Monday, March 10, 2014

A Deluge of History

I was recently told "You haven't posted anything in a long time." by our favroite Houghtonite, who was up for her spring break. I decided she is right, but, because I currently don't have the time for a post that is worthy of all you sophisticated bloggers, I am just going to post a few of my papers that I had to write. Read if you want to. I won't be offended if you don't.

P.S: Please remember that these are mostly topics I was given with sources provided. Hate the assignment not the submitter. 

P.S.S: The topics are as follows: Japanese occupation of Korea, Individualism in the renaissance, Calvinism versus Catholicism views on Original sin (needless to say, I am in the Calvinist camp), and Judicial Activism (which is perhaps the most misleading, because the professor had explicit instructions. I am actually against an activist court, or at least in favor of an activist conservative court.)

The Opportunities of Modernization in Korea
Jordan Reed
History 264

    Often times the idea of modernization is presented as the industrialization and centralization of a country. Whether this idea is right or wrong, this perception certainly seems correct in the case of the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910-1945. The Japanese sought to pull Korea into the modern world sphere mainly using these two methods, regardless of what the Koreans thought. This was done through the forcible application of industrial, agricultural, cultural, and social reform. Regardless of an individual’s moral interpretation on these acts, it can not be argued that this period of modernizing colonization did not have a profound effect upon Korea. What can be argued is how effective these imperialistic reforms were in creating opportunities for the Korean population. Did the action of modernizing Korea cause an opening of positions, possibilities, and power that it did in other nations which rapidly industrialized, such as Japan? Furthermore, did the reaction of rising nationalism to these reforms further create new avenues for the native population? This paper is intended answer these questions. It will show how modernization created new opportunities for the Korean people, both in itself and by the subsequent reaction towards it.
    First, it is necessary to set up the context of the Japanese occupation in order to understand the arguments that will be used. As the Western powers divided up Asia into colonies and spheres of influence in the 19th and 20th centuries, Korea stood out as something of an enigma. Known as the Hermit Kingdom, Korea had been able “to close her borders to the entire world except Big Brother China.” (Kang 2001) This isolation resulted in a country that was seen as weak and under-developed by the outside world. (Kang 2001) The supposed helplessness of this East Asian country made it a prime target for influence by its growing neighbors, Japan and Russia. Resulting from the conflicting imperial interest, the Russo-Japanese War gave a convenient excuse for Japan to oust its competitor out of the region and build support for Korean protectorate status on the world stage. This all culminated in Korea being brought into the Japanese sphere as a protectorate by Ito Hirobumi in 1905. (Ebrey & Walthall 2014)  This is an important note to those seeking to understand the situation, because the Japanese first attempted to harness Korea as a protectorate, a more or less “independent” state that would accede to Japanese guidance. (Ebrey & Walthall 2014) The idea of “protectorate” changes the nuance of Japanese imperialism. The Japanese claimed that they were simply aiding in the strengthening of Korea so that it could resist imperialist aggressors. Whether it is right or not, this provides a lens through which we know some of the Japanese viewed the situation. This endeavour for working with a semi-independant Korea would ultimately be unsuccessful for the Japanese, and the end result of this protectorate status would be the complete colonization of Korea by Japan. Historically, the proceeding period of colonization has been divided into three parts, subjugation (1910-1919), accommodation (1920-1931), and assimilation (1931-1945). (Kang 2001) Each of these phases is generalized by a heightened or lowered militancy and interference by the Japanese. By keeping the atmosphere of each of these phases in mind when  looking into the actions of the Japanese, one can obtain a foundation from which to understand the possible opportunities that the Japanese brought to Korea.
    To begin, the most obvious area where the modernization attempts can be seen are in the economic sector. Before the Japanese came, there existed in Korea “a relatively backward agricultural economy” which had most of the manufactures being “produced by artisans in a few population centers.”  (Federal Research Division Library of Congress, 1990) The period of occupation would fundamentally change this economic status in three major areas, which will be divided and discussed as agricultural, industrial, and infrastructure.
