Who was Saint Nicholas and Celebrating Saint Nicholas in the Czech Republic
Person in History – Saint Patrick
Patrick was born in fourth century Roman Britain (c. 390-461) to a loving family of wealth. His parents were most likely successful merchants and administrators of Rome. On February 27, 380, Roman Emperor Theodosius issued the Edict of Thessalonica and declared the official religion in the empire to be the Catholic Church. Patrick was brought up in this faith. He had a privileged childhood as the son of wealthy Roman leaders, but suffered great hardships for a number of years. Patrick brought Christianity to the Irish and changed the course of history. At the beginning of the medieval ages, many in Europe clung to the pagan religions of the past. Ireland, the island to the west of Britain, was a land where Christianity was unknown. Celts in Ireland followed a belief called Druidism. They believed in many gods, and Druid priests had many practices that we would call barbaric. Druids sacrificed humans to keep their gods happy. As a sixteen year-old, Patrick’s easy life of comfort and prestige changed forever. Some reports state Patrick had snuck out of his parents’ home and took part in an all-night pagan ritual. With dawn breaking, a small band of Irish pirates raided Britain and captured Patrick. He was taken to Ireland and sold into slavery, completely separated from his loving parents. Patrick wrote later that he had left the faith of his family, and for this he was being punished. For six years, Patrick worked as a common slave in Ireland. At any instant, he could be killed, mutilated, or beaten by his owner. He was far from his home and far from any help his Christian friends could provide. Instead of becoming desperate and sad, though, Patrick spent his time in prayer and reflection. Working as a shepherd for six years, he grew to love the Irish land and people, and yearned to one day teach them the Christian belief. He united his sufferings as a slave to the sufferings of his savior, Christ, and his love for his captors grew. According to Patrick’s writings, he heard the Heavenly Father speak to him and tell him to escape from slavery and to walk to the coast. A boat would be waiting for him. As a slave, if he were recognized, he would have been put to death! Patrick did as he was told, and there was a boat waiting for him. The captain agreed to take him back to Britain. Patrick’s parents were so excited to see him, but they were also disappointed to hear what he wanted to do. He wanted to become a priest and return to the people who enslaved him in Ireland. His parents wanted him to get married, become wealthy and important, and raise a family. If he returned to Ireland, wouldn’t he be killed by his former slave owner for escaping? How could he have a family if he became a priest? Patience is a virtue Patrick practiced. He went to Gaul (France), studied to become a priest, and waited for his calling to go back to Ireland and spread Christianity. At the age of 49, after about 25 years of waiting, he finally received the order to go to Ireland as a bishop to evangelize. He returned, went to his former slave owner, and spoke about Christ. Amazingly, within Bishop Patrick’s lifetime, Ireland became a Christian country! And, since this time Irish missionaries have travelled throughout the world spreading the news of Jesus and his Church. There are many legends attributed to Patrick in Ireland. For example, some say he chased all the snakes out of Ireland, or that he used a three-leaf clover to explain the Trinity. But, what is not legend is that within his lifetime, Ireland changed from a land of slavery, human sacrifice, and paganism, to a Christian land, where the slave trade came to a halt, and where murder and tribal warfare decreased. Along with bringing Christianity to the Irish, Patrick established monasteries that some say saved Western civilization. In the Middle Ages, a monastery was a place where men lived and worshipped, served as doctors and nurses, fed the poor, took care of orphans, and copied important documents. It was the only place of learning in the first centuries after the Roman Empire fell. As Roman law and order gave way to chaos, Irish monks kept working, copying classic texts of the west, and spreading Christianity. For centuries after Patrick died, Irish monks spread both the Christian faith and the classics. It is for this that some historians claim that St. Patrick saved Western Civilization. To read the actual writings of Saint Patrick: http://www.archive.org/details/writingsofsaintp00patr Lesson Ideas for Ages 3-11: 1. Look up Ireland on a map. Sketch your own drawing of Ireland and Britain and the rest of continental Europe, or, find a map outline. Color in Ireland green. Ireland is known for being green because it rains so much in Ireland. “Irish weather” means that it is misty and wet outside. This weblink has an excellent outline map of Ireland: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://0.tqn.com/d/geography/1/0/1/L/europe.jpg&imgrefurl=http://geography.about.com/library/blank/blxeurope.htm&h=561&w=807&sz=64&tbnid=3N8DrCBfvYFDrM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=129&prev=/search%3Fq%3Doutline%2Bmap%2Bof%2BEurope%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=outline+map+of+Europe&docid=JhUUGtUtO8jd6M&sa=X&ei=ZCZeT6yWDKauiAKU2qjRCw&ved=0CC8Q9QEwAA&dur=1357 2. Writing Ideas for Ages 12 and older (and for high achieving younger kids!) a. Take the biography of St. Patrick and try to write one sentence that summarizes each paragraph. b. Answer this question in a one-paragraph essay, “Was Patrick’s decision to become a priest and return to Ireland crazy, or was it courageous?”
