When in History Do You Belong?

There are many quizzes about where you belong in history, but they are often surface level. This quiz goes in depth into your personality and worldview to see what time period in the history of Western civilization fits you best. Enjoy! (Note: The quiz is 22 questions long.)

Four Elements Psychology
On Aug 5, 2017

Do you prefer Logic, Science, and Empiricism or Emotion, Values, and the Needs of People when solving problems and looking for truth?

What is more important, individual rights or the good of the community, country, etc.?

How should the Community and the Individual relate to each other?

How do you view Tradition and the Past?

What should the role of Faith be?

What is your view on Objective/Absolute Truth?

Are you comfortable with the idea of social classes?

What is your view on Revolution?

What is the purpose of Education?

The world is too...

What is your view of Nature?

Should Art teach? If so, what should art, literature, and music teach?

When is Military Force justified?

How do you live your life?

How do you view the Classical Era? (Greek and Roman)

How do you view the Medieval Era?

How do you view your own culture?

How do you view exotic foreign cultures?

How do you view Nationalism?

Sci Fi or Fantasy?

Pick an Economic System.

Last Question: Pick your favorite architectural style.

The Classical Era

The Classical Era

You belong in the Classical Era of Greece and Rome!

I. Main Themes: Glory, Honor, Greatness, the Empire, Philosophy, Wisdom, Balance, Civics, History, and Intellectual and Military superiority

II. Logic vs. Emotion: Logic reigned supreme, with objective accomplishments and greatness being the measure of any man or civilization. Emotions and Values were only useful insofar as they inspired the Empire to greatness.

III. Tradition and Past: The Romans placed great stock in the importance of history, the inspiration given by Rome’s glorious historical and mythical past, and honoring one’s ancestors. Indeed, some ancestors were deemed as nearly divine beings.

IV. Faith: Ancient Greece and Rome were filled with many religions and philosophies – each of which claimed to have absolute truth. Major Philosophies included the Platonic Philosophers, the Stoics, and the Epicureans. The Cynics and Skeptics acted as the ancient equivalents of skeptical post-modernists – doubting everything and certain of very little. Then there was the traditional Greco-Roman religion itself. While waning in popularity with the intellectual class over time, the polytheistic beliefs in Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Athena, and the rest of the Olympian gods was still strong. The Roman Emperor claimed divine status as well, meaning an Imperial Cult was also thrown into the mix. Finally, this was the era where Christianity was born.

V. Absolute Truth: The Classical thinkers were all over the board here. Most believed in absolute/objective truth, but fiercely debated what that truth was. Others were highly doubtful that any real, knowable truth existed at all.

VI. Social Classes: The Classical thinkers were unconcerned with social classes. Slavery and oppression were par for the course and there was little concern given for the poor. In Rome, the plebeians eventually won power through the Tribunes to express their concerns and Christianity brought a far greater emphasis on taking care of the poor, the oppressed, and the downtrodden. Still, the Classical era was not a good time to be poor.

VII. Revolution: Revolutions were common in the Greek world, where there was a predictable cycle from Anarchy, to Monarchy, to Tyranny, to Aristocracy, to Oligarchy, to Democracy, to Anarchy. In the Roman world, after going through the cycle once, they stopped it somewhere around Monarchy or Tyranny (depending on the emperor) for the Imperial Era.

VIII. Education: In the Classical World, education was mostly limited to the upper classes and consisted of a rigorous curriculum in both mathematics and the humanities. The most exalted subject was Rhetoric. A student was not an Orator unless he could flawlessly deliver a rousing and persuasive speech on any topic at any time without warning. He was expected to be able to use Logos (Logic), Pathos (Emotion), and Ethos (Personal Appeal) all in balance. Philosophy was also greatly exalted and considered a pre-requisite for joining the intellectual elite.

IX. What’s Wrong with the World: The Classical World saw laziness and pride as the two greatest vices that lead people into either meaningless mediocrity or a meteoric fall from power. There was also a great emphasis on balance between opposing virtues, such as courage and wisdom. Too much courage, and the person dies doing something heroic and stupid. Too much wisdom, and the person accomplishes nothing due to paralysis by analysis. Love, to the Greco-Roman mind, was only for friends and family. Outsiders are owed no love or kindness. The Western emphasis on charity and love towards the weak, poor, downtrodden, and oppressed largely began with Christianity.

X. Nature: Nature was seen as wild, beautiful, and fascinating, but also as a dangerous and chaotic force that man needed to tame in order to survive. The threat of wild animals, natural disasters, plagues, and locusts were all very real to the ancient world. Nature was beautiful, yes, but deadly.

XI. Didacticism: From Aesop’s Fables, the Sophocles’ plays, to the many biographies of great men, Didacticism was very important to the ancient world. Stories were meant to teach lessons and inspire greatness. However, there were also many ancient myths of the chaotic and capricious Greek gods and their various squabbles and exploits. Still, even stories of Zeus’, Poseidon’s, or Aphrodite’s latest affair or the vengeance of Hera or Artemis taught a lesson: don’t anger the gods.

XII. Just War: Just War theory was invented in the Medieval Era. Ancient wars showed a chilling degree of cruelty and wars were often started simply because the benefits seemed to outweigh the costs.

XIII. Structured or Unstructured: Highly Structured

XIV. Classical Era: It is the Classical Era

XV. Medieval Era: It predates the Medieval Era

XVI. Your Own Culture: The Greeks viewed their own culture as enlightened and the Romans considered their own culture to be great and superior to all others. All others were barbarians.

XVII. Exotic Cultures: Despite their sense of cultural superiority, the Romans were quite fond of learning from and incorporating things from other cultures. They would simply incorporate whatever they liked from other cultures and assimilate it into their great and glorious Roman culture.

XVIII. Nationalism: Greek City States were often fiercely patriotic for their city, but only had a vague sense of “Greekness” that only activated when the Greek City-States were invaded by non-Greeks. The Romans, on the other hand, were fiercely nationalistic and viewed non-Romans (or at least, non-Greco-Romans) as inferior.

XIX. Sci Fi or Fantasy: Fantasy

XX. Economic System: Predates organized economic theories.

XXI. Architectural Style: Classical

XXII. Examples of Literature: The Iliad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Plutarch’s Lives, the Philosophical works of Plato, Aristotle, and Zeno, Tacitus’ histories, the writings of Josephus, and the New Testament of the Christian Bible

The Medieval Era

The Medieval Era

You belong in the Medieval Era!

I. Main Themes: Honor, Chivalry, Heroism, Loyalty, Integrity, Faith, Compassion, Tradition, Respect, Mutual Protection, Togetherness, Community, and Moral Teaching

II. Logic vs. Emotion: Values such as honesty, loyalty, honor, chivalry, courage, patience, piety, wisdom, hope, and faith were paramount to the Medieval mind. As such, there may be a slight lean towards emotion, but not with the gushing, over-flowing emotions of the Romantic and Post-Modern eras. This was a time of self-control. Logic and Emotion both were valued as they pursued the goals of protecting and loving each other.

III. Tradition and Past: The Medieval world greatly valued tradition, history, respect, and honor. Traditions were not only kept alive, but thrived and grew richer and richer with time. The number of holidays, traditions, festive foods and feasts, and celebrations they had dwarfed our own. Traditional morality was a given. While many people did not live up to the ideals of the Medieval age, there was no doubt about what those ideals were. They looked on the past with sadness, knowing that they lost much in the Fall of Rome – but also with pride in their ancestors for fighting off the many foreign invaders, such as the Huns, Mongols, Vikings, Moors, and Arabs.

IV. Faith: Faith played a central role in the Medieval world. When the Roman Empire collapsed, the Roman Catholic Church remained the one last pillar of civilization in a shattered world. As the Medieval era progressed, the Catholic faith, culture, infrastructure, mission, and power only grew. Unlike in later eras, Europe was united in their beliefs. Nearly everyone was Catholic and there were few ideological struggles. Even wars between Western powers were somewhat diminished due to the stigma of attacking another “Christian” nation. The Church also engaged in many duties we often associate with the state or with charities now. The Church founded and ran schools and universities, sponsored the arts and sciences, preserved can copied ancient literature, fed and housed the poor, offered sanctuary to the oppressed and ostracized, and even had a separate court system designed to have more lenient punishments and more opportunities for rehabilitation compared to secular authorities. However, the Church also dominated access to both Scripture and secular learning, as well as monopolizing the interpretation and meaning of truth. There was one official version and no questions allowed. This eventually led to the Renaissance and Reformation.

V. Absolute Truth: The Medieval thinker was quite certain that absolute, objective truth existed. As far as philosophy and theology were concerned, that was to be found in Scripture. For truths about the natural world, the scientific method hadn’t been formally developed, but scientific progress still continued. Medieval alchemists improved the quality of iron and steel, developed medicines (including simple antibiotics without even knowing that bacteria were), and formed the basis for modern chemistry. Medieval scientists also made major strides forward in farming techniques, animal breeding, and architecture. They produced many of the most beautiful buildings in all of history.

VI. Social Classes: Feudal social classes were a fact of life and fairly rigid. The rich nobility of lords and knights were an educated military elite that had the duty to provide land to the poor, protect them from war and crime, and provide justice to them in court. The poor owed their lord work on the farms and loyalty. This Comitatus Bond of loyalty between lord and vassal was the backbone of society. The clergy retained their position as a separate educated aristocracy unconnected to the lords and serfs. Feudalism was meant to be a mutually beneficial contract of service with both the lord and the vassal being fiercely loyal to one another. The middle class of tradesmen, free farmers, and professionals gradually grew through this era, but did not achieve their height of success until the Renaissance. In theory, these bands of loyalty would ensure prosperity for all, but power is often abused and serfs had few rights and little power to protest any mistreatment.