First, the agricultural situation of Korea was greatly changed through the Japaneses’ application of land surveys, modern technology, and trade. Up to this point, the status of land ownership was ambiguous and dominated by the yangban (scholar gentry) class. The government’s ignorance of how much property was owned by individuals hindered efficient taxation and modernization projects. The Japanese instituted a series of land surveys “so that people could know exactly what they owned. All the land that went unclaimed...the Japanese took for themselves.”  (Kang, 2001) This project not only gave an opportunity to those who would deceitfully gain land that had not belonged to them by claiming it as their own to the Japanese (Kang, 2001), but it would also gain the support of the landowners by guaranteeing their property rights. (Ebrey & Walthall 2014) In addition to codifying land ownership, the Japanese would make modern technology available to farmers that enabled them to get “machinery from Japan for digging and weeding.” (Kang 2001) While these modernizations did result in a growth of output, the overall situation was lopsided towards those landowners that could afford technology and were protected by the new property distribution. Moreover, many products, one being Korea’s staple product, rice, were forcibly exported to Japan in the occupier’s drive for self-sufficiency.
While the Japanese changed Korea’s agriculture, the colonizers literally gave life to the peninsula's industry. The Japanese flooded Korea with capital, and they built factories to exploit the natural resources there. The possibilities this provided can be seen in two tiers. The first view is that of the wealthy business leaders who, again, could take advantage of this inflow of capital. Using their own funds, these landlords were allowed to fill cheap niches in the market. It also helped matters that the occupying Japanese sought to implement industrialization in much the same way that it was achieved during the Meji era, placing an emphasis upon “the close collaboration between government and business leaders.” (Federal Research Division Library of Congress, 1990) Wedding the economic and government leaders created a window for the Korean industrialists. On the other hand, the lower classes that acted as laborers were in much less positive situation, but it is worth noting that this situation might still have been better than the one which they they were leaving behind, as “life was especially hard for farmers, who often lived at subsistence level.” (Kang 2001) Many of the factories were built to meet the expanding demand of Japan, and these factories would hire heavily from the indigenous population. One example being “a railroad factory where they made engine parts, and many Koreans, like about three thousand, worked there.” (Kang, 2001) While discrimination did exist, some Koreans were able to become specialists and achieve less expendable jobs. This minority of wealthy Korean capitalists, specialists, and non-expendables would form “a new middle class”. (Ebrey & Walthall 2014) In essence, the process of industrialization did create opportunities above what Koreans had as sharecroppers and tenant farmers, but the benefits were less than possible, harder earned, and not of their choice.
When the Japanese occupation of Korea came to an end in 1945, the Korean economy went through a turbulent period due to the withdrawal of Japanese capital and markets. This destabilization shows that the most important economic contribution the Japanese made during their colonization was in fact the infrastructure that was built. Railroads, hydroelectric power plants, mines, bridges, and shipyards were only a few of the important projects pushed through by the Japanese. The massive influx of Japanese construction in Korea had two aims. One was to facilitate the political and military aims of Japan. Korea was a base for the expansion of the empire, and, as both the bulwark and gateway into the rest of Asia, Korea was heavily webbed with transportation in order to facilitate the Japanese war machine’s strategies. Another reason is for the purpose of economic necessity. The Japanese eventually conceded that the protectorate was not feasible in Korea, but it instead began a process of assimilation. This causes one to logically deduce that the Japanese were intending for a prolonged stay. This puts the infrastructure’s creation as the logical outcome of the Japanese wishing to reach all the economic potential possible and prepare for long term growth. For the Koreans, this dual drive benefitted them greatly. Not only did the construction, maintenance, and subsequent urbanization  provide opportunities for employment and promotion, but when the Japanese left, these structures were left more or less free-and-clear. Whether worker, owner, poor, or rich, in general, all Koreans benefited from the use of this foreign sponsored network of industry.
