa's Atlantic seabord and even South America. What   did they do then? As their name suggests, they were pirates. They did however not only seize ships, they did also engage in razzias on European coastal towns. The main purpose of this vile behaviour was to capture Christian slaves for the Islamic market. They were extremely successful, from the 16th to 19th century they captured 800,000 to 1.25 million slaves. The corsairs were not just ottomans, some corsairs were european outcasts. Englishman John Ward was the most famous of the huddle. Some of the corsairs were a part of the Ottoman fleet, the most famous Ottoman corsair, Hayreddin Barbarossa was appointed admiral-in-chief  by the sultan himself. The impact of the corsairs in Southern Europe was devastating, the European powers lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Italian and Spanish coasts were abandoned.


Anyhow, slave trading was it. Why did the islamic corsairs capture all those slaves? One reason can be the influenced of Aristotle's ideas of certain ethnic groups being slaves by nature. Many Muslim philosophers echoed these ideas, so that can be a factor. Basically though, I believe that they did for the money, and it would not surprise me if they also found big pleasure in what they did. One might argue if they were truthful muslims because as the prophet Mohammed so nicely put it: ”There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for the white over the black nor for black over the white except in piety”.  In piety means to do something in devotion to one's god. Somehow I doubt that the corsairs was capturing slaves in the name of Allah, it does not seem right to me. The corsairs might have captured many, but you should keep in mind that it is only one tenth of the amount of the slaves that were taken from Africa to America during the 19th century. What about slavery and the trading of slave today? A naive person would say that it is not a problem anymore, this is not the case. Slavery has just gone shapeshifting, Loki style. Former Secretary-General of the U.N Kofi Annan said in 1999: ”Even as laws banning slavery and its prohibition are enshrined in international instruments, notably the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is stilled practised in many forms: tradional chattel slavery, bonded labour, serfdom, child labour, forced labour and slavery for ritual or religious purposes”. Why is that? Why do slavery still exist? There are other kinds of human trading as the trafficking of young women and forcing prostitution onto them. What can be done to stop this? I believe that a weak economy is the biggest reason to the most of these problems. Poor countries in Central Africa do not stand a chance in the fight against slavery, if they fight at all. Many governments in the poor countries of the world are also very corrupt, and are doing nothing to stop this. Bonded labour is another kind of slavery, I do not know if you remember when the guy from Pakistan visited us and talked about it. I believe we wrote a paragraph on the topic as well. Anyhow, quick recap, bonded labour is when the poor people are forced to loan money from the rich people and they are then ”bonded” to work for them. This is also a popular theme in popular culture. I could go on forever and discuss all the aspects of slavery, but I will not do that, because none of you would then be bothered to read the whole text, and then it would be no interesting discussion in the comment field. So I end my text by asking you: What should be done to stop slavery and trafficking, and who is responsible for doing it?


Do you want read up on the Barbery corsairs or slavery? Then I recommend you to check this links out and then come back to this page and discuss the subject with me. ;)


Oh, I almost forgot to tell you of the end of the Barbery corsairs! The piracy came to an end when France conquested Algiers in 1830




/Andreas Larsson

Enlightened despot



A enlightened despot is about that during the 1700th century was the monarchies influenced by the enlightenment. It was said that the kings and queens were put in there seat by good, they were born to be king or queen. Voltaire changed that and said that they were put the by the people. One of the first one to agree with this as a king was Joseph II of Austria that said that he were put there by god but he was improving the seats for the people. This was also a way to strengthen their authority. Joseph II became a regent when his father died. His mother Maria Theresa then made him to a coregent even if they had very different motivations. She was a deeply believing catholic and was unsympathetic to the enlightenment. She stood with the church and nobles against the new changes even if the famous philosopher Voltaire said that enlightened monarchy was the only right way for society to advance. Anyway, Joseph however made a lot of enlightened reforms, people were know tended to get freedom of speech and press as religious toleration, they could even be able to hold an own property. At the same time did he continued on his mothers lines that she once had made up.

During this period said also a philosopher called Montesquieu said that republics were more suitable for large states and that monarchies were better for smaller states but why should it be like that? Probably had Montesquieu right because a lot of the larger countries around the world are actually republics even now a days, with some exceptions like Great Britain, Spain, Australia and Canada. What is it now that makes a little country suitable for monarchy? Could it be that in a big country is it more people who wants to decide things and therefore is it better with an elected head of state?

At last despot has in later years became an expression that are kind of patronizing and were often I connection with people that abused their power to oppress the population.


/ jakob lundén

”An Act to take away the Benefit of Clergy from some kind of Manslaughter.”

“An act to take away the Benefit of Clergy from some kind of Manslaughter” is a law invented by the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I. Before the invention of this law Clergy could basically do whatever they wanted to do.  The Clergy had it just as our Swedish king today. The Swedish king cannot be judge for murder or driving too fast. It was the same with the Clergy. When this law came, the Clergy did not have the same “freedom” any more. (If you can call it freedom to murder someone without being judge for it.) The Clergy became more like ordinary people in the society. The Clergy could now be judged for some kind of manslaughter.

I think this law is good. I mean, just because you are one type of person it does not mean that you can do whatever you want to do without consequences. Every person on this earth is equal. The job or place in the society should not matter.  I think it is strange that the Clergy had the benefit to do some kind of manslaughter earlier. I also find it very strange that our King today have the same benefit as the Clergy had back in days.  Our King and the Clergy should be good role models for the society. So, of course they should have the exact same rules as the rest of the society.


/ Linnéa.

The Categorical Imperative by Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher. He lived his entire life in the city of Königsberg (today Kaliningrad) and was a professor at the local university. He is most famous for the categorical imperative.

The categorical imperative is a moral law, at least according to Kant. He received the idea as he was on a summer walk and saw a couple of young swallows which had been thrown out of their nest, and consequently had died, by their mother. The mother had done this to prevent the others from starving (there were few insects that summer). Kant was astonished by this instinct and called it a rational cycle of nature. After this experience, Kant was convinced that the human could create a law of reason which would lead her in the same infallible and lucid way as the instinct which made the swallow kill her kids. Thus he created the categorical imperative. It is absolute, rational and universal. In other words, it is governed by reason, there is no room for feelings, typical enlightenment thinking.  It is based on rational thinking and asks for the motivation of our deeds. There is also a hypothetic imperative which is purely practical, as opposed to the moral categorical imperative.


There are several formulas for the categorical imperative:

There is the basic formula: “Act according to those maxims which you want to be a universal law”

The natural law formula: “Act as if thy deed was to become, by thy will, a law of nature”

The mankind formula: “Act so you use mankind, including you as a person and also everybody else as an end, and never simply as a means“

The Kingdom-of-ends-formula: “Act so that you, by your maxims, always serve as a legislative link in the common Kingdom of Ends”

Let us try an example on which we can apply the categorical imperative to see if it is morally wrong:

A man in need of money thinks about borrowing money and realizes he will have to promise to repay even though he knows he cannot.

Now first we must rearrange this into a maxim, as we are not interested in the deed itself but rather the motivation. So if we rearrange this into a maxim, it will look something like this:

“Every time I need money I lie to enable myself to lend money from others.”

Now if we apply any of the formulas, say the natural law formula, we evoke a question:

Do I want that there shall be a law that says that people, every time they are in need of money, should lie to enable them to lend money from others?

If I ask myself this question, I will by rational thinking come to the conclusion that if this is to become a law than I would be asked and to lend people money, and consequently lied to. Besides, nobody would lend anybody money anymore.  



We could also apply the mankind formula: Consequently, we would have to ask ourselves if this behaviour is using the person as a means or an end. Clearly, it is using the person as a means, because had he known that the borrower would not be able to pay back the sum, he would hardly have parted ways with his money.  Using somebody as a means would be when you steer a person towards an action which she normally would not have carried out

What if we use another example?