VII. Revolution: Due to the high emphasis on order, tradition, and community, revolutions were very rare. Most revolutions were the result of civil wars where rivals for the throne sought the kingship – which can be seen as a sort of Lawful Revolution. This is further supported by the fact that challengers for the throne often backed up their claims with arguments that the existed king or dynasty had lost the Divine Right to rule due to their cruelty, depravity, betrayal, or oppression of the weak. The idea was that while the king may have the Divine Right to rule, he can lose that right by straying too far from God’s teachings. There was also the ongoing Reconquista, a “revolution” of sorts where the Spaniards fought to reclaim their country from the Moors.

VIII. Education: Education was usually done through the church or private tutors, though secular schools grew in number in the major cities with time. While few could read, those that could were often highly educated in all the learning of both the ancient and medieval world. Latin was the preferred language of academia. Education was thought to prepare the learner to be a better leader and be better able to promote the peace and welfare of his people.

IX. What’s Wrong with the World: People have no integrity. The Medieval world saw the primary fault of man being in his moral failings – especially a lack of honesty, loyalty, and devotion to God.

X. Nature: Nature was seen as wild, beautiful, and fascinating, but also as a dangerous and chaotic force that man needed to tame in order to survive. The threat of wild animals, natural disasters, plagues, and locusts were all very real to the medieval world. Nature was beautiful, yes, but deadly.

XI. Didacticism: From the Seven Deadly Sins of the many morality plays, to Dante’s Divine Comedy, to many of the stories within the Canterbury Tales, to the legends of King Arthur and Charlamagne, to the many highly moralizing histories, Medieval literature was highly didactic. The primary purpose of literature, both fiction and non-fiction, was to each morality. Art was to make people more honest, more loyal, kinder, and more faithful to God and country. Visual art and music was treated the same way.

XII. Just War: Just War theory was developed during the Medieval era and was still a work-in-progress. Wars were still bloody and frequently barbaric, with torture and horror tactics being fairly commonplace. Still, this was the first era to teach that wars could be good or bad based on moral principles. In this era, this was usually determined by the need to defend the innocent, uphold treaties, and destroy tyrants – especially tyrants that persecuted members of one’s own religion. This era also taught the importance of not harming prisoners who surrender.

XIII. Structured or Unstructured: Highly Structured.

XIV. Classical Era: On the one hand, the Medieval world looked back longingly to the Classical Era, an age where the West was wealthy, powerful, and the center of arts and learning. However, the Medieval world was also quick to blame the Fall of Rome on the Romans’ decaying morality – especially their pride and laziness in the Late Empire period.

XV. Medieval Era: This is the Medieval era.

XVI. Your Own Culture: The Medieval world was highly conservative and quite happy with its own culture, traditions, and ways of living. The only sources of angst were whether they actually lived up to their own principles of morality and whether they had done enough to live up to the honor of their ancestors.

XVII. Exotic Cultures: Medieval culture was fairly insular compared to later eras. They traded with non-Western powers and were very concerned with keeping the Silk Road open, but their concern with the outside world was largely limited to defending from invasion and keeping trade going. There was far less interest in learning about or exploring foreign lands relative to later eras.

XVIII. Nationalism: The Nation-State was still developing in the Medieval world. Loyalty was pivotal to them, but they had many loyalties to be concerned about. They were to be loyal to their family, their lord and vassals (if they had any vassals), their king, and the Catholic Church. A great many of the wars and political struggles in the mMedieval world stemmed from these conflicting loyalties and the various powers attempted to sort out who was really at the top of the heap.

XIX. Sci Fi or Fantasy: Fantasy

XX. Economic Systems: Guilds. Under the Guild system, each industry was largely self-regulating. They tested workers that wanted to join the guild, trained them, oversaw their work, provided networking opportunities, allowed for the pooling of resources and rudimentary insurance systems, and also enforced standards of ethics and quality. If a guild member did something immoral or unethical, or if they produced low quality products, they could be kicked out of the guild. Without guild membership, it was nearly impossible to make a living.

XXI. Architectural Style: Romanesque and Gothic
a. Romanesque: In the early Medieval era, the architecture was largely Romanesque – which was inspired by Classical Greco-Roman architecture, but was heavier, lower, more massive, and very durable.
b. Gothic: Later on, Medieval engineers and architects developed the Gothic style – which featured tall pillars, soaring ribbed ceilings, pointed arches, stained glass, richly ornamented and sculptured wood, stone, and precious metals, and flying buttresses to provide extra strength to keep the tall and monumental buildings standing strong for millennia to come. There was an emphasis on vertical lines, drawing eyes upwards towards God, as well as more natural motifs – with flowers, vines, trees, and animals frequently carved into the stonework.

XXII. Examples of Literature: Beowulf, the Nordic Sagas, the Nibelungenlied, the Mabinogion, , the legends of King Arthur, the legends of Charlemagne, the many other chivalric romances, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, The Divine Comedy, the various Morality Plays, Piers Plowman, and the philosophical and theological works of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi

The Renaissance

The Renaissance

You belong in the Renaissance!

I. Main Themes: Exploration, Discovery, Learning, Idealism, Optimism, Wisdom, Beauty, Truth, Faith, Independence, Religious Freedom, Growth, Greatness, Glory, Chivalry, Honor, and a dynamic tension between Medieval and Modern ways of thinking.

II. Logic vs. Emotion: Ostensibly, this was an age of logic. Learning, exploration, discovery, academia, and order were paramount. It was an explosion of new optimism about human potential and this meant a great enthusiasm for the arts and sciences. However, there was also a tremendous degree of passionate emotion – for the arts, for one’s country, and for one’s religion. While this passion created great works of art, music, and literature, the discovery of the New World, an explosion of new scientific discoveries, the gradual development of the scientific method, and an intense interest in human freedom, it also yielded a century of bloody religious wars, religious persecution, and the destruction of many native civilizations in the New World. The Renaissance was a time of intensity and contradiction, both intensely logical and intensely emotional.

III. Tradition and Past: In many respect, the Renaissance continued the medieval emphasis on tradition, family, respect, and honoring traditional values. Knights still rode to battle and chivalry was every bit as much a part of life as it was in the Medieval era. However, it was also a time of social, culture, and intellectual upheaval. The rediscovery of the Greco-Roman Classics, the greatly increased trade, vastly increased wealth, discovery of the New World, and intense interest in travel and exploration led to an explosion of new ideas. Humanism taught that humanity is great and beautiful. Man is the measure of all things and has a duty to master and learn to control the physical universe. We can create a better world. The Reformation taught that people can and must think for themselves – not blindly accept the interpretations of truth given by the Catholic church. We can and must learn to read, become educated, and search the Scriptures for ourselves to come to our own conclusions about theology, philosophy, and truth. There was a vast, untamed world to discover, explore, and understand.

IV. Faith: The Church retained its central role in Renaissance life, but the new question was: which church? Much of Europe remained Roman Catholic, but England became largely Anglican, Scotland became largely Presbyterian, the French fought many wars between their Catholics and Protestant Huguenots, the Holy Roman Empire (German-speaking Europe) was split between Lutherans and Catholics, Lutheranism predominated through much of Scandinavia, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was largely Catholic but freely tolerated Protestants and Jews. The various churches founded and ran schools and universities, sponsored the arts and sciences, fed and housed the poor, offered sanctuary to the oppressed and ostracized, and even had a separate court system designed to have more lenient punishments and more opportunities for rehabilitation compared to secular authorities. However, the idea of religious tolerance and religious freedom had not yet been fully developed. The Protestant faiths largely tolerated one another, though squabbles existed and they sought to convert one another constantly. However, there were frequent and bloody wars between the Catholic Church and the alliances formed between the various Protestant denominations.

V. Absolute Truth: Like in the Medieval era, the thinkers of the Renaissance were quite confident in the existence of absolute, objective truth. Theological and Philosophical truth were to be found in Scripture and truths about the natural world were enthusiastically investigated by explorers and scientists of all sorts. The differences were: first, that Europe was no longer united on religious truth and was willing to fight bloody wars over it, and second, that there was a newfound emphasis on and passion for scientific discovery.

VI. Social Classes: The Feudal system of social classes from the Medieval era was still largely intact. The rich nobility of lords and knights were an educated military elite that had the duty to provide land to the poor, protect them from war and crime, and provide justice to them in court. The poor owed their lord work on the farms and loyalty. This Comitatus Bond of loyalty between lord and vassal was the backbone of society. The clergy retained their position as a separate educated aristocracy unconnected to the lords and serfs. However, thanks to an explosion of wealth and learning, there was a new and powerful social class: the Middle Class. This class consisted of free yeoman farmers that owned their own land, skilled tradesmen and craftsmen, merchants and bankers, military officers, doctors, attorneys, engineers, and scientists. While they varied greatly in wealth, they shared two traits: they were free men (not serfs) and they were not nobility. Their power came from wealth and education, not from family title. Their wealth and status eventually earned them the right to vote, hold non-noble offices, keep and bear arms, and travel and do business at will. The richest and best educated of the middle class were called the Gentry.

VII. Revolution: Revolutions in this era were usually due to religious wars or due to members of the middle class demanding more rights. Civil wars with rival claimants to the throne continued as they always have through history. These revolutions were largely lawful revolutions. They focused on deposing tyrants that failed to uphold their duties, protect the rights of their citizens, and uphold the moral principles that all kings must hold to. The “Divine Right of Kings” could be lost if the king was cruel and godless. There was, almost always, a “righteous” ruler with a valid claim to power waiting to assume the throne once the “unrighteous” ruler was deposed. So while wars were frequent and bloody, anarchy was carefully avoided.

