Long Walk To Freedom


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long walk to freedom Emperor Constantine I

The emperor Constantine has been called the most important emperor of the late antiquity. The many great events of his reign laid foundations that would affect the future of Europe and Western Civilization for centuries to come. His recognition and support of Christianity was one of the most important moments in world history. Moving the government of the Roman Empire to Constantinople and founding New Rome was one of the most significant decisions ever made by a Roman ruler. Ten emperors who reigned after Constantine took his name. This is just one more indication of his importance in history and the honor in which he was held by his people.
The one known as the emperor Constantine was born Flavius Valerius Constantinus in Naissus, a town in Serbia, on February 27 probably sometime in the 270s CE. His mother was a woman of humble background named Helena who would later become a Christian. Because of her good works, she was made a Christian saint after her death. Constantines father was a career military officer named Constantius. Constantine was married at least twice and had four sons: Crispus, Constantine II, Constantius, Constans.
Constantius, his father, was in charge of the Roman Province of Britannia. When Constantius died at York in 306 CE, Constantine, who was at his side, was immediately proclaimed emperor by the army. However, it took many years of political struggle and actual civil war before he could consolidate his power. Constantine finally became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire in 323 CE when he defeated the eastern Emperor Licinius.  
Of Constantines major accomplishments, the most important was his recognition of the Christianity. In 311 CE, he ordered the end of the persecution of Christians. On October 28, 312 CE, Constantine faced one of his greatest battles as he tried to consolidate his power. He was greatly outnumbered by the forces of Maxentius, who also wanted to be emperor. In a dream the night before the battle, Constantine saw the initials for the name of Christ as well as the cross and was told, By this sign you will conquer. The next morning, he had the initials painted on his helmet and ordered them to be painted on the shields of all his soldiers. Constantines forces won the day and he credited the Christian God with the victory. He was closer to his goal of absolute power as sole emperor of Rome was now, for all practical purposes, a Christian.
In 313 CE, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan which allowed full freedom for Christians to practice their faith. The edict made Christianity equal to the religion of the Roman Empire. The Edict of Milan also ordered the return of all church and personal property that had been taken during past persecutions of Christians. Constantine now gave imperial property to the church including the Lateran in Rome. On this site, one of the great cathedrals of Rome, St. John Lateran, still stands today.
Constantine not only recognized Christianity but made many contributions and enacted laws that helped it spread. He also became involved in Christianity. He felt that, as emperor, he had a responsibility to help and protect the faith. He also believed that all Christians should have the same beliefs. These concerns led to another of Constantines great accomplishments, the Council of Nicea in 325 CE. The Council produced a statement of Christian faith known as the Nicene Creed. The creed defined the beliefs about Jesus for all Christians. It said that Jesus was not created by God but actually was God. There were some who did not accept these beliefs about Jesus. This disagreement was the beginning of what eventually would becomde a split in Christianity between the western church and the eastern or Orthodox church.
Constantines most important political accomplishment was moving the permanent capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Byzantium. He claimed that God had told him to move the capital which he renamed in his own honor as Constantinople. He also ordered the city to be rebuilt so it would be a worthy capital for the empire. The new city, which was dedicated in May of 330 CE, provided Constantine with a better location ... more

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Baseball and American Popular

Baseball is an integral part of American pop culture. Many Americans grow up with baseball, playing it before they can even count all the bases. It is glorified, taught, and fed to us. When we play baseball, we find a respect for the game. The respect we gain from playing it has turned the game into a tradition of American culture. It has formed itself into the business of professional baseball, namely major league baseball. Professional players have become recognized all over the world. They are sought out and admired by fans. Because of their popularity, these players have written books, endorsed commercial products, and found successful and rewarding careers by playing a game. According to Wallup, author of Baseball: An Informal History, baseball has been apart of our culture since the mid to late nineteenth century(Wallup, p16). Our great grandparents, grandparents, and parents have been brought up with it and our parents teach the sport to us.

When the notion of baseball comes to mind, a feeling of nostalgia and tradition come to me. Many of my feelings and memories originate from my childhood. I remember a beautiful summer day. My dad and I arrived at the baseball stadium to watch the game. We walked up the concrete walkway inside the stadium. The concrete walls and floors made my surroundings drab and grey. Finally, we made it to entrance into the stadium. I came out of the dark tunnels into the bright sunlight. The first thing to catch my eye was the vivid rush of color. Underneath the fluffy white clouds and their deep blue canvas, I could look down and see players in vibrant red and blue uniforms warming up for the game. The well-watered grass on the field was a brighter green than any other grass I had seen. The outfield seemed to be so perfect. It appeared that each blade had been cut by hand. The edge of the infield, where the dark, watered-down dirt met the intensely green grass was a precise and well-defined contrast. We sat down and I took in my surroundings. There were men walking up and down the stairs selling various concessions. They had peanuts, beer, soda, ice cream, popcorn, and many other tempting treats. The players soon finished their warm-ups and the crowd became frenzied with excitement. The game was about to start.

Baseball has its own traditions in America and playing the national anthem is one of them. This well-practiced act of group togetherness serves two purposes. First, it pays tribute to our country, bringing our American values to the game. Secondly, it seems to hype up the game, making the cheering crowd an active part of the contest. This enthusiasm leads to cheers when their team turns a great play or to boos and catcalls due to an umpire's bad judgement.

It hard to describe why Americans likes to watch baseball. For me, it has to do with the excitement and appreciation of the game. Since I was big enough to hold a baseball, I have been playing the game. I appreciate it because I have played it and I have experienced the struggle between pitcher and batter. Neither one hates the other, but when the pitcher takes the mound, he or she wants to blast it past his opponent. Conversely, when batters step up, their personal goal is to put a hole through the pitcher when they send the ball blazing back. It's this understanding of the emotions involved that makes watching the game enjoyable to me.

It has become a tradition to go watch a game with the family. Rooted in this custom are our culture's values of family and passing the experiences from parent to child. According to A.G. Spalding, author of America's National Game, baseball "is the exponent of American Courage, Confidence, Combativeness ...Dash, ...Determination, ...Energy, ...Enthusiasm

...Spirit, ...Vim, Vigor, and Virility"(Spalding, p.4). We see the game of baseball as an activity for family to go to the local ball park to see a son, daughter, nephew, or niece play. It pleases us to see our friends or family playing the game and enjoying it. Baseball gives us reason to get our friends ... more

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