A married woman is strongly attracted to a man other than her husband (we can formulate it vice versa as well of course) and considers adultery.

Rearranging into maxim:

“Whenever I feel attracted to someone else than the other part of my marital relation, I yield to infidelity”

Natural law formula:

Do I want that there should be a law that says that people in a marital relationship should yield to infidelity whenever they feel attracted to a person who is extramarital?

Now, this is especially interesting as this adds culture as a variable. But in a western culture, I would say:  No I do not. Because, when rationally thinking, I must ascertain that others would have to commit adultery towards me, whenever they are attracted to another person. Do I want this? No I do not, as, in a relationship, it would not matter how faithful I am.



A thing one must consider when reading about the categorical imperative is that is based upon Kant’s moral views, which were very similar to the general moral view of the time and the place he lived in. If the categorical imperative would have been created by someone else, in a different age and in a different location it most certainly would have looked very different. A question remains though:

Is the categorical still applicable to us in these modern days?

I would partially say “yes” and partially “no”. “Yes” because you can always be aware of it when making a decision. “No” because it has never been entirely applicable to us, humans. We have feeling and we are rarely the masters of them, but rather slaves. You cannot simply assume that everyone will act rationally as there are feelings which always will prove to be superior to rationality when making decisions.

What do you think?


//Baloo Peinkofer



Religion during the enlightenment

From the cradle to the grave. That is how long the Christian church affected peoples life, thousands of lifetimes were spent within the walls of massive cathedrals who were built to honor an astral being no one ever had ever seen or had any proof exsisted.

From the moment you were born, you were in God's hands. The first thing that happend to a newborn baby was, besides the incredible accomplishment of breathing on it's own, was to become baptised. Since the death of infants was so high during that time, it was very important to get a baby baptised otherwise it would be sent straight to Hell. There was even a special section in Hell for that.
During the enlightenment most branches of science started to evolve, medicine, chemistry, physics so on and so forth. As most of us know, science and religion do not play very well together. '
As science began to make progress, they found more and more evidence that the exsistance of a God seemed highly unlogical.

I, myself, is not a very religious person. I see religion as a bunch of philosophies with some good idead and some really wierd ones. I see religion as the biggest drawback humanity has ever sufferd and that just restricts us from almost everything and can slow a civilization down so much that it almost comes to a halt.
When people started questioning the curch and God, we broke some massive chains. Science soared and we could move on to a better life without the fear that if we do not follow the holy rules we will burn in hell.

How do you think the world would have looked like if religion still had it's iron grip?
Would the world look any diffrent than it does today?


”You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself”

I have chosen to reflect upon the quote by Galileo Galilei, a pretty famous Italian physicist, mathematician and astronomer (a bit to early for the enlightenment though, hope no one minds).

”You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself”

I think Galileo meant that everyone has to learn things thereon, and that we cannot tech anyone something just by telling.


I both agree and disagree with this quote.

I think the quote is true because I believe that it is hard to learn by only listening to others. We can remember what others tell us but is it not then just a memory? I think we have to absorb the knowledge and reflect upon it to really learn it (to learn semantically) and find answers an conclusions ourselves, therefore I think no one can teach anyone else something only help him/her learning. In all sorts of learning people can try teaching us but it is always us in the end making ourselves learn.


“within himself” – it sounds a bit like we already possess all knowledge, which reminds me a bit of Socrates’ teaching that we from birth possess all knowledge and that we will get to the knowledge through the right questions. Maybe we already have all answers inside us. We just need others helping us to find the right questions.  Which supports the quote; that we cannot teach anyone anything only help him or her find the answers.


On the other hand I have difficulties to see the difference between helping someone to find the truth and teaching them. To find out if it is true or not I think we need to define teaching. Because helping someone to find answers could not that be to teach, what is really the difference? And must the person learn so that we can call it teach?


What do you think? :)


Bushidō – The way of the warrior

Bushido is a philosophy, mainly used for the Japanese samurai. It could be hard for western people to understand this philosophy. Honour is something valuable, and to prove your honor you had to show your loyalty to the Shogun. Death went before dishonour. So basically, they had to protect their honour with their lifes. If unrest happened, it was considered a human failing and a dishonour to the ancestors. This is why the Samurai could not accept defeat. If they would have no chance to fight, to show their true strength, they would prefer to perform seppuku. This was something which the western people during the world war II couldn’t understand. Bushidō philosophy is a very deep philosophy. Would you like to find more about it, please visit:


Bushidō, doesn't it sound a bit like brainwashing? Well, it is actually a bit similair to the today's militaries. I mean, when we talk about "offer yourself for your country" and things such as that. People wont offer their lifes for free, that's why mighty people created their own, quite valuable thing to give: honour. Honour was something everybody wanted, more or less. So now, they could risk their lifes, for honour. Honour will always be something for the human to seek for.


Am I right?
What do you think about Bushidō? Do you disagree with my thoughts or not?

Shogun - A hereditary commander-in-chief in feudal Japan. the shogun was generally the real ruler of the country until feudalism was abolished in 1867 – Google Dictionary


seppuku – Also known as harakiri: ritual suicide by self-disembowelment with a sword. wordnetweb



Have you ever heard about a disease called smallpox? I would not be surprised to find out you did not. It was officially declared eradicated in 1979. It was the first disease completely defeated by humans. How did this happen? Well, let me explain everything from the beginning!

According to the dictionary smallpox is a ‘highly contagious viral disease characterized by high fever, severe prostration, and a pinkish rash’. It was one of the most deadly viruses in the history. Smallpox killed millions of people all over the world, and those who managed to defeat the disease were often left with pockmarks on their faces. Others would go blind. The virus attacked mostly children and infants, however it was dangerous for adults as well.

Smallpox most probably originated in ancient Egypt or India. It spread around the world, leaving its deadly traces in every country. In XVIII century something changed. An English doctor, Edward Jenner, noticed that women who worked with cows did not get smallpox. He discovered that it was because they all developed cowpox, a less serious disease. He decided to test his theory, that cowpox made human body immune to smallpox. He injected cowpox to an eight-year-old boy. The disease progressed quite softly. After some time, when the boy became healthy again, Jenner tried to inject him smallpox. It turned out he failed: the boy’s body became immune to this virus. This way the first vaccine was created (from Latin name of cow - vacca).

I strongly believe that this was one of the greatest discoveries in medicine. It probably saved millions or maybe even billions of people. I can not even imagine what kind of tragedy for the human kind it would be, if these vaccines were never developed. Edward Jenner was not the first person to reveal some sort of cure for smallpox, but it was his remedy that was the most efficient. And now, hundreds of years later I think it can honestly be said, that the extermination of smallpox was possible thanks to Edward Jenner’s findings!




Interesting facts:


Smallpox killed Queen Mary II of England, Emperor Joseph I of Austria, King Luis I of Spain, Tsar Peter II of Russia, Queen Ulrika Elenora of Sweden, and King Louis XV of France.


Scars on Stalin’s face were caused by smallpox. He had gone through it when he was still a little boy.


Before his death, Edward Jenner proved that birds do not fall asleep during winter, but they leave to other, warmer countries. (It wasn’t obvious at the time!)


The last person  infected by smallpox was recorded in Somalia in 1977.





”It is difficult to free fools from chains they revere” Voltaire

”It is difficult to free fools from chains they revere”   Voltaire


Human beings consider themselves the leader of this world, we have advanced our technology in the course of the years, but in many ways they are just like ants who follow blindly the one ahead of them…

We can be easily manipulated by leaders of a group or rulers of a country into following a certain ceremony or traditions or adopting a certain way of a living, we will even fight hard to resist change when being challenged, as such we will lose our mind, stop thinking who we are, what we do, we will forget our creativity and individuality and I don’t see we are any better than the ants we see in the garden. For example, what if a priest was to be told by a man passing him on the street, that everything that the church stands for is wrong, would he just concede to that thought? Would he stop believing in God just because a random guy on the street tells him so? I am quite sure that he most certainly will not do that, I do not think anybody would do so, true or not, we have been brought up with the idea of the existence of a God. He would probably accept that this person does not believe in God and perhaps he might even try to convince this guy to start believing in God.