VIII. Education: The Renaissance brought with it an intense interest in education – both to be able to read Scripture as well as to explore mathematics, the sciences, art, philosophy, languages, and literature. The nobility and clergy were already well educated, but by the Renaissance the middle class was rapidly becoming highly educated as well. The Gentry (upper middle) was often just as educated as the lords and even the lower middle classes were increasingly literate. Education was seen as a way to climb the social ladder, gain the wisdom needed to understand the religious and philosophical debates of the day, and join in the epic quest to learn, discover, create, and build a better tomorrow for yourself, your country, and all of humanity.

IX. What’s Wrong with the World: The Renaissance shared both the Medieval concern about the moral failings of mankind (especially failings of integrity) as well as the later Enlightenment concerns about the stupidity and laziness of humanity. To the Renaissance thinker, humanity must first be good, then he must be brilliant.

X. Nature: Nature was seen as wild, beautiful, and fascinating, but also as a dangerous and chaotic force that man needed to tame in order to survive. The threat of wild animals, natural disasters, plagues, and locusts were all very real to the Renaissance world. Nature was beautiful, yes, but deadly. Still, compared with earlier eras, the Renaissance had an increased interest in exploring and understanding the natural world.

XI. Didacticism: The Renaissance maintained the high emphasis on didacticism (moral teaching) in fiction and art, much like the Classical and Medieval world beforehand. The primary purpose of literature, both fiction and non-fiction, was to each morality. Art was to make people more honest, more loyal, kinder, and more faithful to God and country. Visual art and music was treated the same way.

XII. Just War: By the Renaissance, Just War theory was fairly well-developed. Non-Combatants were not to be harmed, those who surrender were not to be harmed, and wars should be embarked on only to defend the innocent or to take down an oppressive tyrant. Still, within those bounds, Renaissance warfare was quite brutal by modern standards. As with all eras, many rulers did not live up to Just War principles. The wars of the Renaissance were far bloodier and on a far larger scale than anything the Medieval era had conjured.

XIII. Structured or Unstructured: Mostly Structured

XIV. Classical Era: They adored the Classical Era with its emphasis on culture, learning, and achieving greatness and glory.

XV. Medieval Era: In some respects, they still celebrated the old honor, nobility, chivalry, and undying loyalty of the Medieval Era. In other respects, they were eager to move onward towards a greater and greater emphasis on scientific discovery and artistic expression.

XVI. Your Own Culture: The Renaissance was an era where each nation gloried in their own achievements and sought to outdo one another in every way, so patriotism was a growing force. However, there was still a tendency to loathe the failures of morality and ostensibly falling spiritual and moral state of the world, as well as an impatience to grow and explore.

XVII. Exotic Cultures: Powerful and technologically and artistically advanced foreign cultures were seen as a great inspiration and an extremely valuable source to learn new things. They wanted, like the Romans before them, to absorb all the beneficial traits of all the cultures they met – that way, they could become more powerful, more enlightened, and more cultured. The rich loved to show their wealth by displaying the gold, jewels, silk, spices, and artwork they gained through their trade and travels. However, lands of native tribal peoples were generally seen as wilderness to be taken.

XVIII. Nationalism: True nationalism was still in its infancy during this era as there was still an intense international loyalty to one’s faith (and the other nations which are predominantly of your faith) as well as an intense loyalty to one’s lord and one’s guild. So the patchwork loyalty of the Medieval era still applied. However, Nationalism was a growing force and there was increasing emphasis on service to country and on bringing glory to the nation.

XIX. Sci Fi or Fantasy: Usually Fantasy, though the newfound emphasis on science means people drawn to this era will often enjoy Sci Fi as well.

XX. Economic System: Guilds and Mercantilism
a. Guilds: Under the Guild system, each industry was largely self-regulating. They tested workers that wanted to join the guild, trained them, oversaw their work, provided networking opportunities, allowed for the pooling of resources and rudimentary insurance systems, and also enforced standards of ethics and quality. If a guild member did something immoral or unethical, or if they produced low quality products, they could be kicked out of the guild. Without guild membership, it was nearly impossible to make a living.
b. Mercantilism: This is an economic philosophy centered around fierce nationalism and an emphasis on the government and private industry working together to maximize GDP and undercut the profits of foreign nations. It’s as if all the industries of a nation were part of one self-promoting national guild. The central government often planned part of the economy, encouraging different areas of the empire to specialize in different industries – making each zone an optimized hub for a handful of industries. The nation also heavily invested in high-risk and high-return economic ventures, such as conquests and colonies in the New World and opening trade routes with East Asia. The nation also invested heavily in roads and infrastructure as well as enacting high tariffs to make domestic goods cheap and foreign goods expensive. This created an explosion of new wealth, but also created a rigid economy with only narrow opportunities for success in each area. Paradoxically, despite trying to foster trade, Mercantilism inhibited the wealth generation of global trade since each nation wanted to export but nobody wanted to import.

XXI. Architectural Style: Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque
a. Gothic: Renaissance engineers and architects used the Gothic style – which featured tall pillars, soaring ribbed ceilings, pointed arches, stained glass, richly ornamented and sculptured wood, stone, and precious metals, and flying buttresses to provide extra strength to keep the tall and monumental buildings standing strong for millennia to come. There was an emphasis on vertical lines, drawing eyes upwards towards God, as well as more natural motifs – with flowers, vines, trees, and animals frequently carved into the stonework.
b. Renaissance: The Renaissance also developed an architectural style all of its own. Renaissance architecture usually combined elements from the Gothic and from Greco-Roman architecture into one. The gothic stained glass, high ceilings, and rich ornamentation were joined with the Classical domes, pillars, and emphasis on white and open spaces.
c. Baroque: During the tail end of the Renaissance, Europeans began building in the Baroque style. It is much like the Renaissance style, but far grander and more complicated. Everything is bold, grand, and overwhelming with plenty of white marble, gold, bright colors, complex patterns, and always dramatic subject matter. This is mean to convey the glory, majesty, and power of the nation, religion, king, or lord that commissioned the artwork. It is passionate and grand – befitting the climax of the dramatic Renaissance.

XXII. Examples of Literature: William Shakespeare, Edmund Spencer’s The Fairie Queene, the poetry of Petrarch, Sir Thomas Moore’s Utopia, Machiavelli’s The Prince, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, the writings, art, and inventions of Leonardo da Vinci, debatably the writings of Sir Isaac Newton (though those are borderline in time, they may belong more to the Enlightenment), Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, The Pensées of Blaise Pascal, the writings of the Reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin, and the Poetry of John Donne.

The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment

You belong in the Enlightenment: the Age of Reason!

I. Main Themes: Reason, Logic, Order, Balance, Harmony, Progress, Science, Independence, Freedom, and Human Rights.

II. Logic vs. Emotion: The Enlightenment is also called the Age of Reason. This is the farthest the pendulum has ever swung towards Logic and away from Emotion. The Enlightenment was both a continuation of the Renaissance and a reaction against it. It was a continuation in that the Enlightenment kept going in the direction of rationalism, scientific inquiry, humanism, optimism about the future, and a desire to fix and improve society. It was also a reaction against the flaming passions and religious dogmatism of the Renaissance.

III. Tradition and Past: The Enlightenment had a deep fascination with the Classical world and all it represented to them: balance, order, reason, and glorious empire. They also had some positive things to say about the growth and intellectually inquisitive nature of the Renaissance. However, they looked down on the emotionality and religious strife of the Renaissance and viewed the Medieval era as one of superstition and stagnation. The Enlightenment may have looked to the Romans for inspiration, but they were decidedly not in favor of tradition or of the past. The Enlightenment was forward-thinking, progressive, and focused on charting a new path for human civilization.

IV. Faith: The thinkers of the Enlightenment were unanimous in that they believed religion to be beneficial to society. After all, if the goal was a perfectly orderly, rational, and healthy civilization, then anything that was useful in promoting good morals was a good thing. Religion, in their view, made people more honest, more loyal, more compassionate, and filled them with the hope they needed to persevere through hard times. However, most Enlightenment thinkers were suspicious of anything supernatural, superstitious, or unscientific. To them, an orderly, rational world full of good, moral people meant that a good, wise, and powerful God was a high probability. However, they did not believe the Deity to be really involved with his creation. Why set about creating such beautifully rational laws of physics if you’re only going to mess with them all the time? So most Enlightenment thinkers were Deists: believing in God, but not in anything miraculous. He was a clock-winder God and nothing more. It is possible that some Deists may actually have been Agnostics or Atheists. However, Christian faith still played a large role in society and this is the era of the Great Awakening, where countless Americans and British people came to have a renewed sense of spiritual life and dedication to their faith. However, the wars or religion were over. The faithful continued to teach and preach their beliefs, but freedom of religion ensured that blood was no longer shed for it. Wars now existed solely for secular causes.

V. Absolute Truth: The Enlightenment was confident that truth existed – and that it would be discovered by careful scientific study. They were less concerned with the more abstract elements of theology and philosophy and more concerned with science, mathematics, and the improvement of human society here on earth.