Saint Father Junipero Serra
Who Was Saint Father Junipero Serra? During Pope Francis’ visit to the United States of America last week, he canonized Father Junipero Serra. This means that he proclaimed Father Serra a saint. For most Americans, this brings up many questions. What is a saint? Who was Father Serra? Why is there a controversy surrounding Father Serra? What does Father Serra have to do with American history? To understand American history it is necessary to understand Father Serra. A Quick History of Sainthood In Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, someone who lives in Christ and is believed in Heaven is considered a saint. But those believed worthy of greater honor or emulation are proclaimed a saint. This practice began immediately after the crucifixion of Christ. In the first centuries, early Christian spread the word of Christ by speaking to others. The Roman Empire persecuted Christians, martyring many. A martyr is someone who died for his faith. Early Christians began referring to those martyred as saints. For example, all early Christians referred to the Apostles as saints, such as Saint Peter, who Christians believe to have been crucified upside down. The first person to have been officially declared a saint was in 993, when Pope John XV proclaimed Bishop Ulrich of Augsburg a saint, along with Polish martyrs. In 1234, the Catholic Church adopted a formal canonization process. Who Was Father Serra? Last week, Father Serra became the United States’ first Hispanic saint. He lived in 18th century Spain and became a priest. Father Serra joined the Franciscans, a medieval religious order, and promised a life of poverty. For many years, Father Serra’s life consisted of prayer, singing, physical labor, spiritual readings and instruction. Serra became a professor, and was known for being a great teacher. Giving up a comfortable life at the university, Serra volunteered to go to the new land to establish missions in California. Father Serra established the first nine of 21 missions in California, which stretch from San Diego to Sonoma. Serra Christianized thousands of Indians, and the Spanish taught them how to farm, raise livestock, make soap, weave clothes, and how to survive in the new Spanish economy. Until about thirty years ago, no one questioned the accomplishments of Father Serra. Some think Serra’s accomplishments were actually tragedies for the native peoples of California and that Serra should not be honored. Serra and the Spanish carried diseases the Indians did not have, and because of the Europeans, historians think 90% of the Indians died. Some even claim this is proof of genocide. Also, once the Indians joined a mission, they were never allowed to leave. The missionaries used the military to force Indians to stay. Some argue that the Indians were physically punished for not following the rules, but, Spanish were also physically punished for the same reasons. There are many reasons these arguments against Serra are not strong. One, the Spanish did not know they carried diseases that would hurt the Indians. The word genocide means when a country as a policy tries to murder a people. There was no Spanish policy of genocide. Also, no Indian was forced to convert to Christianity and become part of the mission, and, there is no evidence Serra ever hurt an Indian. In Europe in the 1700s, serfs were not allowed to leave the land they worked on. The Spanish mentality of the 1700s was the same as every European in the medieval ages. Because of this, any Indian who ran away from the mission, was forced back by the Spanish soldiers. This was not a policy of Father Serra, but it was Spanish law. American History and Father Serra Father Serra is important for the history of California and also for the United States of America. During the American Revolution, a group of untrained farmers fought and beat the strongest army and navy in the world. Their military leader was George Washington, and he led the Continental Army in beating the British and establishing the United States of America. In 1777, Father Serra had all of the California missions collect money and he sent $137 to General Washington. Every state chooses two people from their state to honor by placing their statue in the U.S. Capitol. Since, Father Serra’s statue is one of two from California that are located at the U.S. Capitol (the other is Ronald Reagan). He has been traditionally recognized as one of California’s most important citizens. On his visit to America, Pope Francis visited this statue and said of Serra, “tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected.” He said that relations between European and natives “were often turbulent and violent,” but “it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present.” Questions
Who was Father Serra?
What did Pope Francis do regarding Father Serra las week?
What is the controversy surrounding Father Serra based on?
How is Father Serra tied to California and American history?
What is your opinion of Father Serra? Was he a great man? Was he an oppressor of Indians?