As a result, a fool or not, this is the way we are raised, we are taught to live in a certain way, following a certain way of living and we are simply too foolish or too lazy to think out of the box and see if what we are following is the ideal of perfect way of living. We would rather live in security than exploring new frontiers.



Galileo Galilei and the telescope



The telescope was invented in the early 1700th century and was first found in Holland. Galileo Galilei was not the person who invented the telescope but he was the one who introduced it to the modern society. It helped him to prove that in our solar system all the planets orbit the sun (heliocentric) instead of the planets orbiting around the earth (geocentric).


What importance did the telescope have during the 1700th century? How important is it today? Is it more or less important than during the 1700th century? Has it changed much since it was first invented?


As stated earlier the telescope had very much importance for Galileo in order to prove his thoughts about the heliocentric solar system. It also enabled further studies of our solar system. With the telescope Galileo found that the surface of the moon was not smooth but very rough with many craters and mountains. This finding meant that he could disprove Aristotle’s theory of a completely smooth moon.

Today the telescopes are very important since we strive to get more and more knowledge of other galaxies and solar systems. I would say that it is of more importance today since now we can see so much further away than before. Previously one could see the moon clear with a telescope, but now we can see into other galaxies. The telescope has also changed from when it was first invented, the lenses which were used to capture images are now replaced by mirrors which are used to increase the length of vision. For example we have Hubble, which is up in space and can be used to see very great distances.


/Daniel S Wong

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

The pioneer


On the 22nd day of the first month in the year 1729, in a small town in Saxony, Germany, which goes under the name of Kamenz, a boy was born. He was to become the eldest son of a clergyman, as his elder siblings had died at young age. Thus he was expected to succeed his father and was consequently sent to the University of Leipzig where he was supposed to study theology. He did not. He, now already, insisted on his independence and devoted his studies to language, literature and drama. At the age of 18 he completed a comedy which made its debut on stage.

During the entire seventeenth and also some of the eighteenth century, Germany was, at least when it came to literature and drama, barren land. There was an overpowering Gallic influence, but no own identity. No originals. It was Lessing, the boy from the small town of Kamenz, who would be the first to set foot on this path towards an own national identity.

The boy from the small town of Kamenz had with his play not made many new friends, but rather provoked the antagonism of the followers of the French literature towards him. His disregard of the pedantry, which reigned through the French influences, was seen as a sign of barbaric taste, his reluctance to studying theology as atheism. Of which the later soon was made acquaintance of by his father, whose response where several reproachful letters. Lessing remained remarkably placid, answering his father with the words "Religion is not a thing which a man should accept in simple faith and obedience from his parents".

At the age of 21 he set of to Berlin, where he met deft minds like Moses Mendelssohn, Karl Wilhelm Ramler and Johann Wilhelm Gleim. In this new liberal setting and free environment he could thrive and develop intellectually. And it was also here, where some of his famous plays were created. The first of them, Miss Sara Sampson, was a sudden breeze of fresh impulses. But it was too soon and too much and its deserved success was not acknowledged until ten years later. Thus Lessing was constantly living hand to mouth during his time in Berlin and eventually he left to find his luck elsewhere. Sadly enough he never really succeeded in finding any economic security. His life was always imbued and scourged by poverty. Additionally, his later years where not characterized by joy either, as he lost his wife, and consequently his son, in childbirth. Even though all these rebuffs constantly interfered with Lessing’s life he never became poignant but retained his down to earth character. In one his poems he says: "Fame never sought me, and would not, in any case, have found me. I have never craved riches, for why, during this short journey, where so little is needed, should one hoard it up for thieves rather than for himself? In a little while I shall be trampled under the feet of those who come after. Why need they know upon whom they tread? I alone know who I am."

Maybe this complete lack egotism is an explanation for him being almost completely overlooked when talking about the landmarks of German culture. He was succeeded by poets and philosophers who made Germany a household name when talking about culture and art, and it was this Boy from the small town of Kamenz who prepared the way for these great minds. He opposed the simple recreation of the French role models, and it was he who established appreciation for Shakespeare in Germany. And it was his plays which, even though having lots of influences from earlier English renaissance and Aristotelian theater (who hasn’t?), still today serve as a foundation for German theater.

As for him being an “enlightener”, one can ascertain that Lessing decried the belief of any religious revelations but believed in Christian reason which was oriented to the basic values of the religion. Furthermore Lessing was an advocate of tolerance towards other world religions and was keen on trying to abolish persisting prejudices.

All in all, the life and journey of the boy from the small town of Kamenz, was a rather tragic one. It was a constant, fruitless fight for tolerance, freedom and truth, which still today is not entirely appreciated. And still, had Lessing’s ideas not had the impact they had and would he still be alive today, he would still be the same patient, open-minded boy from the small town of Kamenz, waiting for his ideas to strike root in the zeitgeist. And if he could not achieve acceptance for himself, he at least fought for the acceptance for others.  Goethe wrote after his death: "We lose much in him, much more than we think."


//Baloo Peinkofer


Marie-Antoinette was a big fashion icon during her time as dauphine, meaning crown princess, and queen of France. When we are talking about the fashion during the 18th century, and earlier we are not just talking about the clothes but also about what they wore at their heads, and then we are talking about wigs. During that time almost everybody; both men and women, at the French court wore those wigs. Marie-Antoinette wasn’t a big fan of them, which meant that she instead had to spend almost the double time at her hairdressing as the other ladies. The wigs could be in different sizes and they had thing in them, such as feathers and rosettes. They used powder made of flour, talc, all kinds of white muds, bone meal, gypsum, flour of eggshell, skirret and beans to powder their wigs.

I think that those wigs maybe were a good and fun way to express whom you were during that time. For example a pregnant woman could have a little crib in her wig. But in other cases I think that wearing those wigs was kind of stupid. I don’t think that they could have been all too comfortable to wear. We also have to consider all the flour that they used just to make their wigs look good. They used up to a half-kilo every week. If they instead had used that flour to give the people food maybe some, which died in starvation, had survived. I think that they were kind of inventive in all ways that they used to make their wigs powered. It’s interesting how the wigs changed, like the fashion today. For example; the length of the wigs differed from time to time. The wigs become shorter and shorter during the 18th century. The colour of the powder could also differ from time to time; they could have both purple and yellow hair if that was what the fashion was during that particular time. One thing that really surprises me is that they could have flowers in their wigs, the flowers survived because they had bottles with water inside of their wigs. I have to say that I think that was the point when it all came to be exaggerated. It’s just so unnaturally and stupid. I think that it must be some limit for what you do to follow fashion. Like the fact that they sat up when they slept, they did not mind, because it showed that you were rich and that could afford to have those kinds of wigs. That is stupid. Maybe it was not the wigs that were stupid but the people whom wore the wigs, it could have been a fun way to express them selves but instead it became really exaggerated.

/Ebba Jakobsson van Stam

Mary Wollstonecraft


“It is with a heavy heart I have to admit that either nature has made considerable difference between people and people, or that civilization so far hasn’t come very far”

Mary Wollstonecraft

These are word said by the person who is said to be one of the first feminists, and a woman who is still a great source of inspiration for many feminists of today. Mary Wollstonecraft was not afraid to say what she thought, even though her ideas were far ahead of her own time. Mary Wollstonecraft was born in Britain but moved to France during the time of the French revolution to be in the centre of the conflict.  While living in Paris she had a daughter which she called Fanny with an American called Gilbert Imlay. Back in England a few years later she married a philosopher called William Godwin. Their daughter were called Mary as well, and later she became Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (the author of Frankenstein), not to be confused with her mother.