VI. Social Classes: By this era, the middle class was firmly established and most Western nations had granted them the right to vote, hold office, and have freedom of religion, speech, etc. The nobility and monarchy still held a great deal of land and power. Meanwhile, the Absolute Monarchs (such as in France) gained more and more wealth, power, prestige, luxury, and opulence. The king and state were glorified as the nation became more and more one. Over time, the middle and lower classes found they had political rights but little political power. In other nations, such as Great Britain, the trend was away from absolutism and towards limited monarchy, where monarchs held less and less power – eventually having little more power than a US president, except holding it for life. The legislature, increasingly dominated by the House of Commons, grew in strength and the middle class grew in wealth and power. This far greater emphasis on independence, freedom, and human rights eventually spurred the American Revolution. In the new American nation, nobility and monarchy were abolished altogether, creating a glorious new idea: “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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

VII. Revolution: This new era emphasized human rights and liberties. Earlier eras were dominated with talk of duties. People had duties to one another to be kind, honest, loyal, etc. Kings were considered tyrants because they chose to break their commitments and ignore their duties. However, starting with the Enlightenment, Westerners believed that the main issue isn’t duties we owe, but inalienable rights we have as human beings. Liberty and equality were the new guiding lights of this movement and, with it, the revolutions that took place. Some revolutions, like the American, still hewed closely to the idea of lawful revolution. The Americans were careful to set out exactly what they believed King George III had done to violate their rights, exactly what form of government they would have instead, and exactly how they would determine who the rightful and lawful rulers were to be. The French Revolution, on the other hand, tried and failed to keep to such principles and was consumed by the angry passions of vengeance and descended into the chaotic nightmare of the French Revolution. Ironically, the epicenter of the Enlightenment failed to keep to the principles of order and reason. After the French Revolution, more and more nations rose up to throw off their colonial overlords and set up free republics of their own.

VIII. Education: Education was of primary importance to the Enlightenment. They believed that people did foolish and evil things since they had not been taught better. Thus, education was not only vital to getting a good job and furthering economic, scientific, and artistic development, but also in fighting against crime, corruption, and evil of all sorts. Education was the panacea. As such, everything was meant to teach a lesson and edify the hearer/viewer.

IX. What’s Wrong with the World: Stupidity and Chaos

X. Nature: The Enlightenment was convinced that human reason, the scientific method, and hard work could improve anything – including nature. During the Enlightenment, it was believed that it was man’s duty to explore, understand, tame, and cultivate the entire world. Gardens were manicured into geometric shapes, topiary, and hedge mazes. The wilderness was a natural resource of which mankind must make wise and efficient use.

XI. Didacticism: Despite becoming increasingly secular, the Enlightenment was every bit as focused on moral instruction as previous eras. Whether in music, art, literature, or anything else, the lesson was the same: be rational, be orderly, have integrity, work hard, and make a better world.

XII. Just War: Just War theory was fully developed at this time with all of its rules. Non-Combatants were not to be harmed, those who surrender were not to be harmed, and wars should be embarked on only to defend the innocent or to take down an oppressive tyrant. Gradually, there was also a sense that, perhaps, there were certain things too cruel to do even to your worst enemies. However, torture was still commonplace in this era – especially for traitors. Wars were less brutal than in the Renaissance, but also far more frequent. Despite swearing off all religious wars, the new secular states were all-too-willing to go to war for anything that might increase the prestige and power of their nation or cut down the power of a rival. Also, Colonialism was in full swing. Western powers were more than happy to conquer and colonize anyone they could.

XIII. Structured or Unstructured: Extremely structured

XIV. Classical Era: The Enlightenment highly exalted the Classical Era

XV. Medieval Era: The Enlightenment strongly disliked the Medieval Era

XVI. Your Own Culture: To the Enlightenment mind, everything was a problem to solve. They were in a constant quest to make their nations more rational, more orderly, more scientifically advanced, and more powerful. This was all fueled by intense and growing nationalism.

XVII. Exotic Cultures: Exotic cultures were useful only if they can teach us something interesting or provide valuable goods.

XVIII. Nationalism: This was a fiercely nationalistic era.

XIX. Sci Fi or Fantasy: Sci Fi

XX. Economic System: Mercantilism and Capitalism
a. Mercantilism: This is an economic philosophy centered around fierce nationalism and an emphasis on the government and private industry working together to maximize GDP and undercut the profits of foreign nations. It’s as if all the industries of a nation were part of one self-promoting national guild. The central government often planned part of the economy, encouraging different areas of the empire to specialize in different industries – making each zone an optimized hub for a handful of industries. The nation also heavily invested in high-risk and high-return economic ventures, such as conquests and colonies in the New World and opening trade routes with East Asia. The nation also invested heavily in roads and infrastructure as well as enacting high tariffs to make domestic goods cheap and foreign goods expensive. This created an explosion of new wealth, but also created a rigid economy with only narrow opportunities for success in each area. Paradoxically, despite trying to foster trade, Mercantilism inhibited the wealth generation of global trade since each nation wanted to export but nobody wanted to import.
b. Capitalism: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations revolutionized the world economy. According to Capitalism, the way to wealth is freedom. Each individual must have maximum freedom to choose their own education, choose their own career, found or join the business of their choice, and chart their own destiny. Instead of one central organization attempting to conduct the chaos, each human being makes choices in rational self-interest. Free Trade allows everyone to buy at the best prices that people are willing to sell at and sell at the highest prices people are willing to buy. Businesses that can make better products at lower prices grow. Supply and Demand determine prices and the Invisible Hand of the economy moves things towards greater efficiency and growth. Paradoxically, Capitalism teaches that rational self-interest can actually help everyone. This is a very Enlightenment idea: that society profits when people are rational and free. The government’s role in this system is primarily as a referee to enforce fairness, treaties, contracts, and ethics.

XXI. Architectural Style: Baroque, Rococo, and Neo-Classical
a. Baroque: During the tail end of the Renaissance, Europeans began building in the Baroque style. It is much like the Renaissance style, but far grander and more complicated. Like the Renaissance Style, everything is gigantic, open, bright, and there are plenty of domes, classical pillars, paintings, and sculptures. However, everything is bolder, grander, more complex, and overwhelming. It features plenty of white marble, gold, bright colors, complex patterns, and always dramatic subject matter. This is mean to convey the glory, majesty, and power of the nation, religion, king, or lord that commissioned the artwork.
b. Rococo: As the Age of Reason, it makes sense that the Baroque eventually fell by the wayside. It was beautiful, orderly, and symmetrical, but too busy, ornate, and filled with overflowing passions for the clean, refined, and rational tastes of the Enlightenment. The Rococo was a similar style to the Baroque, but cleaner, more open, and less focused on bombastic and emotional themes. The Rococo style was endlessly fascinated with minute, complex, and beautiful patterns. The eye follows flowers, spirals, shells, and all sorts of ornate designs. It is witty, graceful, smooth, flowing, and flowery. If the Baroque is a dramatic opera, then the Rococo is a Mozart symphony.
c. Neo-Classical: As the Enlightenment progressed, the movement towards balance, freedom, and rationality took the next rational step: the Neo-Classical. This style, befitting the Enlightenment, was a conscious revival of Greco-Roman designs – complete with Greek pillars, Roman domes, post-and-lentil construction, and a tendency towards clean, white marble. The architecture was much simpler than earlier styles, but it was gigantic, monumental, open, bright, and always featuring perfect balance and harmony. For less grandiose buildings, the Colonial Style was often used. This incorporated standard red brick house construction with embellishments and motifs from the grander Neo-Classical Style.

XXII. Examples of Literature: Gulliver’s Travels and the various other satirical works of Jonathan Swift, Antoine Galland’s translation of the One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights), the writings of Alexander Pope, the philosophies of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Jean Jaqueus Rousseau, and Voltaire, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, the folktales of Washigton Irving, and The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison.

The Romantic Era

The Romantic Era

You belong in the Romantic Era!

I. Main Themes: Emotion, Passion, Independence, Individualism, Freedom, Equality, Nature, Adventure, Patriotism, Idealism, Nostalgia, History, the Exotic and Foreign, and Mystery.

II. Logic vs. Emotion: This era strongly emphasized emotion and reacted against the cold logic of the Enlightenment. According to the Romantics, a meaningful life was full of passion, driving purpose, heartfelt love, imagination, independence, and the beauty of the natural world. Logic served as a mere tool to serve these higher purposes. Perhaps the only things it held onto from the Enlightenment were a love of freedom, fierce independence, and fierce nationalism – indeed, the Romantic Era took these ideal much further than the Enlightenment ever did. This intense desire for freedom inspired the people of the Romantic Era to finally put an end to slavery and make good on the Enlightenment promise that “all men are created equal.”

III. Tradition and Past: The Romantic Era looked longingly back at an idealized past full of gods, heroes, knights, honor, and a richer, wilder world. In many respects, it was a return to tradition. However, is also departed from tradition in many ways. The extremely strong independent streak meant that the individual was more important than society. If the world goes one way, and the individual goes the other, then the world is wrong. As such, while nostalgia was a strong factor, each individual cherry-picked which things from the past to be nostalgic about and which ones to discard.

IV. Faith: The Romantic Era brought a revival of religious faith – but different than before. The various churches grew in power, but the extreme individualism of the era led to more and more fracturing with more and more denominations. Some, like Mormonism, were considered by many to be new religions altogether. Many faiths re-evaluated major doctrines to accommodate the changing values of this new era. Others stood firm on their traditional beliefs. This was also a time where many Romantic thinkers experimented with Far Eastern religions, developed the pantheistic Transcendental faith, and grew fascinated with the mythologies of previous eras. This was also the time where Charles Darwin first proposed his Theory of Evolution. So while faith had newfound power and influence in society, this was an era where that tremendous new burst of energy went in many directions at once.

V. Absolute Truth: This era still believe in objective, absolute truth, but truth became an increasingly individual issue. Each person was passionately dedicated to his own chosen philosophy, religion, or worldview, convinced it was objectively correct.

VI. Social Classes: This era saw the gradual fall of the nobility and monarchy in much of the world. While kings and emperors still persisted into the 20th Century, the Common Man gained massive ground, buoyed by an era that celebrated the individual and scorned any attempt at controlling the Free Will of another.