Moving beyond the economics sense, there also occurred a great social opportunity in Korea during this era. It may seem as if the Korean people’s hopes for social mobility and enrichment were nonexistent during this time of oppression, but, as there was economic opportunity available, there was also at times social possibilities. Specifically, certain areas, such as education, gender opportunities, and nationalism, were greatly expanded under the period of colonization.
By far the largest deliberate change was the availability of new education, from traditional Korean education, to Japanese education, or even western education. Before the Japanese occupation there was only one choice for the Korean people, “the male bastion sodang, village school.” (Kang 2001) This state of circumstances was quickly dispelled when Korea had its borders opened and was occupied. The diversity of schools expanded exponentially. It was even possible for “a small minority”  (Ebrey & Walthall, 2014) to study abroad in Japan and other nations. This is not to say that the Japanese system of education was completely egalitarian. The system did favor the Japanese students over their Korean counterparts, and there were definite cultural strings attached. More and more as time progressed, the schools became vehicles for assimilation. This being said, it can not be discounted that the Japanese did expand the possibility for education to many Koreans, regardless of ulterior motives, and the result of this venture was to provide the Koreans with the skills required to become an efficient workforce.
Understandably, the elevation and prevalence of education began to chip away at some of the more traditional elements of Korean society. One such element was the dominance of patriarchy.  Korean women that would otherwise be tied into a traditional agricultural role faced a similar situation as women in other industrialized nations. They now had the opportunity of education, and the overall field of industrialization was somewhat possible to exploit. This is not to say that women of this period broke out of cultural norms. The vast majority of women probably lived in traditional fashion as much as possible. But, the occupation brought a turbulence to society, and women had opportunities within the chaos of industrialization and urbanization.
The final group of opportunities, and perhaps the most overlooked, are the revolutionaries and nationalists. It could be argued that the movement of revolution, nationalism, and modernization was an eventuality, and that this situation would have arisen even without Japan’s interference. But, the fact of the matter is that Japan did interfere, and it is logical to assume that Japan’s actions provided the Nationalists with a target for their hatred and a catalyst for change. It is not difficult to see how the Japanese occupation provided those that were unhappy with the system and wanted drastic change with a better opportunity to gather a following and proclaim their message. Movements that otherwise might never have gained traction within the populace now gained an audience in two growing groups. The first group was the student body. Ironically, the Japanese sought to educate, and thereby indoctrinate, the Korean youth, but this also had the result of introducing them to the outside influences of Communism, Nationalism, and even Liberalism. The other group would be the oppressed populace. The opportunities brought by the Japanese are known, but the brutalities of oppression were equally present as well. Those oppressed did not have to look far to find revolutionary groups or passive subversions to vent their frustration. It can be argued that it was just such an act that brought a close to the first phase of Korean colonization, subjugation, and brought about the more lenient phase of accommodation.
In conclusion, one can not dispute that the modernizing action of the Japanese did in fact offer some benefits and increased opportunity for the Korean people. The effects of forced modernization were broad and sweeping, and shook the economic and social roots of Korea. But, it is equally important to realize that modernization was not an equal process. The different strata of people, class, and circumstances caused an enormous divide in the ultimate outcome of modernization of the individuals. The Japanese were not one homogenous case either. There was no doubt some with the best of intentions, and there was certainly many that saw Korea as simply an imperialistic venture. This is the key of the situation. The modernization of Korea was a movement carried out and participated in by individuals. Each of these individuals had a different perspective on the situation. This paper has attempted to take certain facets of the situation, and show how they opened doors for certain people or classes.