Wollstonecraft approved the slogans of the revolution: Liberté, Égalité et Fraternité, which in English means Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood, except for the last one, brotherhood since she thought that this one actually excluded half of the population; the women. Probably that was not really what people meant by using this word. But I assume that Mary Wollstonecraft was tired of the unwritten law that nothing ever concerned women. The declaration of rights, which was written right after the revolution, was called “Tout les droits de l´homme”. In this case the word ”homme” in the meaning of humans in general. But as you might be aware of, ”homme” also means ”man” and it was like that most people without further consideration interpreted it. To most people it was obvious that the declaration concerned men only since women did not fill any real function in the community these days, more than, of course, delighting their husbands. There was nothing strange or wrong about that. This opinion was, however, not shared by Mary Wollstonecraft. She wanted reality to match the word in the meaning of all humans better.


She wrote a lot of texts, one of the most famous are for example “A vindication to the rights of women”, in which she criticized the general male norm and typical women’s work such as embroideries and needlework. Some women had access to education but the education only concerned this kind of work. 


What caught my interest in this quote is the part saying “…civilization so far hasn’t come very far”. This sentence indicates that she was certain about the fact that women were going to play a bigger role in the society in the future. I think it is very perceptive to be able to consider your own society being old-fashioned while you are living in the middle of it. For most people it is easier to see such things from some sort of distance. Now, the question is; was she right?


Victoria Gunnerek

Cardinal Richelieau – Prime minister


Cardinal Richelieau was appointed Prime Minister in year 1624 by King Louis XIII. The King had noticed his intelligence during his time in the church, therefore he was appointed Prime Minister of France. One other important reason for his rise to power is that he made peace between King Louis XIII and his mother Marie de Medici. Catholicism had been the official state religion in France since 1516, but that started to change when Cardinal Richelieau in 1624 became Prime Minister, he began to separate the power between the state and the church in France. Cardinal Richelieau wished to reign over France with Absolute power, an entirely undisputed, unchallenged, and unquestioned might, he considered the church is a “state within a state”, a separate republic that threatened his power just as much as any rival European nation did. To give an example of what he did to separate the power, in 1628 there was a struggle between the state and church on the subject of taxes, he then forced the church to give up their rights to own properties in France. This is one example of what he did to force the church to give up their power to the state. Cardinal Richelieau has removed the church’s influence over state politics and insured the monarch's dominance for the next several centuries. Absolutism had, however, begun resulting in the social, economic, and political decline of the French nation.

/Daniel S Wong

Sengoku jidai- The land of war

Japan was for nearly 700 years almost in complete chaos! With the start of the Ōnin War (1467-1477) which was a civil war that lasted for 10 years but escalated into a full blown war.

The war became a power-struggle between the different clans and their daimyos and the Ashikaga shogunate, which was the clan of the Shogun. It became a long, drawn-out power-struggle over entire Japan but in the end there were three individuals that untied Japan under one rule. They were Oda Nobuaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Leyasu.


A clan was led by a daimyo and he is better described as a warlord who had control over his own province somewhere in the land. The daimyo was responsible for the welfare over his entire region and that included farming, city-building and the providing and training of his armies.

The different clans of Japan were almost numerous. Some clans had a terrifying power that even the Shogun saw as a threat, while others were weak and were soon destroyed.

Some famous clans are the Chosokabe, Date and the Hojo clan, To name a few.


I find this kind of political system to be quite fascinating. The land was ruled by a Shogun, who had been assigned his position by the emperor. Shogun translates to “a commander of force” and that pretty much sums it up. He was the top military commander (or military dictator) of all Japan; he had the biggest armies and controlled the military force in Japan at the time. The shogun did not posses any major political power, however. Since he had been assigned by the emperor, he had to obey the emperor.


What if we had it like this in Sweden?

What if our region-council did not exsist? What if we had one man at the top and he was a warring maniac, who demanded nothing but brutal violence in his name.

Imagine every Swedish region-leader killing each other over the throne in Stockholm and you have a northern version of Sengoku jidai.


Imagine that almost every capable man in a region was, in some way trained to kill and gladly die a horrible death to protect his daimyos honor and his own. This is the art of bushido which you can read more about in Erik Bennerheds text. A warrior was supposed to die before dishonouring himself and if he had dishonoured himself the only way to restore that honor was to commit suicide by hara-kiri.


Sengoku jidai was a war over power and honor, which, if combined, can kill thousands of people, which it did. Maybe if the emperor of Japan at that time would have stepped in, maybe he could have saved thousands of lives of men, women and children.

This was the political system of Japan from the year 794B.C to1867A.D and it according to me, needed some serious reformation. What do you think?


Read more about the title Shogun:

Oda Nobunaga:

Sengoku jidai:


“All money is a matter of belief”



The famous economist Adam Smith said that “All money is a matter of belief”. I really agree

with that! The thing that we call money is actually only a piece of paper or numbers in a

bank, but we believe that they have a higher value than they actually have. Think of a 100

kronors note how much is it actually worth? The paper in it doesn’t cost 100 kronor. We have just made up that it has a value, and what is the difference between a 500 kronors note and a 100 kronors note? They probably cost almost the same to produce but one of them has five times the more value. We believe that it is worth more, and therefore it is. This system only works because we trust it and believe it. If we wouldn’t trust this system we would have to trade with things or pay with e.g. pure gold and silver. The same thing with bankcards, they are just numbers not even notes. The numbers have no value, but we believe that they do! So I do think that it is a good system that we have, it would be way more complicated if we didn’t trust notes and bankcards.


What do you think about the fact that we trade with things with a value that we have come up with?



By: Kajsa

Universities during the Enlightenment



In Europe the number of universities was constant during the 18th century. In Europe there were about 105 universities and colleges by the year 1700. In North America there were 44 universities among them were the newly founded Harvard and Yale. The number of students and universities remained the same during the enlightenment except for Britain, were the numbers increased during the enlightenment. The students were mostly men from wealthy families who were looking for a career with in medicine, law or the church.

The universities themselves were there to educate future physicians, lawyers and members of the clergy. Before the 18th century, science courses were taught almost exclusively through formal lectures.  In the first decades of the 18th century the structures of the courses were about to change, when physical demonstrations were added to the lectures. The experiments that took place ranged from swinging a bucket with water on the end of a rope demonstrating that the centrifugal force would keep the water in the bucket, to experiments using an air-pump.

During the French revolution, all colleges and universities in France were abolished and reformed in 1808 under the single institution of the Univerité imperiale. The Univerité divided the arts and sciences into separate faculties, something that had never happened before in Europe.

The French universities tended to serve a downplayed role in the development of science during the enlightenment. That role was dominated by academies as the French Academy of Sciences. The contribution of Britain was mixed. On the one hand the University of Cambridge began teaching Newtonianism but failed to become a central force behind the advancement of science. On the other end Scottish universities had strong medical faculties and became centres of scientific development.

While the number of universities did not dramatically increase during the enlightenment, new private and public institutions added to the provision of education. Most of the institutions educated in mathematics which made them popular for merchants, military and naval officers and engineers. Universities on the other hand stuck to the old ways and emphasized the classics, Greek and Latin.


Rococo Art

Rococo art is an 18th century style, which developed from the Baroque style. The both style differ a lot though. The baroque style was very heavy art with a church orientation whereas the Rococo style was playful, happy and drawn with light pastel colors. During the enlightenment the view about the human existence changed and the rococo visualized the optimism people felt to a respond to this.  The style characterized curving forms, fanciful figures and the paintings had a cheerful mood, both visually and physically.


The motives of many pictures were the relaxed outings of noble couples being out in the nature on picnics etc. The persons were often showed as optimistic and very happy. To be out in the nature and be related to nature was very modern during the enlightenment, thanks to Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his motto “Back to Nature”. The paintings wanted to show a happy life without any worries, an artificial life with game playing and joy.  One wanted to create snapshots out of a normal day, and make it look perfect.