VII. Revolution: This was an era of revolution. Inspired by the American and French Revolutions, conquered peoples and discontented subjects everywhere revolted against their rulers and set up new republics. Ironically, while this was an era of revolution in Europe and Latin America, this was also an age of colonialism, where Western powers seized vast tracts of land in Africa and Asia.

VIII. Education: Since the individual was of paramount importance, education was also a door to opening up the chance to chase one’s dreams. They believed that people did foolish and evil things since they had not been taught better. Thus, education was not only vital to getting a good job and furthering economic, scientific, and artistic development, but also in fighting against crime, corruption, and evil of all sorts.

IX. What’s Wrong with the World: Cruelty, Oppression, and Cold, Callous Hearts

X. Nature: Nature was enthusiastically celebrated in this era and viewed as a rich source of truth, wisdom, and joy. Contrary to the Enlightenment, which saw civilization as good and wilderness as a waste, the Romantic Era saw the natural world as glorious and good. “Natural” came to be a synonym for health, nurturing, wholesome, and good. Civilization, with its dirty cities, corruption, high crime, and rampant poverty, was the problem.

XI. Didacticism: This is the era that began to teach Ars Gratia Artis in earnest: that art and beauty exist for their own sake. Beauty need not teach a lesson. The experience of beauty and majesty were a reward in and of themselves. However, many stories still had moral lessons – especially lessons to be kind, honest, free, independent, and patriotic.

XII. Just War: Just War theory was fully developed at this time with all of its rules. Non-Combatants were not to be harmed, those who surrender were not to be harmed, and wars should be embarked on only to defend the innocent or to take down an oppressive tyrant. Gradually, there was also a sense that, perhaps, there were certain things too cruel to do even to your worst enemies. However, torture was still commonplace in this era – especially for traitors. Wars were less brutal than in the Renaissance, but also far more frequent. Despite swearing off all religious wars, the new secular states were all-too-willing to go to war for anything that might increase the prestige and power of their nation or cut down the power of a rival. Also, Colonialism was in full swing. Western powers were more than happy to conquer and colonize anyone they could.

XIII. Structured or Unstructured: Unstructured

XIV. Classical Era: The Romantics took inspiration from the Classical world, but were not nearly as enthused with the Greeks and Romans as their Enlightenment forbears were.

XV. Medieval Era: The Romantics adored the Medieval era. To them, the Medieval world was more natural and more wholesome. It was a time of honesty, loyalty, taking care of your own, watching out for each other, and togetherness. There was none of the cold, callous Enlightenment there. It was a time of deep faith – which was important to the Romantics. It was also a time of knights, chivalry, selflessness, and heroism. Many nations looked to an idealized Medieval era to summon up the courage, honor, and patriotic self-sacrifice of their soldiers and sailors.

XVI. Your Own Culture: To the Romantic, the West had lost its way. It had become too cold, too callous, too cruel, and too stifling to the freedom, hopes, and dreams of its citizens. There was a longing for an earlier, more honorable time. They often looked to an idealized past to find the path forward. That being said, this was an age of powerful patriotism. While they wracked themselves with angst over their countries, it was largely because they were so intensely invested in their national identity and destiny.

XVII. Exotic Cultures: The Romantic Era was endlessly fascinated by the exotic. Far off settings were popular in stories and foreign cultures were fresh, new, exciting, and filled with mysterious allure. This was an age that loved mystery.

XVIII. Nationalism: This was an intensely nationalist age – even more so than the Enlightenment.

XIX. Sci Fi or Fantasy: Fantasy

XX. Economic System: Capitalism: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations revolutionized the world economy. According to Capitalism, the way to wealth is freedom. Each individual must have maximum freedom to choose their own education, choose their own career, found or join the business of their choice, and chart their own destiny. Instead of one central organization attempting to conduct the chaos, each human being makes choices in rational self-interest. Free Trade allows everyone to buy at the best prices that people are willing to sell at and sell at the highest prices people are willing to buy. Businesses that can make better products at lower prices grow. Supply and Demand determine prices and the Invisible Hand of the economy moves things towards greater efficiency and growth. Paradoxically, Capitalism teaches that rational self-interest can actually help everyone. This is a very Romantic idea: that society is richer and hapier when people are free and able to chart their own destiny. The government’s role in this system is primarily as a referee to enforce fairness, treaties, contracts, and ethics.

XXI. Architectural Style:
a. Greek Revival: As befitting the Romantic love of the past, this style was a conscious revival of Greco-Roman designs – complete with Greek pillars, Roman domes, post-and-lentil construction, and a tendency towards clean, white marble. The architecture was much simpler than earlier styles, but it was gigantic, monumental, open, bright, and always featuring perfect balance and harmony.
b. Gothic Revival: With the Romantic love of the Medieval Era, it is no wonder that they went back to the Gothic style – which featured tall pillars, soaring ribbed ceilings, pointed arches, stained glass, richly ornamented and sculptured wood, stone, and precious metals, and flying buttresses to provide extra strength to keep the tall and monumental buildings standing strong for millennia to come. There was an emphasis on vertical lines, drawing eyes upwards towards God, as well as more natural motifs – with flowers, vines, trees, and animals frequently carved into the stonework.
c. Foreign Styles: The Romantics were also deeply fascinated with anything exotic or foreign. As such, there were many beautiful buildings designed in ways that evoked or even directly mimicked foreign architectural designs. Many of these were patterned after Middle Eastern architecture, though a few mimicked India or the Far East.

XXII. Examples of Literature: The works of Goethe, Longfellow, Thoreau, Mark Twain, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, The Three Musketeers and The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Alexander Dumas, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick

The Victorian Era

The Victorian Era

You belong in the Victorian Era

I. Main Themes: Patriotism, Adventure, Exploration, Science, Progress, Technology, Machines, Business, Optimism, Westerns, Social Class, Etiquette, Social Problems, Compassion, Selflessness, Cleanliness, Family, Community, and Dignity.

II. Logic vs. Emotion: This era is less emotionally extravagant than the Romantic Era, but still too emotional to be compared with the Enlightenment. The Victorian era, encompassing the late 19th and very early 20th Centuries was an era of great technological change. Logically, it was the era where the scientific revolution, industrial revolution, and nationalism of prior eras exploded. Scientific progress changed the entire world practically overnight – the world of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century may have been only a few decades apart, but they were world apart in the way people lived. The Victorians had steam power, factories, telephones, radio, and the early use of electricity. It was an age where faith in scientific progress was at an all-time high. They truly believed in Eternal Progress: the idea that history had a direction – and that direction was inexorably towards a “great, big, beautiful tomorrow.” Science would continue to make life better and better while culture would continue to improve until mankind invents heaven on earth. It was perhaps the most optimistic era of history. It was also the age where over-flowing Nationalism slid into true Jingoism and later brought the world two World Wars. There were movements to reform orphanages, ban child labor, set maximum hours and minimum wages, clean up factories, ensure safe food and medicine, ban alcohol, and grant women the right to vote. This was an era of deep compassion, love for all, and commitment to improving the world. It was also an age of tradition, nostalgia for the past while reaching for the future, decorum and etiquette, close-knit families, fairy tales, and bedtime stories.

III. Tradition and Past: During the Victorian era, the West was intensely traditional. The value and beliefs of your country and history were to be cherished, family honor was to be upheld, and dignity was to be maintained at all times. The pendulum swung away from the intense individualism of the Romantic Era towards the deep concern for the community of the Victorian age.

IV. Faith: Due in large part to the influence of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, Atheism and Agnosticism grew in this era. Now there were new theories of the origin of the universe that didn’t require the clock-winder God of the Enlightenment. Society grew increasingly secular and the influence of traditional religions started to wane. Still, during this age religion maintained a significant and powerful influence. Even presidents and prime ministers led their people in prayer and expressed hope in a good God that would guide them to truth and a better world. It was also an age with a massive missionary movement, hoping to convert the world to Christianity – and also to feed the, clothe them, educate them, and spread the marvels of modern technology.

V. Absolute Truth: While the age as a whole was quite certain about truth and comfortable in their worldview, doubt about the existence of absolute, objective truth started to creep in during this era of increasing secularization. However, there was a firm belief in both religious and atheistic circles in Eternal Progress – the idea that history has a direction and that it is inexorably fixed towards a better world. Science was making new discoveries almost daily: your parents had horses, you had steam engines, and your children have internal combustion. Telegrams put the Pony Express out to pasture and telephones made the telegram obsolete. Each generation was richer than the last. Life was getting better and easier all the time. There was a real hope that humanity could eventually fix all of our own problems through technology, moral instruction, and clean living. We could create a heaven here on earth.

VI. Social Classes: This era was even more fixated on social issues than the Romantic Era. Entire genres of literature arose to address social problems, expose injustice, or even just explore the complex nuances of social life in the Victorian era. There was a greater concern than ever before for the plight of the poor. Countless new charities and government programs cropped up, hoping to solve the problem of poverty forever.

VII. Revolution: This was an era of revolution. Inspired by the American and French Revolutions, conquered peoples and discontented subjects everywhere revolted against their rulers and set up new republics. Ironically, while this was an era of revolution in Europe and Latin America, this was also an age of colonialism, where Western powers seized vast tracts of land in Africa and Asia.

VIII. Education: Education was seen as a way to combat social problems. They believed that people did foolish and evil things since they had not been taught better. Thus, education not only furthered economic, scientific, and artistic development, but also in fighting against crime, corruption, and evil of all sorts. However, there was also a strong practical bent in this era: being educated meant getting a good job. That means money and economic progress for your family.

