This is the school year wrap up, which happened at the end of May.
This last month was broken up with extra-curricula events, complicated life issues, and unforeseen necessary happenings, such as a quick run to Sacramento to implement "We the People."
Nonetheless, we managed to get through these important issues.
April - May
Age of Revolution
Europe and America
"Fare thee well"
The United States Constitution
Of course, we had to read the quick story of how the U.S. Constitution came to be, how it outlines the structure of our government, and how super short this document truly is. Imagine: legislation and our tax code are longer than the document that holds our nation together. Amazing.
The Bill of Rights
We covered the extremely important first ten amendments to our Constitution, which protect the rights of the individual and the states from an overreaching federal government.
The French Revolution
And we did a quick overview of the reasons for and the beginnings of the French Revolution. I promised to speak to this. I found a lot of interesting similarities to those pre-revolutionary ideas and to our society and culture today. Maybe it is simply because civilizations repeat themselves throughout history. Frankly, there is nothing new under the sun.
Here is a summary:
The people had lost hope in the King and the Church, as both had shown themselves to be untrustworthy, corruptible tyrants. They watched the revolution in America, and they wanted their rights and liberties, too.
Remember the Enlightenment? This philosophy, thanks to Voltaire, Rousseau, and others, came in handy. The people began to reject the laws of God and instead embraced the ideas of man. In other words, they could no longer look to their king or the church to teach them what was right; hence, they were left to their own devices.
The Enlightenment encouraged the people to be ashamed of their country, its history, and its institutions. They rejected their own French Forefathers! They even questioned and attacked God as the established authority. They envisioned a utopia where there would be no prejudice, sin, or error.
Sound familiar, yet?
The Enlightenment blamed Christianity and the aristocrats for every societal problem (which is understandable because the Catholic Church was filthy rich, the King and Queen were living high on the hog, and both were untouchable). The people began to reject privilege and excellence and desired equality of the classes, and sanctity of the poor, and to be free from civilized restraints. They rebelled against traditions and sinned openly, without shame or restraint.
Sadly, the more they demanded liberty to do as they pleased, the more it brought on chaos, disunity, fear, and tyranny. In the end, though we stopped at 1800, they brought on another kind of dictator anyway. But we'll cover that next year when we return.
The New Republic
Finally, we covered two more short topics: one on the New Republic and some of its obstacles, such as little uprisings of left-over rebelliousness, meant to check the new government.
One of the new republic's ideas was to encourage settlers to move west into the Northwest Territory, just south of the Great Lakes. The Northwest Ordinance explained how a territory could become a new state and join the union.
Of course, the Native American peoples living in these areas did not much appreciate this, and there were a deadly few skirmishes with settlers. Hence, the government sent Mad Anthony Wayne to put a stop to the Indian attacks, and supposedly it worked, but not without a terrible loss of life.
And this concluded our history up to the 1800s.
For literature, we took two months to read The Scarlet Pimpernel, which is more of a love story than it is about the French Revolution, but the kids loved it because it is a definite hero/heroine story with a good guy/gal and a villain.
The Scarlet Pimpernel
I did not like my poet choice this month, so we only read one poem from Lord Byron.
Music of the French Revolution
We listened to French music of the Revolution for music, including "La Marseillaise," which is the national anthem, and was written in 1792.
Jacques Louis David
And finally, we studied French artist Jacques Louis David. We have been able to see some of his works at the Getty in Los Angeles.
See you all next fall.