This to me sounds a bit silly; to show of a fantasy life that did not existed.  However do the art’s motives really differ that much from the motives of today’s art? I would say they don’t.


I believe the aim with the paintings were very similar to what we today want out of pictures. Because isn’t that exactly what we want, to take nice pictures but to make them look like they’re simply taken out of the moment.  Depending on where and to whom we will show the pictures the motive can differ a bit, only to show the best side of us. And like during the enlightenment we want to portrait ourselves as happy and living a good life.


If you like to read more about Rococo art:


By: Nora Jakobsson van Stam

Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell was a man who made the Puritanism big in England in the 1600. He was a man from Cambridge and was an English military and a politician. He was the leader of the revolt against the monarchy. He was a clearly Puritan and thought that redemption was not anything you could deserve but for something you got from God by believing in Jesus Christ. He also thought that every Christian had the right to believe in the way that they wanted. He welcomed any kind of people when he was Lord Protector.  He took his religion seriously and was against some churches like the Roman Catholic Church that he thought that they did not take Christianity seriously. He wanted to get rid of oppression and he himself ended up being an oppressor. I think that he really did not know how to say things because at first he says that every Christian has the right that believe how they wanted, but what I think he really meant was that it was all right to believe at Puritanism and that Puritanism was the way to believe in. That he himself becomes an oppressor show a bit of uncertainty, if he wanted to get rid of it oppression why did he ended up as an oppressor, shows that he is not a god leader. I think that it is up to each one of us to believe in what we want and that no one should force us to believe in things that we really do not believe in. That is why the society today is so great. Every individual has the right to believe in what they want and that is the thing that matters. But still in some parts of the world people are forced to do things that they do not want because of religion and some think that there religion is great. But the people who do not think that maybe they are suffering. Every people have the right to think that their opinion counts but that is not everyone that thinks it does and I think that is wrong. What do you think?


If you want to know more about Oliver Cromwell here is a link.


The Guillotine


The guillotine is a device used for executions by decapitation. It consists of frame and from that frame a blade I suspended. The blade will separate the head from the body in a quick way. I have to say that if I were to be executed I would have chosen the guillotine rather than hanging. This “tool” was mostly used in France during the French revolution, but in several countries they continued to use it even after the revolution.


What du you think about death penalty today?

This is a list of how many people that was executed in the year of 2010 (From Wikipedia).

  • Thousands of People
  • 252
  • 60 (we can not be sure!)
  • 53
  • 46
  • 27
  • 18
  • 17


If you take a closer look at the list you will see that all of them are dictatorships, heavy dictatorships, all of them except USA. So, why is the USA so high placed on the list? If they should be a symbol for western democracy, why is it even legal? The punishment was abolished for a few years but was reintroduced in 1976 and since then almost 1100 people has been executed. What do you think about this? I think it is morally wrong. Let us say that we have a murderer, he is sentenced to death and they kill him. What have they just done? The answer is easy, they have just killed a people. If murder is illegal why is death penalty legal? Is not that kind of the same thing?


// Hedvig

Economics in three laws

Scottish economist Adam Smith (17231790) writes in his landmark Wealth of Nations (1776) about the nature of economics in three laws: first, that people work more productively when they have self-interest; second, that competition leads to a balanced marketplace; and third, that true supply and demand are a product of free trade.

His laws, especially the first, could be applied back then and can still be today. Studies have been done on how we get affected by work and school. If you like your job you are more likely not to be stressed, at least not in a negative way, this may result in a better health. Secondly if you like what you're doing you are more likely to put a bigger effort into it and probably be more effective. Students are well aware of that studying something that is in your own interest makes you more interested and also make you want to be good at it, rather than studying a subject that to you are not interested in at all. First of all you wouldn’t put an effort into the work if you don’t understand and secondly would you really care if you understood it?

The second law is what we today call “free competition”. If there are several companies selling the same products or services, they will have to compete about who has the lowest price and the best products. This will lead to, as he says, a balanced marketplace. The companies would have to put an effort into making people wanting to buy there products or services. In Sweden today we have at least two industries which are monopolies, systembolaget and SF. The thing is that they have the ability to keep high prices. For alcohol, I understand why we have decided to have a monopoly, but why for films? Imagine how much cheaper it could be if it wasn't a monopoly, but we had a free competition. There is one thing that recently has changed though, to the better. Medicine like aspirin is now available on supermarkets and there is now fee competition between pharmacies. This has lead to lower prices on OTC medicines and better service on pharmacies which would prove that he was right about that law!

The third law is also something we use today. It simply means that when you have the supply to create a product, if people want it, you can sell it! And today when we live in a global society, world, we import and export things in big amounts. For example in Sweden we can't grow rice, neither can we grow exotic fruit like melons and bananas. Since we today are aware of those things existing, would we manage to get around life without them today? Some would probably, but far too many households consume those things monthly. There is, simply, a demand for it and they are exported here to satisfy our needs. Free trade is “invented”!

Adam Smith is a very important man and he is in a way the father of free trade. Looking from how our economic system is today we can see that his three laws are used all the time when we talk about economics. His idea of these laws is according to me one of the biggest improvements that have been done in economics.


Rococo art.

Watteau, Les deux cousines

Rococo also referred to as "Late Baroque" is an 18th century style which is lifelike, nature, playful and elegant. The Rococo style is painted by pastel colours. Rococo art is light.
All over Europe they were painting canvas in cross shapes, you can always see the cross in the paintings. In Italy they also painted the canvas in straight lines. You can always see a straight line in the paintings when they are from Italy. In France they were using s-shapes. If you look upon a canvas from France you can see the s-shape in the canvas. In every painting you can se some of the nature outdoors. Even if the people were not outdoors, you can always see the nature, through a window or a door. By showing the nature the people seemed to be neutral people that liked to be out in the nature. It is also very common that the fathers and men were in contact with the children. They also started to paint children in a way that showed that the children are children, and not small adults. Mothers were also painted with the children in the canvas. They wanted to show how much mothers loved the children, that the mothers cared about the children.

I think this is a very useful way of painting nowadays. By the rococo art we learned how to paint in perspective and we learned how to give the canvas more deep and soft form. The canvas also made us be aware of the beauty in nature, and to be neutral. Even do they were not neutral in the way we think of today. One important thing is also that they “discovered” the children, that the children had a chance to be just children and not small adults. Also that mothers and fathers, men and women, had a big influence in children’s life. That is an important thing nowadays as well. I believe that children need to be raised by both men and women. According to me children need both a man and a woman figure.

What do you think about all this? Do children need to be surrounded by both women and men in their lives? And what do you think about the way the Rococo style is painted?

If you want to read more about rococo art:

Painting from:

/ Linnéa

"Character is the result of a system of stereotyped principals"

The quote "Character is the result of a system of stereotyped principals" is written by David Hume, a Scottish philosopher. That I really agree with. Society has created these stereotypes that everyone lives by and thinks it's OK, but it's not. Here are a few things to think about. Do 'you' even exist? Are ‘you’ really you? If all these characterizations that make you ‘you’ are actually based on stereotypes made by society, does that really make you unique or just another face in the crowd? Think of it like this, you heard this new song on the radio but you don’t like it, after you heard it 5-6 times a day, it’s starting to sound better. Now, do you start to like it because you just do because after you heard it a few times it just started getting better and better and it’s now your favorite song or do you start to like it because the stereotypes about the song made by society is telling you that you should like the song. So is this really your choice, or a brainwash for you to like what other people seem to like. So you can think about that and I would love to hear your opinions.


The measure of right and wrong


Jeremy Bentham who is born in London during the 18th century often spoke about society from a philosophical perspective. The three basis of Bentham’s moral and political philosophy was the greatest happiness principle, universal egoism and the artificial identification of one’s interests with those of others. One of his quotes states:

“The said truth is that it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong.”