The Effects of Individualism on Politics and Religion in Early Modern Europe
Jordan Reed
HNRS: 229-01

    One of the most prominent cultural values in Western Civilization is the emphasis on the desires and benefit of the individual. The ideal of Individualism has had an almost inestimable influence on the development of Europe and the modern world. While this is more difficult to observe in the Ancient world, Individualism, and its subsequent results, becomes much more apparent in the early modern era of the Western world, the Renaissance in particular. The purpose of this paper is to analyze some of the evidence for the changes that the rise of Individualism caused in politics and religion.
It’s important to note that tracing and pinpointing the rise of individualism as becoming the ascendant ideal of European culture is difficult, but it can be seen that the true flowering of this ideal occurred during a time period in Western history known as the Renaissance. It was at this point that the ideas of “self-fashioning”, “free will”, and the central position of man first became emphasized and encouraged in literature and society. One key example of this is the philosophical movement known as Humanism. This intellectual doctrine began as an attempt by certain of the learned men of the time to revive the ancient knowledge, but it soon transformed into much more. It emphasized strengthening the intellect through ancient knowledge in order to strengthen the individual’s virtue, and thereby it spawned a form of individualism by emphasizing man’s unique ability to achieve a semblance of virtuous originality. Humanism continued evolving throughout the Renaissance. It came to represent an upheaval against the contemporary order via a hearkening back to a “purer” golden age in the past. In the process of seeking this purer past, the members of Humanism created something new, the spirit of the individual. This is apparent in Pico Mirandola’s Oration on the Dignity of Man, widely considered to be a type of manifesto on Humanism. As well as outlining the overall aim of Humanism, Mirandola states that the individual is “constrained by no limits, in accordance with thine own free will.” This emphasis on the will of the individual created a new approach for defining and handling the problems of the day.
Perhaps the area where this new approach is most evident is in the political life of Europe. To understand the changes in governance, we will discuss three examples of the transitions in the politics of the day, Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Ludlow. Bringing to bear his political and philosophical experience, Niccolo Machiavelli’s landmark book The Prince (1532) illustrates a different kind of relationship between the state and the individual. The overall message of the book rejects the idea of government being ordained by any other power than itself. This removes any sort of prohibitions from the use of power and force. The people heading the government have only one purpose, the continuation of their power. This illustrates the idea that the primary objective of anyone should be their own benefit, which is one facet of individualism. Furthermore, the idea of Fortuna, which can be simplistically explained as chance or luck, removes the idea of a predestined outcome for a prince or state, leading to the conclusion that people can chart their course. Therefore, morality is secondary to success. These stark conclusions are an extreme yet logical conclusion to the applying of the individualist dogma to the political sphere of society.  
The view espoused above by the Florentine comes earlier than the next two examples, but a thread of logic can be seen moving from The Prince to the next two works. The writings of Thomas Hobbes in his Leviathan (1651) express the same calculating manner to his political science in a way to achieve a more successful result rather than the right result. But, by the time of Hobbes, the ideas of individualism have further developed, and this fact shows itself in the way that Hobbes begins his argument for a certain government from the bottom up. That is, he uses the state of the mass of humanity, a mass of individuals, as the reason behind his conclusions about government. He doesn’t give these individuals the privilege of being able to chart their own course, due to, ironically enough, their own competition and equality, but he doesn’t dispute that each of these people have desires, wills, and affections that drive them. The influence of Individualism can be seen in how it is claimed that the successful government doesn’t only acknowledge the individuality of the state, as in The Prince, but also the Individuality of its constituency.
While the previous two examples used the facets of Individualism to justify the state, the third example, a set of memoirs written by a contemporary of the English Restoration in the mid-17th century and The English Declaration of Rights, illustrates a more contemporary result of the long hand of this cultural value. Ludlow, the author and narrator of his biography, claims that the nation is not only built by individuals but that all “who had acted with fidelity and affection to the public” deserve to have a part in a government run by consent of the government. This desire for a guaranteed protection of the people’s rights against government intervention is further explained and even codified in The English Declaration of Rights. This is perhaps the ultimate expression of Individualism that politics should take into account the desires of the individuals that it affects. The very fabric of political thought was shaped by the idea of Individualism, and, the farther history progresses into modernity, its influence only gets larger. But, as has been mentioned, ideals often transcend just one sphere of life. Individualism can also be seen in the religion of the early modern era.
The most obvious example of this is the Protestant Reformation. It may seem from some of the language used by Luther that Protestantism is opposed to Individualism, but a closer look reveals that there is much more than a simplistic answer. On one hand, the doctrine of predestination and the negative outlook on the humanist emphasis on man seem to take a step backwards from Individualism. On the other hand, it can be argued that the entire Reformation was a humanist and Individualist effort. Luther sought to return to a past golden age of true worship, and this is the very soul of humanism. In addition, the Reformation had the effect of building upon the priesthood of believers, which emphasized a personal relationship with God instead of a predominantly ritualistic or corporate one. It creates an interplay that can only be witnessed and confirmed on an individual basis.  This would play very heavily into the Congregationalist nature of the Reformed Churches, and it would be more politically acceptable to the more liberal areas of Switzerland, Netherlands, and even England. Even the idea of predestination didn’t have to mean that the teaching was anti-individual. In fact, it became a powerful personal motivation for the Protestants that followed the doctrine that they were “chosen” by God, as shown by the absolute devotion in Oliver Cromwell on the Victory at Naseby.
It is also important not only to look at the Reformation proper. The Catholic Church had members that stressed an individualistic dogma. Erasmus was a champion Humanist, and he wrote extensively on the need for the church to reform itself into a purer, simpler, and more personal entity. While he didn’t agree with a radical split, Erasmus sought to combine the Free Will of Humanism with a simpler church.
Looking at both the political and religious developments in the Renaissance, it is an easy thing to see the superficial effects of Individualism, and the influence of this ideal only gets stronger as Western history progresses. While it may be impossible to exactly isolate or quantify the factors that created it, Individualism can be given a lot of the credit for many of the greatest achievements of the modern world, and, while things like capitalism and religious and political tolerance are far in the future from the time discussed, the very heart of this movement hearkens to the seeds planted in this time.