IX. What’s Wrong with the World: The world is cruel, calloused, and uncaring.

X. Nature: Contrary to the Enlightenment, which saw civilization as good and wilderness as a waste, the Victorian Era saw the natural world as glorious and good. “Natural” became a synonym for health, nurturing, wholesome, and good. Civilization, with its dirty cities, corruption, high crime, and rampant poverty, was the problem. However, this was also the era of “Man the Hunter.” The Victorian Era and early 20th Century saw an explosion in hunting as the Western world sought to finally and completely conquer the wilderness. This led to a catastrophic collapse in worldwide animal populations.

XI. Didacticism: This era moved back towards the idea that art should teach. This is an era of intense focus on morality, justice, and fairness. As such, there was a renewed emphasis on fables, lessons from history, and literature that makes a point – usually to be kind, honest, free, independent, and patriotic. However, there I still a sense of Ars Gratia Artis in earnest: that art and beauty exist for their own sake. Beauty need not teach a lesson. The experience of beauty and majesty were a reward in and of themselves. There was an especially keen emphasis in this era on wholesome family entertainment: that is, that art, literature, music, and movies that children might see should be optimistic, uplifting, and free from sexuality, excessive violence, crass themes, and swearing.

XII. Just War: Just War theory was fully developed at this time with all of its rules. Non-Combatants were not to be harmed, those who surrender were not to be harmed, and wars should be embarked on only to defend the innocent or to take down an oppressive tyrant. Gradually, there was also a sense that, perhaps, there were certain things too cruel to do even to your worst enemies. However, the theory of Social Darwinism taught that the weak in the gene pool should disappear (whether through birth control, sterilization, etc.) and the strong should inherit the earth. This idea, in the next era, would inspire the evils of Nazism.

XIII. Structured or Unstructured: Structured.

XIV. Classical Era: This era was very forward and future focused, but largely looked at the Classical Era as something all educated people should know about, study, and be well-versed in. The emphasis on order, reason, and greatness was admired.

XV. Medieval Era: To them, the Medieval world was more natural and more wholesome. It was a time of honesty, loyalty, taking care of your own, watching out for each other, and togetherness. There was none of the cold, callous Enlightenment there. It was a time of deep faith – which was important to the Victorians. It was also a time of knights, chivalry, selflessness, and heroism. Many nations looked to an idealized Medieval era to summon up the courage, honor, and patriotic self-sacrifice of their soldiers and sailors.

XVI. Your Own Culture: This was perhaps the most nationalistic era in history, with each nation passionately convinced that it was objectively the best – and many believing that anything done to further one’s country is good, regardless of what that action may be. However, there was still the deep concern for social issues during this day and a deep angst over the suffering that the industrial revolution had caused.

XVII. Exotic Cultures: Exotic and foreign cultures were considered fascinating and were beloved subjects of literature – especially stories that involved a Westerner exploring and gaining renown in such foreign lands. Thanks to Social Darwinism, there was a sense that foreign cultures, while fascinating and beautiful, were somehow “inferior” to the West.

XVIII. Nationalism: This was the apex of Nationalism in world history.

XIX. Sci Fi or Fantasy: Both, but with a slight leaning towards Sci Fi

XX. Economic System: Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism.
a. Capitalism: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations revolutionized the world economy. According to Capitalism, the way to wealth is freedom. Each individual must have maximum freedom to choose their own education, choose their own career, found or join the business of their choice, and chart their own destiny. Instead of one central organization attempting to conduct the chaos, each human being makes choices in rational self-interest. Free Trade allows everyone to buy at the best prices that people are willing to sell at and sell at the highest prices people are willing to buy. Businesses that can make better products at lower prices grow. Supply and Demand determine prices and the Invisible Hand of the economy moves things towards greater efficiency and growth. Paradoxically, Capitalism teaches that rational self-interest can actually help everyone. The government’s role in this system is primarily as a referee to enforce fairness, treaties, contracts, and ethics.
b. Socialism: The Socialist views of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries acknowledged the incredible wealth-building power of Capitalism. Economic Freedom creates profits and profits grow the economy. However, the Socialist’s concern was that while rational self-interest produces growth, it can often leave the poor behind. The concern was that too much wealth was being concentrated at the top and may have been causing many of the poverty-related social problems that the Victorian Era and early 20th Century were so concerned about. Socialist thinkers advocated increasing taxes on the rich and corporations in order to gain enough revenue to create a social safety net of welfare programs and aid to the poor to help with food, housing, medical care, and other needs. Regulations, under Socialism, are also much stricter and more expensive - which was done both for safe products and work environments, and to promote business practices that the government wants to encourage. Some socialists went further, advocating that the government seize control of key industries to further redistribute wealth to help the poor and direct the economy in a desired direction. Socialism, as an ideology, is diverse. Some variations were simply capitalism with higher taxes, higher regulations, and more and better aid to the poor and other government services. Other more extreme versions involve the government controlling much or even all of the economy. Since the turn of the 20th Century, economic policy in the West has been a struggle between Capitalist and Socialist urges, with Capitalists concerned about economic freedom and overall GDP growth and Socialists concerned about fairness, the oppression of the poor, and the risk of unsafe products and work environments.
c. Communism: Communism is an extreme form of Socialism in which the government, supposedly to protect the poor worker, seizes control of the entire economy, plans the economy, and distributes resources as it sees fit. There is little to no economic freedom. Since the government has a one-party system with no other ideologies officially tolerated, there is little to no political freedom as well. Communist regimes are typically atheistic and often persecute the followers of any other belief system.

XXI. Architectural Style:
a. Greek Revival: As befitting the Victorian love of the past, this style was a conscious revival of Greco-Roman designs – complete with Greek pillars, Roman domes, post-and-lentil construction, and a tendency towards clean, white marble. The architecture was much simpler than earlier styles, but it was gigantic, monumental, open, bright, and always featuring perfect balance and harmony.
b. Gothic Revival: With the Victorian fascination with the Medieval Era, it is no wonder that they went back to the Gothic style – which featured tall pillars, soaring ribbed ceilings, pointed arches, stained glass, richly ornamented and sculptured wood, stone, and precious metals, and flying buttresses to provide extra strength to keep the tall and monumental buildings standing strong for millennia to come. There was an emphasis on vertical lines, drawing eyes upwards towards God, as well as more natural motifs – with flowers, vines, trees, and animals frequently carved into the stonework.
c. Foreign Styles: The Victorians were also deeply fascinated with anything exotic or foreign. As such, there were many beautiful buildings designed in ways that evoked or even directly mimicked foreign architectural designs. Many of these were patterned after Middle Eastern architecture, though a few mimicked India or the Far East.
d. Victorian: Many buildings had a unique, Victorian style featuring colorful wooden walls, pointed arches, bay windows, porches, pillars, latticed railings, other latticed or lacey designs, and sometimes towers. This architectural style was quite popular for homes and shops well into the 20th Century.
e. Sky Scraper: These exceptionally tall buildings generally feature a great deal of steel and glass. They are stable and efficient, though their decorations are generally sparse. If decorated, they are usually done with sleek lines, stark contrasts, and plenty of open space.

XXII. Examples of Literature: The works of Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, the works of Jules Verne, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the works of Ernest Hemingway, Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery, J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, John Steinback’s The Grapes of Wrath, The Wizard of Oz book series, and the Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Post-Modern Era

The Post-Modern Era

You belong in the Postmodern Era!

I. Main Themes: Tolerance, Internationalism, Nature, Environmentalism, Multi-Culturalism, Secularism, Equality, Egalitarianism, Technology, Robotics, Computers, Isolation, Extremism, Escapism, Relativism, and Diversity. Since the Postmodern Era is current and ongoing, writing this objectively is difficult and involves some degree of conjecture. No offense is meant to any political, religious, or any other group by anything that is below.

II. Logic vs. Emotion: Emotion. While the Postmodern era has continued the breakneck pace of scientific progress in the Victorian and Modern eras, the culture as a whole has become increasingly emotional in nature. The Postmodern world has lost its faith in Eternal Progress: the idea that the future is always better and humanity will gradually create heaven on earth. The horrors of WWII and the holocaust broke that optimistic view in human nature for much of the world. The threat of the end of the world by nuclear war loomed over much of the 20th Century, and the 21st Century is plagued with the constant threat of possible terrorism and the looming fear of a new Cold War.

III. Tradition and Past: The Post-Modern World has pivoted away from many of the traditions of Western Civilization. This is an era where history is less valued, traditions are often suspect, and there is a greater emphasis on new ideas and progressing forward. However, there are still some traditions and values that remain.

IV. Faith: Society has become increasingly secular and the power the church once held has diminished substantially in the late 20th Century and early 21st Century. Agnosticism has become quite common and Atheism is becoming more socially acceptable. Non-Western religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam are also gaining ground in the West – in part due to immigration and in part from curiosity among Westerners about foreign values and beliefs. Still, Judeo-Christian faiths retain significant influence in large parts of the Western world.

V. Absolute Truth: The Postmodern world, by and large, no longer believes in absolute, objective truth. Truth is, largely, considered a matter of interpretation and opinion. Ironically, during the most recent part of the Postmodern Era, there has been a marked increase in extreme views on all ends of the political and philosophical spectrum. One theory is that the internet has increased people’s ability to congregate with like-minded individuals, form echo chambers, develop group think, and isolate themselves from all competing ideas. Without the need to meet ideological opponents, there is less opportunity to understand opponents, less need to learn to get along with ideological opponents, and no moderating effect from constant exposure to alternative views. This, perhaps, has contributed to rising extremism.