This in my opinion isn’t completely wrong but neither is it fully true. Depending on from whose perspective you see from you’ll have several “rights and wrongs”. For example when it comes to private life, does the right always have to be what is better for the majority? And despite the fact that we could follow this as a measurement for what is right and wrong. Is it always right to listen?
In a society today, in a school where bullying is a problem, imagine the idea of that a whole school would bully one single person, since it makes them feel good having someone to bully. Should that, according to this quote mean that it is right to bully someone? Discussing it further there is another quote: “The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation”. If the majority feels pleased with what’s going on, that’s the foundation of morals and legislation.
In The Lottery there is one pupil and one pupil only who has been chosen not to be talked to for a whole year. If you see the school as the “society” and the majority would be everyone who hadn’t been put out with it, or been a close friend to the victim it would be right to ignore and bully the victim and also, according the second quote, would suggest that if the majority is okay with it is not morally wrong and there should not be a law saying it is illegal.

Whereas if you apply his quotes to a democratic society the majority would not want people that killed others to walk around there. You would say that it’s wrong to murder people because the majority says so, probably partly because someone you know might be put out of life. It is a clear example and we wouldn’t question it today since this is something we’ve considered wrong for a very long time. As the second quote says; “The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation” we already consider it wrong and since we do, and since they started to consider it fully wrong, its is morally wrong to kill someone as for when legislation became a part of society it as also been illegal to murder someone. Even though this is a very clear example it is a very good one as well. If we look at Sweden’s laws we can see that only a couple of centuries ago it was against the law to be unfaithful to your husband/wife. You could up until 1779, in Sweden, be doomed to death for cheating on your wife/husband and even though it still is wrong to be unfaithful today we do not consider it a crime as serious as on the 18th century. But why don’t we have a law that says you mustn’t be unfaithful to your wife/husband today?

It happens oftener than it did back then and having it as a law, imagine how many would be punished for it. We should also consider that the rate on how many get married today, is lower than it was in the 18th century. Because of the lower rate of it they might see it unnecessary to have a law for it and see it as your own problem if it happens, rather than the society’s problem where we have to put time on a punishment.

“Every law is an infraction of liberty” is also a quote of Bentham that may explain why we had that law removed. This quote is one that I fully agree with. We have laws to keep a safe society, but for the minority, those who not follow the law will have a decreased amount of liberty. Also laws are changed over time because what we find moral and right changes and that changes the laws.


If you want to read more quotes from Bentham click on this link:


By: Sandra Åkesson

“A person hears only what they understand. “

“A person hears only what they understand.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



I agree with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I think that we hear what we understand and the things we do not understand we ignore. This could be a problem when we meet persons with different views or if they have grown up in a different culture than us. We do not really listen to them and what they have to say if we don’t TRY. It might be so different that we remake the story so that it fits into the knowledge we already have. Of course it is not this way for every person in the world, but I think in general it is quite common. We are afraid to leave our thoughts about certain things to listen to something new which might change our way of seeing the world.

This could be very important to think about when you meet a person with different views. It is good to know that we in general try to stick to the thoughts and opinions we already have. So when you meet a new person you have to know that they might not want to listen to you, because what you are saying sounds absurd to them.

This could be a reason why some immigrants find it hard to get into the Swedish society. They might have come here because of war or pursuit. They only listen to what they understand and try to stick to their values. I just want to point out that this is not the case for all immigrants, far from there. It is the same way if a Swedish family moves to another culture; they want to stick to their traditions and thoughts about things.


What do you think; could this be a reason why some immigrants don’t get into the Swedish society very well?



(This is not suppose to be a racialist post)

Read more:



/ Hanna

“A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart” -Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was an Irish writer and used satire in his works.


I have chosen to look at his quote about money, heart and head. I agree with it! You should have money in your head to be able to manage through life. Without any control of your money they can easily disappear, which is not good for your economy. But you should not have money in your heart. If you only think about money, you might not do what is best for the people around you. The profit interest will do harm to both you and your neighbours.



Charity is an example. Maybe it is not the best for your own budget to give away money when you are thinking with your head. When you’re thinking with your heart though, it is not the same. Then you give away money and help other people who need your help.



This is a quote to think about when we are shopping! Sometimes it is better do pay a bit more, because the product has been made by people who live a good life and do not have to work as slaves to earn money so that they can buy food for the day. It is better to buy more expensive clothes which has been made fairly than it is to buy many cheaper clothes which have been produced by people who live a bad life because they  don’t get enough reward for the work they are doing.


What do you think about this quote do you like it or not?



Quotes by Jonathan Swift:


/ Hanna

Galileo Galilei invented the binocular.

We think that the binoculars are very useful and good. With the binoculars we can see thing  that never had a chance to bee seen before. Scientists have by the telescope discovered amazing things about our planet and space.  What do you think about the binocular? Is it good that Galileo Galilei invented the binocular?

/ Linnéa, Jerica, Felicia.

God has forbidden that we will experience more than twenty years without a revolt

Does this really sounds like a president?
This was actually words of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. 

I wouldn't be so happy to have a president like that, but he did his work.
The thing he is most famous for is that he signed Declaration of independence.
That was written in September 1776. 

Just two years earlier he had done his first public attack against slavery, the only miss was that his family farm were dependent of slaves.
But this took a turn and he said that slavery was "abominable crime" so in good time before the Declaration of independence he had a good reputation when people talked against slavery.
How could this man become the president of the United States? 

well probably because he could something the Swedish politicians cant,
he could talk so people understood and promised a huge change in the US.
Well all politicians promise a "huge" difference but everyone knows that it doesn't work that way but Thomas Jefferson actually made some difference in the US history.
By: Philip

“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”



This was once said by an American businessman, Bernard Baruch, who lived until 1965. As several millions of apples have fallen to the ground from the beginning of time, Newton was the first one who actually wondered why things fall. He began working within the area and came up with his famous three laws. These three laws are still the basics in our days, and they are some of the most important discoveries within science throughout history.


For me it clearly shows that it doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how much you know about science. To discover something new that no one has seen before, your curiosity is your best tool. I think that is why Newton was so successful. The picture I have of him is that he always wanted to discover new things, learn just a little bit more every day. He himself has said he was not much smarter then anyone else, he was just more eager to learn. I guess this is not the whole truth, of course he was very clever, but it still shows that you need more than brain to make it work.


To be successful within science you need four major factors. First, of course you need to have some good genes, you need to be smart. Second up, you have to have pre-knowledge about the subject you’re into. Then you need curiosity and creativity. Without these it is hard to make any discoveries. You must be curious to be able to come up with a question you want to solve, you need to be smart and have pre-knowledge to understand what you are working about, and you must be creative to figure out a lab, a way to solve it. I feel that these are crucial factors, but if anyone else has any other opinions feel free to discuss it.


To me Newton is the greatest scientist ever. Being a scientist today is not comparable, because now you have the basic laws, and you have electricity. A man named Fredrik Härén was talking about knowledge on the Day of Knowledge in Sweden 2007, and his idea was that ideas=p(k+i). P stands for persons, k is for knowledge already existing and i stands for the information we have. This means that more and more ideas come along as new discoveries are made and the population on the Earth is growing. And it is true! 20 years ago there was no internet or computers, and very few people had a cell phone. But as the population grew, and more and more knowledge and information came along, idea after idea was born. That makes Newton’s discoveries even greater, as they did not have much pre-knowledge back then.


What do you think? Is there any greater than Newton? Or any greater discoveries throughout history?



If you want to see the performance of Fredrik Härén, you can click the links below:


/Sebastian Carlshamre


17'th century Coffee house


Coffee houses like Espresso house and Wayne’s Coffee are places that you can meet up with your friends, your family and the rest of your loved ones. The coffee houses are a kind of obvious thing in today’s society, but it hasn’t always been that way. Kiva Han, were the first coffee house, emerged in Turkey, Istanbul 1475. It wasn’t until around 1529 the coffee houses came to Austria, Europe, but the big explosion came when they started to serve sweet pastries and other confectionary.