Perry, Marvin. 2014. Sources of the Western Tradition: Volume II: From The Renaissance To The Present. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning

Spielvogel, Jackson J. 2014. Western Civilization: Volume II: Since 1500. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning

History of Judicial Activism Through Court Opinions    
Many of the decisions of the relatively recent Warren Court, the Supreme Court under the leadership of Chief Justice Earl Warren from 1953-1969, made such an impact that they are often taken as foundational interpretations of the American Constitution in the modern mind. The Warren Court marked a culmination of the evolution of the judicial role in society, from its role as a primarily passive branch, leaving implementation to states and legislatures, to a more active and independent social force, able to implement even sweeping cultural changes. The change in the way that the courts viewed their purpose did not happen overnight, and it was by no means an inevitable conclusion. Particular opinions of the Supreme Court reveal the shifting views on the court’s role. The majority and minority opinions of Plessy v. Ferguson and majority opinion Brown v. Board of Education expose very different views on the subject of judicial activism, and thereby show how the court’s views on judicial activism have changed over the fifty-eight years between  Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education.
    The majority opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) is extremely relevant to any discussion upon judicial activism beyond simply being an arbitrary starting point. The judgment of Plessy v. Ferguson legalized idea of “Separate but Equal”, creating a legally approved method for exercising racism by forcing blacks into separate areas, institutions, and jobs. This court case marks the true ascendance of white racists over the black population in the United States of America. The majority opinion in this pivotal case for civil rights, written by Justice Henry Brown, outlines the reasoning for the justices who decreed this decision, and it also provides a window into the way that these justices, minus one dissenter, saw the purpose of the courts in regards to the culture of the day.
The majority opinion of Plessy v. Ferguson is divided into two points. The first point deals with the implications of “Separate but Equal” for the Thirteenth Amendment, which deals with slavery, and the second point deals with the implications for the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees rights and freedoms for all American citizens. The second point is more relevant to the argument at hand, and, therefore, it will bear the focus of analysis. Justice Henry very plainly illustrates his view of the intention of the Fourteenth Amendment, stating: “The object of this amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color...laws permitting their not necessarily imply the inferiority of either race...and have been generally...recognized as within the competence of the state legislatures.”(Martin Jr. 1998, 79) First, it should be noted that the Justice maintains that the decision of the court is entirely within the historical aims of the crafters of the Fourteenth Amendment, implying a stricter interpretation of the Constitution. A strict interpretation being the idea that the Constitution should be taken in a more literal fashion, and that historical precedent and intent should be central in decision making. This is important to understanding the reasoning of the decision, because it follows that the courts would be more conservative in its judgements by following this restrictive pattern. Also, we see the idea expressed that the differences mentioned are thought of as within the purview of the state legislative branch, which itself is an example of the court delegating to constitutionally defined roles.(Martin Jr. 1998, 79)
This narrow view of judicial power is a central feature, and it shows itself when Brown claims that “Legislation is powerless to eradicate racial instincts or to abolish distinctions based on physical differences.”(Martin Jr. 1998, 80) This quote illustrates the first of the three views of judicial purpose, reinforcing social norms. The opinion maintains that the law can not properly correct social issues, and the judicial activism, or lack thereof, shown in this decision is relatively limited to shunting the issues towards the state legislature, the representatives of society’s interests. This method would become more and more difficult to maintain as time went on due to the continuous litigation and legal attacks of NAACP and the changing culture of America itself.