VI. Social Classes: The Postmodern world has continued the drive towards equality that began in the Enlightenment and continued to intensify through the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern eras. This has led to numerous campaigns to end prejudice of all sorts.

VII. Revolution: The early Post-Modern era, just after WWII, saw the end of the Wester colonial empires. Many of the last colonies, such as India, were granted independence without the need for a war or any violent revolution. Many former colonizers even enjoy a positive diplomatic relationship with their former colonies. Immigration from former colonies to their former colonizer is relatively common.

VIII. Education: Education remains a vital part of Western culture, though the reason why varies. To some, it is the drive to fulfill a personal dream, to others it is the drive to use their knowledge to give back, fix the world, or improve society, and for many others it is simply the desire for a better job. So many more people have been going to college that there are often too many graduates and too few jobs. This causes both an increased demand for graduate degrees to distinguish one from others when competing for jobs as well as a dearth of people doing jobs in skilled labor. The skyrocketing cost of higher education has also further strained the system.

IX. What’s Wrong with the World: Prejudice, Cruelty, and Ideological Extremism

X. Nature: The Post-Modern Era is perhaps the most environmentally friendly of all eras. There are massive movements to protect endangered species, clean up the air and water, fight environmental degradation from industry, and prevent or mitigate the harms of climate change. Nature is enthusiastically celebrated in this era and viewed as a rich source of truth, wisdom, and joy. Contrary to the Enlightenment, which saw civilization as good and wilderness as a waste, the Romantic Era ad Post-Modern era see the natural world as glorious and good. “Natural” has come to be a synonym for health, nurturing, wholesome, and good.

XI. Didacticism: This era has taken the idea of Ars Gratia Artis (that art and beauty exist for their own sake) farther than any other era. Beauty need not teach a lesson. The experience of beauty and majesty were a reward in and of themselves. In large part, there is no longer an expectation that art, literature, music, and movies have to teach a moral lesson. It is enough that they are enjoyed. If moral lessons do exist in Post-Modern art, they usually are lessons about kindness, tolerance, peace, and fighting prejudice.

XII. Just War: Just War theory was fully developed at this time with all of its rules. Non-Combatants were not to be harmed, those who surrender were not to be harmed, and wars should be embarked on only to defend the innocent or to take down an oppressive tyrant. There is also a sense that, perhaps, there were certain things too cruel to do even to your worst enemies. Torture is strongly frowned upon in many Western nations. . This era has brought an intense emphasis on international law, with the Geneva Convention and international criminal courts that try war criminals.

XIII. Structured or Unstructured: Unstructured

XIV. Classical Era: The Post-Modern view of the Greco-Roman world is mixed. Some admire their rationality, order, and greatness, others despise them for their conquests and cruelty, and many others are indifferent.

XV. Medieval Era: The Post-Modern reaction to the Medieval world is complex and intense. On the one hand, there is a fascination with knights, kings, and heroism – as seen in the explosion of Medieval-inspired fantasy books, video games, and movies. They largely adopt the aesthetics and military tactics of the Medieval Era, but craft worlds populated by characters that have very 20th and 21st Century outlooks on life. Others despise the Medieval world as a time of poverty, oppression, disease, superstition, ignorance, and intolerance. Still others looks back longingly on a time where the West was united, when communities were intact, when people watched out for each other, where loyalty was absolute, honor was fiercely defended, and morality was of central importance.

XVI. Your Own Culture: The Post-Modern Era is often quite critical of Western ways and especially Western history. There is at once a Victorian sense of wanting to fix everything, purify everything, and get rid of anything negative from the culture as well as a sense of shame for the actions of the past. However, there is still a thread of patriotism woven through to celebrate the good about Western culture and history.

XVII. Exotic Cultures: Much like the Romantic Era, the Post-Modern Era has a deep fascination with foreign cultures from all around the world and a keen desire to learn from them, explore their culture, and enjoy it.

XVIII. Nationalism: This era has brought an intense emphasis on international law, the Geneva Convention, international criminal courts that try war criminals, international sanctions on rogue states, the desire for approval by the international community, firm alliances between groups of nations (such as NATO), and the desire to gather a coalition of nations before going to war.

XIX. Sci Fi or Fantasy: Both

XX. Economic System: Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism.
a. Capitalism: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations revolutionized the world economy. According to Capitalism, the way to wealth is freedom. Each individual must have maximum freedom to choose their own education, choose their own career, found or join the business of their choice, and chart their own destiny. Instead of one central organization attempting to conduct the chaos, each human being makes choices in rational self-interest. Free Trade allows everyone to buy at the best prices that people are willing to sell at and sell at the highest prices people are willing to buy. Businesses that can make better products at lower prices grow. Supply and Demand determine prices and the Invisible Hand of the economy moves things towards greater efficiency and growth. Paradoxically, Capitalism teaches that rational self-interest can actually help everyone. The government’s role in this system is primarily as a referee to enforce fairness, treaties, contracts, and ethics.
b. Socialism: The Socialist views of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries acknowledged the incredible wealth-building power of Capitalism. Economic Freedom creates profits and profits grow the economy. However, the Socialist’s concern was that while rational self-interest produces growth, it can often leave the poor behind. The concern was that too much wealth was being concentrated at the top and may have been causing many of the poverty-related social problems that the Victorian Era and early 20th Century were so concerned about. Socialist thinkers advocated increasing taxes on the rich and corporations in order to gain enough revenue to create a social safety net of welfare programs and aid to the poor to help with food, housing, medical care, and other needs. Regulations, under Socialism, are also much stricter and more expensive - which was done both for safe products and work environments, and to promote business practices that the government wants to encourage. Some socialists went further, advocating that the government seize control of key industries to further redistribute wealth to help the poor and direct the economy in a desired direction. Socialism, as an ideology, is diverse. Some variations were simply capitalism with higher taxes, higher regulations, and more and better aid to the poor and other government services. Other more extreme versions involve the government controlling much or even all of the economy. Since the turn of the 20th Century, economic policy in the West has been a struggle between Capitalist and Socialist urges, with Capitalists concerned about economic freedom and overall GDP growth and Socialists concerned about fairness, the oppression of the poor, and the risk of unsafe products and work environments.
c. Communism: Communism is an extreme form of Socialism in which the government, supposedly to protect the poor worker, seizes control of the entire economy, plans the economy, and distributes resources as it sees fit. There is little to no economic freedom. Since the government has a one-party system with no other ideologies officially tolerated, there is little to no political freedom as well. Communist regimes are typically atheistic and often persecute the followers of any other belief system.

XXI. Architectural Style:
a. Modern Architecture: Much like Post-Modern Era, Modern Architecture strongly pivots away from the traditions of the past and towards something new. Gone are the pillars, domes, spires, and arches of past Western designs. In their place are geometric shapes, gleaming metal, swirling organic designs, sharp color contrasts, unusual uses of glass, wood, stone, and steel, simplicity of lines, and plenty of open space.
b. Sky Scraper: These exceptionally tall buildings generally feature a great deal of steel and glass. They are stable and efficient, though their decorations are generally sparse. If decorated, they are usually done with sleek lines, stark contrasts, and plenty of open space.

XXII. Examples of Literature: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Willaim Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the works of T. S. Eliot, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, Watership Down by Richard Adams, the works of Tom Clancy, The Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, and the Harry Potter series.

The World Wars

The World Wars

You belong in the Early 20th Century: The Era of the World Wars

I. Main Themes: Patriotism, Adventure, Exploration, Science, Progress, Technology, Machines, Business, Optimism, Westerns, Social Class, Etiquette, Social Problems, Compassion, Selflessness, Cleanliness, Family, Community, and Dignity.

II. Logic vs. Emotion: This era is less emotionally extravagant than the Romantic Era, but still too emotional to be compared with the Enlightenment. This era, 1900-1960, was an era of great upheaval and change. In the beginning of that era, kings and emperors still ruled vast empires and wars were fought with single-shot rifles, swords, cannons, and steam-powered ironclad warships. By the end, both World Wars had come and gone, Western nations no longer had empires, the world was split between the Democratic West and Communism, and wars were fought with M16s, AK-47s, tanks, aircraft carriers, and jets. The threat of nuclear war loomed. Still, some unifying trends can be seen. Emotionally, this was a time of intense Patriotism. The Free World was threatened with annihilation from the Imperial powers of WWI, the Nazis and Facsist Japanese during WWII, and the looming Communist menace in the Cold War. This era still had some of the social activism of the Victorians, including movements to feed and house the poor, reform orphanages, clean up factories, ensure safe food and medicine, and especially provide jobs for the unemployed. This was an era of compassion and commitment to improving the world. The main difference from the Victorian Era regarding charity is the increasing tendency to use government programs rather than churches or private charities to aid the poor – in large part because the churches and charities were also hit hard by the recession. The New Deal brought a hybrid of traditional Capitalist and new Socialist ideas. However, thanks to the World Wars, this generation was often more focused on survival against foreign threats than on fixing social problems at home. Logically, it was the era where the scientific revolution, industrialization, and nationalism of prior eras exploded. Scientific progress changed the entire world practically overnight – the world of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century may have been only a few decades apart, but they were world apart in the way people lived. It was an age where faith in scientific progress was at an all-time high. It was also the age where over-flowing Nationalism slid into the true Jingoism of the World Wars. The growing racism of the Victorians’ Social Darwinism inspired the Nazis to go far further than the Victorians had ever imaged: the Holocaust, one of the points of deepest human cruelty in history. In a sense, that is where the Modern ends and Postmodern begins: the realization that Eternal Progress is a myth and maybe there really is something deeply wrong with humanity.