Back in the days the coffee houses were used by politicians and philosophers. Now it is used by all types of people. Friends, lovers, families, old people, young people, yes I think you get it and I also think that almost everyone has been to a coffee house sometime. You can also get new friends by meeting at a coffeehouse, or maybe a date. That it was politicians and philosophers that first used the coffee houses wasn’t such a big surprise. They had more money, and more power.

Something that is interesting is that philosophers like Rousseau and Voltaire drunk about 40 cups of coffee each day at the coffeehouse Procope in Paris. I think that they would have been the most energetic people in Paris.

If the coffeehouses didn’t exist, people would have been very boring and unsocial. Social venues are very important in the society. What if everyone didn’t go to the coffeehouse and sat in the sofa at home, looking at the TV instead? Then you never meet someone and you become very boring and kind of strange. You don’t know how to talk and behave. So yes, the social venues as for example coffeehouses are very important for us humans to live.




To read more about this:


Thomas Paine and Common Sense


Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was born in Britain, but was later convinced to move to America in 1774 by Benjamin Franklin, which was right before the American revolutionary war started in 1775.

   In 1776, Paine published a pamphlet called Common Sense, in which he argued for the independence of America, instead of being under British rule. In this pamphlet, he discussed the difference of a society and a government, amongst many other things. He used this argument against the British rule of America.

   Thomas Paine thought that a society is “everything constructive and good that people join together to accomplish”, meaning pretty much every good cause that people help each other with.

   However, according to Paine, government is very different to society. A government’s sole purpose is to protect life and property, and is a necessary evil. Paine thinks that if everyone acted morally a government would not be needed, as there would be no need of rules etc to make sure that life and property were protected. However, in today’s society not everyone acts morally, and therefore we need a government which decides laws etc. in order to protect life and property. However, this is at a cost at people’s liberty, as you’re no longer free to do whatever you wish to do, e.g. murder someone, when you have a government.

   In conclusion, Thomas Paine thought that society was a good thing, and government was a bad, but necessary, thing.

   I somewhat agree with Paine. Society is usually a good thing, since it involves many people becoming connected and thus helping each other with various things. However, society may also be a bad thing, even if the people in the society mean to do well. What if a society would, e.g., decide that the world would be a much better place if all children were to be killed? They might think that this would be a good thing to do, but we all know that it’s a fairly bad thing to do.

   Well, that’s where government’s needed. If society gains too much liberty, we’ll have people doing terrible things, even if they mean well. With a government, we can decide laws that forbids these things, and make sure that if someone would do this they would be punished, thus preventing other people from doing the same thing.

   However, a government could decide horrible laws, e.g. that all children under a certain age or so should be killed. Then government would not be a good thing, would it?

   I think that we need a government in order to make sure society remains somewhat moral, although if a government gains too much power it’s just as bad as if we didn’t have any government at all.

   Do you think that government is needed in today’s society? Or would you prefer a society where you would be free to do whatever you wished to do, even if this would be at the cost of someone else?


For more info on Thomas Paine and Common Sense, please go to:


French revolution- financial crisis

In the beginning, and most of the 18th century the French economy moved forward. The population had increased from 18 million people to 25 million in 74 years (1715-1789), the farming and the harvests were very good and the textile and mining industry went forward as well. But in the year of 1770 the economy collapsed, bad harvests led to starvation and they could not import anything to the country because of the expensive duty (tullavgift). But the major reason for the collapse of the French economy was enormous amount of money that France borrowed to afford to finance war. When Louis XVI took over the throne 1774 he realized that he needed to change the economy to the better. He suggested that the nobility would charge to taxes to even out the class differences but this was not successful. So we can say that the financial crisis was a big cause to the French revolution.

So why do we handle financial crisis better today than they did back then? I think one explanation is that we simply have learnt from our mistakes, the reason why Sweden handled the crisis in 2008-2009 so good was because we learnt from our crisis in 20th century. But the biggest explanation (I think) is the global society. We help each other out in a fantastic way, through e.g. the UN. Most of the countries these days have a financial back-up if something were to go wrong.  One more explanation is that we are friendlier towards each other than they were back then.


As a final statement, another very good difference today is that a leader today does not have to fear that he or she will be executed if he or she fails.


Carl Linnaeus (Carl von linné)


This time it is about Carl Linnaeus as a scientist.
Carl Linnaeus was a Swedish botanist that put the species in "families".
He had described over 7,300 species.

He made a lot of expeditions in Sweden and northern Germany.
He is one of the most well known scientists from Sweden from the enlightenment.

The plant sexuality is one of his leading works that describe how plants have "sex".
This means that flowers are boys or girls, they have stamens and pistils.
This attracted the attention of Olof Rudbeck in May 1730, he selected Linnaeus to begin giving lectures at the University even though Linnaeus was only a second year student. The lectures were very popular, and Linnaeus could often find himself addressing an audience of 300 persons.
he also lived with Olof Celsius the man behind the thermometer that shows the temperature in Celsius that are based after the freeze and boil point of water.

Systema Naurae is one of the books Linnaeus wrote, in this book he wrote about the animal and plant kingdom, well they aren't so correct any longer like the giraffe is related to the leopard and that isn't so truly.
Systema Naturae are on three volumes and contains over 7,000 species.

i think this was very useful for the botanist around Europe because it was one different reality then the one the church had shown the people for many years.

By: Philip Törnberg

It all started with an apple…

Sir Isaac Newton was one of the greatest scientists of all time, if not the greatest. His laws regarding how things move changed the way we see the world.


He was born in 1642 in England, not long after the death of another great scientist Galileo Galilei. Newton was very interested in Galileo’s ideas, which he to a big part shared. Newton entered the show at the peak of the Scientific Revolution, and Newton followed great brains as Nicholas Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler and the already mentioned Galilei and he combined their ideas with ideas of his own into one big, unified picture of how the universe works. Newton’s big discovery is gravity. Legend has it that it started with an apple falling down from a tree. Newton then started to think about this and came up with three laws. The three laws explain the way objects move. They are often referred to as Newton’s Laws.


His big discovery was as mentioned gravity, he started to think that it maybe not only included objects at earth, but also objects in space. Maybe that is why the Earth moves around the sun and the Moon do the same around the Earth. Newton understood that mathematics was the key to understand this phenomenon, and as the mathematic genius he was he calculated the force needed for keeping the Moon move around the Earth, and then compared it to the force that made the apple fall down. After some more calculations he discovered that the forces were the same. It is gravity that keeps the moon moving around the Earth.


Newton’s calculations explained how the planets stay in their orbits around the sun, and that way he developed the theories of earlier scientists as Copernicus and Galilei. The way the planets move around the sun is the same way as with the Moon, it the huge gravitational force of the sun that keeps the planets moving. He also showed that gravity was affected by the object’s mass and the distance.


The way Newton managed to explain and make us understand the universe is why I see him as one of the greatest scientists of all time, playing in the same league as other brilliant minds as Louis Pasteur, Albert Einstein, and Charles Darwin.  What do you think? How important was Newton's discoveries for the world that we live in today, or do the legacy of Pasteur or Darwin or Nikola Tesla affect the world more? What can be said is that Newton's discoveries have helped the scientists of today to make their own theories, just as the likes of Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler helped Newton.


So what do you think of Sir Isaac Newton and his science? Do you find it interesting or is it just boring physics?


If you want to learn more about Newton or the other scientists mentioned check these links out!


/Andreas Larsson

Mozart – The child genius


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born January 1756 in Salzburg. He started playing the piano at a very early age and it turned out he was pretty good at what he was doing. Wolfgang turned out to be so good that already at the age of six his father took him on a tour around Europe. Not only did he play well but he was also good at composing symphonies and sonatas etc. One of his first compositions is the symphony no.1 in E-flat major. I got quite astonished by listening to this composition and realizing that Mozart was only eight years old when composed it.