In light of the majority opinion’s view of the judicial role, it is interesting to look at the quite different view of the sole dissenter in Plessy v. Ferguson, Justice John Harlan. First, this dissent, although aimed against a judgement that was detrimental to the black race, should not be seen as Harlan completely supporting racial equality. Harlan was undoubtedly a believer in the superiority of the white race, as evidenced by his claiming “The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. And so it is, in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth, and in power. So, I doubt not, it will continue for all time.”(Martin Jr. 1998, 84) So, it may be wondered why a man believing this way would stridently oppose the segregation of the black people. The answer is found in his view of the Constitution and the law. Harlan states that “Our Constitution is color blind”. He repeatedly emphasizes the ideals of equality and personal liberty for all. Harlan views the white race as superior, but he does not think that superiority should be used as an excuse for political and social dominance. The development of his logic illustrates that if unlawful segregation can occur to the blacks while whites are superior, it is quite possible that it would eventually expand to other people and classes if the whites fall out of a preeminent position.(Martin Jr. 1998, 83)
It is worth noting that the philosophy displayed by Harlan is not that the judiciary should deeply interfere with the matters of society. Quite the opposite. The spirit of his dissent is that the state shouldn’t even be involved in the matters of society. The purpose of the court and state “is the clear distinct, unconditional recognition by our governments, National and State, of every right that inheres in civil freedom , and of the equality before the law of all citizens of the United States without regard to race.”(Martin Jr. 1998, 85) The essential thread through Harlan’s logic is that the court should utilize its power to keep government intervention out of civil liberties. This is in direct confrontation with the view of his contemporaries of the majority opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson, who, as was mentioned above, claimed to support personal liberties, yet allowed the states to interfere in order to reinforce social norms, a paradox in his view. Likewise, Justice Harlan also calls upon the original intent of the founders, but he also calls upon more abstract and esoteric principles of liberty and freedom.
In the majority and minority opinions of Plessy v. Ferguson, emphasis is placed upon two different theories of judicial conduct. One emphasizes reinforcing cultural norms and the other seeks to guarantee civil liberties through government withdrawal. Both of these theories dueled for dominance over the judicial system until the case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954). These previous arguments each sought to address the issues of segregation and race in their own way. However, these methods could not satisfy certain pro-desegregation elements within society,  and the lack of a favorable outcome in segregation led to a build-up of pressure by these same elements. Eventually, the arguments and actions against segregation led to a crossroads for the Supreme Court. In a dramatic fashion, the Warren Court would depart from both of the previously mentioned paths and follow a new policy of jurisprudence that can only be described as activism.
Warren’s court adopted new method emphasized certain factors different from the previous two. First, there is a much looser interpretation of precedent and history. Warren states very early in the Brown opinion that reargument of the historical aims and circumstances were “not enough to resolve the problem with which we are faced. At best, they are inconclusive.”(Martin Jr. 1998, 170) The idea that precedent’s relevance to modern problems could be subject to suspicion allowed justices to interpret the Constitution in a looser matter.
Second, Warren expanded the purview of the court’s interest by making Brown v. Board of Education directly connected with as he put it, “the most important function of state and local governments”.(Martin Jr. 1998, 171) He moved the power of the Supreme Court over the states in the area of education. This can be seen as one step in expansion of federal influence in the state.  Furthermore, Warren utilized, as some of his critics would point out, the idea of psychology and sociology to a much stronger degree than any of his predecessors. Incorporating newer, perhaps less trusted, sciences also helped further the judges from the need for extensive precedent behind every decision.
The third characteristic of Warren’s philosophy was the the broad, sweeping changes that were inherent in his judgment. The striking down of Plessy radically changed the very fabric of society, it allowed for the dismantling of an entire way of life, and it allowed for the building of another. This was a power that no other court had wielded. The Warren Court would continue to make use of Judicial activism, and subsequent courts would follow their example, sometimes using activism in aims that ran contrary to the aims of the Warren Court.
In conclusion, the majority and minority opinions in Plessy and the opinion in Brown  provide a glimpse of the changes of the philosophy on the Supreme Court. Each opinion was penned with certain problems in mind. The methods that have developed and changes that occurred were not the spontaneous, independent actions of a few, but they were part of a larger sequence of events, affected by culture, politics, and international struggles. The evolution of ideology during this period was by no means an isolated event, and it developed to deal with the problems of the moment. It is worthwhile to realize that, even in the modern time, legal philosophies are suited to certain purposes and are limited by those same purposes.