III. Tradition and Past: During the World Wars, the threat of foreign conquest brought new life to traditional beliefs and the West was intensely traditional. The value and beliefs of your country and history were to be cherished, family honor was to be upheld, and dignity was to be maintained at all times. The scientific emphasis, order, and reason of the Enlightenment, the passion and freedom of the Romantic Era, and the nationalism and dignity of the Victorians came together to save the Free World.

IV. Faith: Due in large part to the influence of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, Atheism and Agnosticism grew greatly in this era. Now there were new theories of the origin of the universe that didn’t require the clock-winder God of the Enlightenment. Society grew increasingly secular and the influence of traditional religions waned. Still, during this age religion maintained a significant and powerful influence. Even presidents and prime ministers led their people in prayer and expressed hope in a good God that would guide them to truth and a better world. It was an age divided between the growing power of the secular and the settled power of the sacred.

V. Absolute Truth: Doubt about the existence of absolute, objective truth increased during this era of increasing secularization. However, there was a firm belief in both religious and atheistic circles in Eternal Progress – the idea that history has a direction and that it is inexorably fixed towards a better world. Science was making new discoveries almost daily: your grandparents had horses, your parents had steam engines, and you have internal combustion, and your children will fly on intercontinental flights. Telegrams put the Pony Express out to pasture and telephones made the telegram obsolete. Each generation was richer than the last. Life was getting better and easier all the time. There was a real hope that humanity could eventually fix all of our own problems through technology, moral instruction, and clean living. We could create a heaven here on earth.

VI. Social Classes: This era was slightly less fixated on social issues than the Victorians. Thanks to the Great Depression, there was a great emphasis on providing food and shelter to the poor, providing jobs for all, being frugal, being efficient, saving for a rainy day, and being careful with money. However, the greater emphasis was on patriotism, unity, and standing strong against Fascism and Communism.

VII. Revolution: This was an era of revolution, ranging from the burning of the Reichstag in Germany by the Nazis, to the fall of the Czars and rise of the USSR, and the various colonial independence movements. Thanks to Allied victory in WWII, the world became split between the Free West and the Communist World – which in turn inspired many Pro-Western and Pro-Communist wars and revolutions throughout the world. Still, by the close of this era, the various colonial holdings by Western powers had been granted independence.

VIII. Education: Education was seen as a way to combat social problems. They believed that people did foolish and evil things since they had not been taught better. Thus, education not only furthered economic, scientific, and artistic development, but also in fighting against crime, corruption, and evil of all sorts. However, there was also a strong practical bent in this era: being educated meant getting a good job. That means money and economic progress for your family – which is especially important for families that just survived the Great Depression.

IX. What’s Wrong with the World: The world is cruel, selfish, and oppressive.

X. Nature: Contrary to the Enlightenment, which saw civilization as good and wilderness as a waste, the Victorian Era saw the natural world as glorious and good. “Natural” came to be a synonym for health, nurturing, wholesome, and good. Civilization, with its dirty cities, corruption, high crime, and rampant poverty, was the problem. However, this was also the era of “Man the Hunter.” The early 20th Century saw an explosion in hunting as the Western world sought to finally and completely conquer the wilderness. This led to a catastrophic collapse in worldwide animal populations.

XI. Didacticism: This era moved back towards the idea that art should teach. This is an era of intense focus on morality, justice, and fairness. As such, there was a renewed emphasis on fables, lessons from history, and literature that makes a point – usually to be kind, honest, free, independent, and especially patriotic. However, there I still a sense of Ars Gratia Artis in earnest: that art and beauty exist for their own sake. Beauty need not teach a lesson. The experience of beauty and majesty were a reward in and of themselves. There was an especially keen emphasis in this era on wholesome family entertainment: that is, that art, literature, music, and movies that children might see should be optimistic, uplifting, and free from sexuality, excessive violence, crass themes, and swearing. On a somewhat related note, the World Wars era gave birth to a wide array of new musical styles, including the Big Band, the Blues, and Jazz. Rock and Roll burst onto the scene in the 1950s.

XII. Just War: Just War theory was fully developed at this time with all of its rules. Non-Combatants were not to be harmed, those who surrender were not to be harmed, and wars should be embarked on only to defend the innocent or to take down an oppressive tyrant. Gradually, there was also a sense that, perhaps, there were certain things too cruel to do even to your worst enemies. However, the theory of Social Darwinism taught that the weak in the gene pool should disappear (whether through birth control, sterilization, etc.) and the strong should inherit the earth. Nazi ideology went further and taught that the German Aryan race deserved to inherit the earth and inferior races must be exterminated. This lead to the holocaust to exterminate the “inferior” and supposedly push human evolution forward. So this era brought us the most egregious war crimes in recorded history. This, in turn, triggered the Geneva Convention and a new emphasis on enforcing the laws of war to prevent similar atrocities from every happening again.

XIII. Structured or Unstructured: Somewhat structured.

XIV. Classical Era: This era was very forward and future focused, but largely looked at the Classical Era as something all educated people should know about, study, and be well-versed in. The emphasis on order, reason, and greatness was admired.

XV. Medieval Era: To them, the Medieval world was more natural and more wholesome. It was a time of honesty, loyalty, taking care of your own, watching out for each other, and togetherness. There was none of the cold, callous Enlightenment there. It was a time of deep faith – which was important to the World War generations. It was also a time of knights, chivalry, selflessness, and heroism. Many nations looked to an idealized Medieval era to summon up the courage, honor, and patriotic self-sacrifice of their soldiers and sailors.

XVI. Your Own Culture: This was perhaps the most nationalistic era in history, with each nation passionately convinced that it was objectively the best – and many believing that anything done to further one’s country is good, regardless of what that action may be.

XVII. Exotic Cultures: Exotic and foreign cultures were considered fascinating and were beloved subjects of literature – especially stories that involved a Westerner exploring and gaining renown in such foreign lands. Thanks to Social Darwinism, there was a sense that foreign cultures, while fascinating and beautiful, were somehow “inferior” to the West.

XVIII. Nationalism: This was the apex of Nationalism in world history.

XIX. Sci Fi or Fantasy: Sci Fi

XX. Economic System: Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism.
a. Capitalism: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations revolutionized the world economy. According to Capitalism, the way to wealth is freedom. Each individual must have maximum freedom to choose their own education, choose their own career, found or join the business of their choice, and chart their own destiny. Instead of one central organization attempting to conduct the chaos, each human being makes choices in rational self-interest. Free Trade allows everyone to buy at the best prices that people are willing to sell at and sell at the highest prices people are willing to buy. Businesses that can make better products at lower prices grow. Supply and Demand determine prices and the Invisible Hand of the economy moves things towards greater efficiency and growth. Paradoxically, Capitalism teaches that rational self-interest can actually help everyone. The government’s role in this system is primarily as a referee to enforce fairness, treaties, contracts, and ethics.
b. Socialism: The Socialist views of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries acknowledged the incredible wealth-building power of Capitalism. Economic Freedom creates profits and profits grow the economy. However, the Socialist’s concern was that while rational self-interest produces growth, it can often leave the poor behind. The concern was that too much wealth was being concentrated at the top and may have been causing many of the poverty-related social problems that the Victorian Era and early 20th Century were so concerned about. Socialist thinkers advocated increasing taxes on the rich and corporations in order to gain enough revenue to create a social safety net of welfare programs and aid to the poor to help with food, housing, medical care, and other needs. Regulations, under Socialism, are also much stricter and more expensive - which was done both for safe products and work environments, and to promote business practices that the government wants to encourage. Some socialists went further, advocating that the government seize control of key industries to further redistribute wealth to help the poor and direct the economy in a desired direction. Socialism, as an ideology, is diverse. Some variations were simply capitalism with higher taxes, higher regulations, and more and better aid to the poor and other government services. Other more extreme versions involve the government controlling much or even all of the economy. Since the turn of the 20th Century, economic policy in the West has been a struggle between Capitalist and Socialist urges, with Capitalists concerned about economic freedom and overall GDP growth and Socialists concerned about fairness, the oppression of the poor, and the risk of unsafe products and work environments.
c. Communism: Communism is an extreme form of Socialism in which the government, supposedly to protect the poor worker, seizes control of the entire economy, plans the economy, and distributes resources as it sees fit. There is little to no economic freedom. Since the government has a one-party system with no other ideologies officially tolerated, there is little to no political freedom as well. Communist regimes are typically atheistic and often persecute the followers of any other belief system.

XXI. Architectural Style:
a. Greek Revival: As befitting the Victorian love of the past, this style was a conscious revival of Greco-Roman designs – complete with Greek pillars, Roman domes, post-and-lentil construction, and a tendency towards clean, white marble. The architecture was much simpler than earlier styles, but it was gigantic, monumental, open, bright, and always featuring perfect balance and harmony.
b. Gothic Revival: With the Victorian fascination with the Medieval Era, it is no wonder that they went back to the Gothic style – which featured tall pillars, soaring ribbed ceilings, pointed arches, stained glass, richly ornamented and sculptured wood, stone, and precious metals, and flying buttresses to provide extra strength to keep the tall and monumental buildings standing strong for millennia to come. There was an emphasis on vertical lines, drawing eyes upwards towards God, as well as more natural motifs – with flowers, vines, trees, and animals frequently carved into the stonework.
c. d. Victorian: Many buildings had a unique, Victorian style featuring colorful wooden walls, pointed arches, bay windows, porches, pillars, latticed railings, other latticed or lacey designs, and sometimes towers. This architectural style was quite popular for homes and shops well into the 20th Century.
e. Sky Scraper: These exceptionally tall buildings generally feature a great deal of steel and glass. They are stable and efficient, though their decorations are generally sparse. If decorated, they are usually done with sleek lines, stark contrasts, and plenty of open space.