Now the question is, is it morally right to make a child travel around the world and playing music? Or would it be ok if the child agrees to it and actually likes it?

First of all I think that by being able to do all of this you must have an interest for it. I don’t think that his father forced him to keep playing against his will, although he might have been pushed to practice both consistently and frequently. Another sign of that he enjoyed playing and composing is that he did it throughout his life. Then negative to this is that he didn’t have much of a youth, since he started “working” at a very early age.

So was it a good or a bad thing letting Mozart become a professional composer at a early age? I think that it was good, there wouldn’t be any of his early compositions if he wouldn’t have started at that early age. Perhaps he might even not have become a composer if he wouldn’t have started early. Mozart is in my opinion one of the greatest composers ever (just after Beethoven).

/Daniel S Wong

Philiosophie Naturalis Principa Mathematicas

I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people” – Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton, his findings is called the main event of the scientific revolution Isaac Newton is most famous for he’s mathematic calculation of the gravity, not how it worked!. The Philiosophie Naturalis Principa Mathematicas is said to be the most important book in modern Europe history.  The first copy of the book was first published on the 5 of July, 1687. It was written in Latin and made a big impression on other scientist who changed their way of thinking because they realized the importance of it.

In the first part of the book the reader is explained how the findings he did about the three laws of motion. The first one, “everybody continues in the state of rest, or of uniform motion in a straight line, unless it’s compelled to change that state by force impressed upon it. Second, the change in motion is proportional to the motive force impressed, and it’s made in the direction of the straight line in which the force is impressed. Third and last, to every action there is always opposed and equal reaction.

It was not just the findings about the gravity concluded in the Philiosophie Naturalis Principa Mathematicas. Newton also explained how the tides of the ocean worked. It was the gravitational force from the sun and the moon which affected it.

The earth was flat they thought, and beyond the horizon there is a precipice to the unknown that the space was offering. But this wasn’t true. Newton showed that the earth was round by he’s calculations.

The finding Sir Isaac Newton did was before his time. They way of thinking was change dramatically. But what if Newton wouldn’t come up with these findings. How would the view of the gravity and the earth look like then?  I think most likely that someone else had come up with it but not as early as Newton did, due to the fact that he was so before his time.


The guillotine


Joseph-Ignace Guillotin was a French doctor and he was the man who gave name to the guillotine. The guillotine was a killer machine.  It was introduced during the French revolution and a lot of people were executed with it. For example; both king Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were executed with the guillotine. It was during a debate 1789 that Joseph-Ignace Guillotin gave the suggestion that every man should be executed in the same way, rich and poor. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin was against death penalty so therefore he thought that at least the ones that should be executed should be that in a fast and relative painless way.  Many people believe that dr. Guillotin was executed with his own invention, but that is just a rumour and it is not true.


I think that the guillotine is and was a smart invention. It was a fast way to kill a lot of people and since the guillotine always came at the same place it wasn’t any problem, as it had been earlier, with the executioners missing their targets. But I think that it’s a pity that the good idea that Guillotin had when he wanted the death penalty to be put to an end instead made it easier to kill even more people. Maybe some of the innocent people during the French revolution could have been saved if it wasn’t for this killing machine, which killed a lot of people during those years. But since it worked for the purpose it had, to give people a less painful dead, I have to say that it was a good invention.


/ Ebba Jakobsson van Stam

The great earthquake of Lisbon

The great earthquake of Lisbon

March 11 this year an earthquake of such great magnitude (9.0 on the moment scale) struck the country Japan that much of its infrastructure was reduced to mere rubble. As if this was not harm enough, the aftermath proved to be yet another fatal incursion by nature. The incident is now referred to as “The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami” with the later proving to be one of its most lethal kinds, submerging those entombed by rubble and drowning the aidless.

The phenomenon of earthquakes is not a novel occurrence to mankind, especially not to such an earthquake ridden area as the archipelago of Japan, still she has not been able to provide a haven for herself. So, evidently earthquakes have been a force to be reckoned with throughout the entire history of mankind and the age of enlightenment was no exception.  The earthquake of Lisbon (also 9.0 on the moment scale) which occurred in 1755 is a good example of this.

The earthquake struck the city of Lisbon in the morning of November 1. It was the holiday of all saints day and most of the 250,000 population were praying in one of the many cathedrals when the catastrophe hit. The cities buildings started to ominously sway back and forth. And as the buildings started to collapse into the narrow streets, where congregants had gathered to search for sanctuary, the city had, in a matter of seconds, completely transformed from a secure religious holiday celebrating community into a menacing deathtrap. Nature was just getting started though.

Many of those who had survived and managed to escape the streets fled to the docks to seek refuge. They never found it. They were met by death in the shape of three huge tsunami waves. The tsunami just added to the destruction created by the quake and all the ships in the harbor of Lisbon where destroyed.

Still, it was not over. The two previous catastrophes lead to a third. Among the chaos created, fire had ignited on numerous places and was, encouraged by the northeast wind, rapidly spreading taking advantage of the buildings, which were so closely located to each other. This resulted in further turmoil in which several hundreds of patients in the hospitals were forgotten. Immobile and forsaken, they were left for the flames.

All this sudden havoc provoked worries in the rationally thinking enlightened Europe. That one of the wealthiest and most populated cities of the “civilized world” could be laid to waste within two hours was an, thus far, furtive menace. This occupied the minds of the great European enlightenment thinkers as they tried to find a scientific explanation for the earthquake because they refused the religious motives. This was the start of the science of seismology. Thus the earthquake could be considered a landmark in the understanding of how earthquakes work and why they occur.

Another thing which we shall not leave unmentioned is the deft leadership of the minister of the kingdom of Portugal, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, subsequent to the catastrophe. He emphasized ” the punishment of thieves and other criminals, the installation of tents and other facilities for the homeless, the fixation of prices for essential goods and the redirection of fleeing citizens to the city”. Also, everything was done to avoid the outbreak of a plague, people tried to get rid of the corpses as soon and possible and restore the drainage system.

In conclusion, the earthquake of Lisbon could be considered to be the first “modern” earthquake as it was the first which was followed up by serious scientific research. Thus the earthquake of Lisbon is the first antecedent of the most recent quake in Japan. I do wonder about one thing, though. How come we, who live in a globalized world where scientists all over the world work together, after more than 250 years of research, still find ourselves so exposed and vulnerable to earthquakes? How come science and architecture have not yet been able to provide the haven mentioned above? Is it impossible to overcome nature in some aspects? After all, we do it every day. We do it when we cook food, wear clothes and ride the bus. So, what do you think? Will we ever be able to subjugate and be safe from nature’s outbursts in form of earthquakes?


//Baloo Peinkofer






The Microscope

The Microscope

During the period of the renaissance, tons of inventions were created. But I would like to discuss about what in my opinion, is one of the greatest inventions created during that age; the microscope. Today, we should be grateful that such a meaningful invention was created, about 400 years ago! We often forget that it is because of the microscope we know very much about bacteria, atoms, and those very very small objects we can’t see with our bare eyes. It might also be because of the microscope you can be cured from allergy, disease, or something else.

The important thing is that we know that the microscope has saved lives, and will keep doing that. We know that it is because of the microscope, we know very much about ourselves. The optical microscope was the most common in the earlier years but since we today have electricity, we do have microscopes which are using electricity. This is a splendid example of how we today not only are creating new inventions, but also are expanding the existing ones.

I like the microscope, and I like it because it’s a tool helping us too see what we in fact can’t. Without the microscope, I believe the world wouldn’t be like it is today. Probably not even close.

So that’s why we should be grateful that it exists! It’s clearly one of the most important inventions ever created. What do you think? Are there any other inventions you think have been more important to us than the microscope? Give me your thoughts!


//Erik B.

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