This was my final paper for my European Civilizations class, discussing what
I learned over the the course of the quarter.
It is very tempting to view the history of European civilization as a
relentless progression towards a perfect society. This temptation is
particularly strong for those of us here in the United States, a nation
whose own founding document begins, “We the People of the United States,
in Order to form a more perfect Union…do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the United States of America.” This ‘more perfect
union’ is envisioned as the natural successor an uninterrupted line of
societies dating back to biblical times, from Moses to Jesus to Rome,
through to modern Europe and across the Atlantic to the New World. This
view, however, is not an accurate assessment of ‘how we got here today’,
since it ignores the very parts of history that were responsible for
shaping the meaning of a ‘civilized European society’.