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the artic circle Heliocentrism

The impact of the Heliocentric Theory Heliocentric: Relating to the sun as a
center; appearing as if seen from the sun's center.(Webster,447) The
heliocentric theory was first introduced to the world by a Polish astronomer
named Nicolaus Copernicus. Copernicus published his views on the heliocentric
theory in his book Commentariolus, in 1514, which sparked the time period now
known as the Copernican Revolution. Heliocentrism was proven true by the
discoveries of Galileo, Kepler, and Newton; through their efforts to prove the
validity of the heliocentric theory people began to find truth in science
through experimentation rather than religion with no proof. Many scientists went
through great ordeals for their scientific beliefs, thus making the heliocentric
theory the most electrifying idea in human history. Ancient people's believed in
Gods and deities for causes to nature and the unexplained. Once the fourth
century BC rolled around, people began to see "astronomical phenomena"
as "natural compound products of simple operations repeated in
perpetuity" rather than the actions of Gods. (Morphet, p.6) Greeks did not
revere celestial bodies very strongly in their religion, despite having deities
for the Sun and Moon. (North, p.78) Different peoples beliefs varied greatly in
ancient times. Different countries progressed in thought at different speeds.
During the Renaissance, many began to "toss aside medieval preoccupations
with supernatural forces and turned to secular concerns" like fame. (Yamasaki,
p.50) With the "Age of Discovery," people began to think for
themselves and ponder truths through philosophy, science, astronomy, astrology,
etc. Philosophers' minds began to turn, the human mind was finally awake. Plato,
a famous Greek philosopher, believed stars were Gods that the creator gave life
to. This view was very influential and proved to be sort of a religion for
intellectual idealists, no longer for the populace. At the time, the thought of
heavenly bodies being divine, and stars being eternal objects in unchanging
motion were common knowledge. Thinking otherwise was considered Atheistic.
(North, p.78) Fellow famous Renaissance man, and Plato's pupil, Aristotle, was
also a very important figure. Born in Stagira in 384, Aristotle is regarded as
the most influential ancient philosopher of the sciences. Aristotle refined
Callippus' geometrical and spherical concepts, and developed the geocentric
theory, which was believed for two thousand years. (North, p.80) Aristotle
believed that the sphere is the most perfect figure because when rotated to any
diameter it occupies the same space; and that circular motions are a sign of
perfection, which is why Heaven is considered divine. The spherical nature of
the Earth and Universe according to Aristotle, is the natural movement of
Earthly matter from all places downwards, to a center, around which a sphere of
matter will build up. "Only circular motion is capable of endless
repetition without a reversal of direction, and rotary motion is prior to linear
because what is external, or at least could have always existed, is prior, or at
least potentially prior, to what is not." In Aristotle's book De Caelo (On
the Heavens), he speaks of the celestial sphere, the Earth's center being the
same shape, and dismissing the idea of the Earth rotating at the center of the
universe. He also dismisses the idea of an orbital motion of the Earth. (North,
p.81) Contradicting Aristotle, Heracleides, an astronomer, believed in the
rotation of the Earth on it's axis and is known to be the earliest astronomer to
stand by it. He was thought to have taken the first step in "Copernicanism."
It is believed in the years to follow that Copernicus was said to have mentioned
Heracleides' name in this connection. (North, p.85) Aristarchus of Samos was the
first astronomer to clearly put forth a true sun-centered theory, learned from
Archimedes. (North, p.85) "...Aristarchus' hypotheses are that the fixed
stars and the Sun are stationary, that the Earth is carried in a circular orbit
around the Sun, which lies in the middle of it's orbit, and that the spheres of
fixed stars, having the same center as the Sun, is so great in extent that the
circle on which the Earth is supposedly carried is in the same ratio to the
distance of the sphere has to its surface." (North, p.85-6) If Aristarchus
did believe in heliocentrism, he still could not prove the differences in the
Earth's motion and seasons, which explains its failure to be accepted. (North,
p.86-7) Although scientists such as Eudoxus, Callippus, and Aristotle all came
up with Earth-centered systems based by providing a center for all motions,
Ptolemy was triumphant for he was able to explain sphere sizes and achieved a
single system, which was not ... more

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Protest Literature

Over the centuries, one of the most important tools available to protesting groups was literature. Some of the most famous protest literature in the world has its roots in American history. For example, some great American authors of protest literature include Thomas Paine, Thomas Nast, John C. Calhoun, and Martin Luther King. Through eloquent, sometimes subtle means, these authors became the spokesmen for their particular protest movements.

Thomas Paine was an English-born man who seemed to stir controversy wherever he traveled. Paines forceful yet eloquent prose made him a hero for the three great causes to which he devoted his life; the American Revolution, religious reform, and the natural rights of man. At the age of 37, Paine strove for the fabled shores of America, determined to forget his past. He made the acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin, and settled in Philadelphia. There, Paine was eventually hired into the profession of editor for the Pennsylvania Magazine. He published a series of minor essays, but his first important work was an essay written for the Pennsylvania Journal in which Paine openly denounced slavery. This was Paines first foray into the world of protest literature, and it clearly whet his appetite. Paine soon became fascinated with the ongoing hostility in Anglo-American relations, and, much to the dismay of his publisher, could not seem to think of anything but. Therefore, in late 1775, Paine had begun what was to become a 50-page Pamphlet known as Common Sense. In this work, Paine stated that:

Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a Government, which we might expect in a country without Government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise (Fast 6).

This very biting and controversial stance is what characterized Paines writing. He went on to dismiss the King as a fool, and stated that natural ability is not necessarily related to heredity. Paine argued that the colonies existed only for British profit, and that the colonies must unite quickly if they were ever to form a single nation. This latter argument was more than likely influenced by Franklins famous "Join or Die" cartoon. Finally, Paine argued that the only way to gain the rights desired by the colonists and help from outside powers was to claim total independence. In Paines own words, "Until an independence is declared, the continent will feel itself like a man who continues putting off some unpleasant business...and is continually haunted with the thoughts of its necessity" (Coolidge 31).

While Paine was working on Common Sense, the war had changed theatres into New York. Paine felt it his duty to fight in the cause he wrote so valiantly for, and thus enlisted in a Pennsylvanian unit in August of 1776. After fighting at Fort Lee, New Jersey, Paines unit joined with General George Washingtons army in its retreat. Here, Paine gained a quiet respect for Washington, and began the first of thirteen papers that would become known as The American Crisis. Again, Paines eloquent prose struck the hearts of patriots and laymen alike, and earned him a large following. It is in the first of these Crisis papers that one of the most stunning lines in protest literature is written: "These are the times that try mens souls." (Coolidge 38). Paine signed the pamphlet "Common Sense", and this furthered his reputation. Washington was so impressed by this work that he ordered it read to the men to bolster morale just before the first major offensive of the war. Reinforced by the dramatic coup which Washington scored at Trenton, the first of the Crisis papers helped to inspire many thousands of men into joining the war effort.

The second Crisis paper was a great chance for Paine to launch a personal attack of George III, whom he deemed incompetent and unintelligent. His third paper was directed against the American Tories, and particularly the ... more

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