Martin Jr. Waldo E. 1998. “Majority Opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson, Minority Opinion in Plessy Ferguson, Majority Opinion in Brown v. Board of Education.” in Brown v. Board of Education: A Brief History with Documents. 76-80, 81-86, 168-174. Berkeley: University of California 

Catholic and Calvinist Theology on Original Sin
Jordan Reed
History 397

The Reformation saw the division of the Christian faith into different sects. The beliefs and philosophies of these new denominations covered a wide spectrum, ranging from slight deviation with their previous dogma to a complete rejection of Catholic orthodoxy. In certain communities, the splitting and reforming of doctrine resulted in a final belief that was a combination of similarities and differences with the original Catholic faith. One example of this would be the idea of original sin in Reformed/Calvinist tradition. The Calvinist and Catholic faiths both hold to some common traditional interpretations in regards to original sin while still retaining theologically distinct differences, and this will be shown through the analysis of John Calvin’s By the Fall and Revolt of Adam the Whole Human Race Was Delivered to the Curse, and Degenerated from Its Original Condition and the Fifth Council of Trent’s Decree on Original Sin.
First, John Calvin’s work, mentioned above, outlines the Reformed view on original sin. The work itself is divided into eleven points, and these can be grouped into three topical categories. The first topic, enclosing sections 1,2, and 3, primarily deals with the necessity and problems of self-reflection on our own nature. Calvin places a strong emphasis upon self-knowledge. He claims that it is disgraceful to be ignorant of business matters, but that it is even more disgraceful to be ignorant of of self. (John Calvin, 1536) Calvin proposes that through proper self-examination, proper meaning through the lens of divine truth, man would come to grips with his own fallible and fallen nature. Realization of his own inadequacy would then drive man to seek his revitalization through God.  
The second and third topical categories, section 4-11, can be discussed as one because they are nearly sequential in focus. In the second category, Calvin explores why and how man fell from his original state of Edenic bliss, and, in the third category, he explains how this affects humanity onward. First, Calvin explains that Adam fell due to his transgressions and disobedience against God, caused by the sins of pride and infidelity. Following this event, humanity is plunged into spiritual death, original sin. This “hereditary corruption” (John Calvin, 1536) can be summarized as having four facets according to Calvin: present in humanity at birth, transmitted via descent, depraves mankind’s original form, and solely attributable to mankind’s own decisions. Each of these claims can be seen within Calvin’s document.
In section 6, Calvin illustrates the belief that original sin is innately within humanity at birth by stating “that the impurity of the parents is transmitted to their children, so that all, without exception, are originally depraved.” (John Calvin, 1536) Metaphorically, that Adam was the federal head of the human race, and due to his fall the rest of mankind has fallen as well. Likewise, he calls upon Augustine’s refutations against the Pelagians to prove his claim that the corruption is indeed transmitted from parent to child regardless of individual actions, claiming that the child is of nature, which is corrupted, and justification is by grace, which is spiritual. Furthermore, the corrupted nature works inside man to turn what was good into evil by tainting, enticing, and tempting all actions and fruits of humanity towards sin. Calvin claims that this “perversity in us never ceases, but constantly produces new fruits…that the whole man is in himself nothing else than concupiscence.” (John Calvin, 1536) Therefore, he clearly shows that humanity is utterly devoid of any type of merit deserving grace, which meshes nicely with the Calvinist views on predestination. Ultimately, the guilt for this perversion rests upon humanity, and the corruption itself justifies the actions taken by a holy God. In essence, man was created pure, but the fallen man is guilty of his violation of God’s order. Calvin heads off any argument over what-ifs or presumptuous blame-placing by routing such speculation through the mystery of predestination. In this way, Reformed theology holds the idea of an inescapable, innate, and utterly corrupting original sin as a primary tenet in it’s belief system.
At this point, it is necessary to provide the Catholic view of original sin in order to make a logical contrast/comparison. As was mentioned, there do exist a large number of similarities between the Reformed and Catholic beliefs on original sin. The decree by the Fifth Session of the Council of Trent outlines the church dogma on this issue. One similarity is the manner with which man fell. The first division of the decree deals strictly with this issue, and it reiterates much of the general church consensus on the issue. Adam transgressed against God, and he doomed humanity through his gross disobedience. Also, Calvinism and Catholicism seem to agree on the scope and propagation of the sin nature. The sin nature is passed on through descent from parent to child, and it affects the entirety of the human population minus, Catholics claim, the Virgin Mary.
Differences arise between these two faiths when the implication of these shared tenets are considered. The Catholic decree states that baptism is the vehicle for the merit of Christ, and this implicates that baptism rids the Christian of his original sin. The decree illustrates how there is an idea of free will after the expulsion the corrupted nature when it says that “this holy council perceives and confesses that in the one baptized there remains concupiscence or an inclination to sin, which, since it is left for us to wrestle with, cannot injure those who do not acquiesce but resist manfully by the grace of Jesus Christ;” (Council of Trent, 1546) This would seem to run contrary to the Reformed idea that original sin has utterly and thoroughly corrupted the individual. Indeed, the question of works and free will is central to any differentiation between the two. The idea of receiving Jesus’ merit through the sacrament of baptism would be strongly opposed by Calvinist thinkers as an attack upon the sole justification by grace through faith, and the utter worthlessness of works in the Reformed faith is anathema to the Catholic doctrine. The disagreement of original sin is a further extrapolation of the disagreement over faith-based salvation that initially divided the church. If works are required for salvation than the original sin can not be absolute, because it would take a non-corrupted free will to complete those works. For the Reformed faith, original sin must be absolute, because their faith in the predestination of their souls must not rely upon their works.
Regardless of sect, the doctrine of original sin has been a central feature in Christianity since its early inception. During the Reformation, this doctrine was questioned like every other doctrine, and, while the doctrine itself remained intact, the interpretations and implications drawn from it were affected greatly by the struggles involved in the schism. The Protestants interpreted the idea to reinforce their belief in faith based salvation and predestination, and the Catholics used original sin to further their works based theology. In either case, the development of the idea of original sin provides an insight into one facet of the developing faiths as a whole in the years following the Reformation.

Calvin, John. “By the Fall and Revolt of Adam the Whole Human Race Was Delivered to the Curse, and Degenerated from Its Original Condition”  1536

Council of Trent, Fifth Session,. “Decree Concerning Original Sin. ” 17 June 1546.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Take a look at this !

Ethan and Ashley Worked on this one some, its not exactly our genre of movie  but it looks hysterical.