Adam Smith (1723-1790)is often called the father of modern economics and capitalism. Born in Scotland,he was raised by his mother after his father died when he was two months old. One of his works, The Wealth of Nations (1776), is considered the first and perhaps best book on a system of economy, called capitalism. Smith believed that free individuals make the best decisions for themselves and they ultimately create the best society for all. As a boy, Smith studied Latin, mathematics, history, and writing at the Burgh School of Kirkcaldy in Scotland. At theage of 14, he studied moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow and cultivated a passion for liberty, reason, and free speech. He went on to study at Oxford University. It is said he appreciated his education at Oxford the least, because he wrote that the Oxford professors were guaranteed their salaries, and did not have to ever worry how their students thought of their work. Adam Smith was a professor of rhetoric, logic, and moral philosophy in various institutions, including the University of Edinburgh, Glasgow University, and as a private tutor. He was able to travel throughout Europe and meet with some of the most well-known thinkers of the Enlightenment. His studies, conversations, and life convinced him that free people, with the rights of owning private property, could make the best decisions for their own lives. A governmental power could not better organize a person’s financial life than the individual. Smith believed that the labor of people was a true measure of a country’s wealth, not its amassing of precious metals. Before and during Smith’s lifetime, the main economic system of the early 1600s and 1700s was mercantilism. Mercantilism was the system where the kingcontrolled all of the economic activity of his kingdom. The king tried to gain as much gold and silver for himself as he could, and his ministers would then organize the state and determine the financial decisions for everyone in society. The main idea was that the smartest in the kingdom (the king’s helpers) could best see what everybody needed, and they would make the best decisions for everyone else. Adam Smith is very famous for writing about “the invisible hand.” It was his way of explaining how individual choices in economics best help a society. In The Wealth of Nations, he writes, “As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other eases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good…. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.” Adam Smith believed that every person, when choosing freely how to make his living, will make decisions that affect himself and his family the best. In the end, hundreds of thousands of people, or millions of people, making free choices many times every day, will bring about a more just society, than if a king and his experts would be making decisions for others. Smith died at the age of 67. Never marrying, he spent the latter years of his life in quiet but vigorous study and writing. Considering all of the people his ideas have affected, as the “Father of Capitalism,” he can justifiably take his place of honor in history as a man who positively influenced people throughout the centuries, especially the Americans who adopted capitalism as their main economic way of life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Lesson Suggestion for kids ages 6-12: This summer, after asking your parent’s permission, create a lemonade stand in your neighborhood. Keep track of your costs, and see if you can make a profit (profit is what you make minus your costs). Think about what will attract the most clients to your lemonade stand. Will it matter how the stand looks? Will you sell more lemonade with a smile, or with a frown? Will you sell more lemonade using low quality or high quality lemonade? Lesson Suggestion for ages 13-18: Find a speech from one of the previous Presidential candidates about the economy. Try to figure out if the candidate would like or disagree with the ideas of Adam Smith. Have a discussion with your family, sharing with them your findings, citing Adam Smith’s writings and the Presidential candidate’s speech. Further Suggestions: Take the following quotes and paraphrase them. Share with your parent if you agree or disagree with Adam Smith. Adam Smith How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it. [The Theory of Moral Sentiments] What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience? The theory that can absorb the greatest number of facts, and persist in doing so, generation after generation, through all changes of opinion and detail, is the one that must rule all observation. This is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts. Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this - no dog exchanges bones with another. The robot is going to lose. Not by much. But when the final score is tallied, flesh and blood is going to beat the damn monster. Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition. Resentment seems to have been given us by nature for a defense, and for a defense only! It is the safeguard of justice and the security of innocence.
Who was Saint Nicholas and Celebrating Saint Nicholas in the Czech Republic It is late evening, somewhere in Central Europe, and three seemingly incongruent beings are roaming the cities, villages, and mountain towns of this small Slavic land. One is dressed as a bishop from the fourth century, complete with white robe, white beard and mustache, a shepherd’s staff, and mitre (bishop’s hat). Another is wearing horns, dark make-up, black clothes, anda red cape. He is jangling a long and heavy chain and has a black bag he keeps opening up in a threatening manner towards children. The third is an angel, wearing a white robe and wings. The “bishop” and “angel” are smiling gently. The bishop is carrying a bag of goodies to hand out to good kids, while the “devil” is laughing wickedly, jangling his chains, and looking for kids to put in his bag. As the three visit homes and churches, children are brought to them. The bishop asks the children and parents if they had behaved well the previous year. Before the children can answer, the devil cackles loudly, menacingly jangles his chain, and says, “I know you’ve been a naughty child. You will come with me in my bag and I will take care of you forever.” At this moment, the child comes forth and sings a song, or recites a poem. Little “Jan” assures the bishop and devil that he has been a very good boy. The devil grimaces in pain, and says, “I thought for sure I would get this one.” The angel says, “I knew he was a good boy this year.” Little Jan sighs in relief, receives either a piece of fruit or candy, and the older kids and the parents laugh. Every year, on the evening of December 5th in the Czech Republic, this play is acted out by thousands of bishops, angels, and devils and millions of families. The bishop, angel, and devil and parents are partners in teaching the children to be good in a way that reminds them of the ramifications of their behavior on Earth. December 6th is the day set aside in the Roman Catholic Church to remember Saint Nicholas (SvatyMikulas in Czech). Saint Nicholas was a fourth century bishop who lived on the Mediterranean Sea in the Roman Empire, in present-day Turkey. During Bishop Nicholas’ lifetime, stories abounded of his generosity and of miraculous events associated with him. One story is how a poor family that was considering to sell their daughters into slavery received golden apples by a mysterious person they believed to be Nicholas. Another story is how Nicholas appeared to distressed sailors on the ocean and calmed the seas. Bishop Nicholas was known by all to be incredibly generous to children.(In America, we call him “Santa Claus.”) In the ninth century, Greek missionaries Cyril and Method converted the Slavic peoples to Christianity and created the various Slavic alphabets. Stories of Saint Nicholas’ generosity spread throughout the Slavic lands and throughout the Christian world. Sometime in the Medieval Ages, the tradition of the benevolent bishop and malevolent devil visiting families began. Originally, children were questioned on their knowledge of the Bible. Today, though, the kids get to escape the devil’s snares by reciting a poem or singing a song. Nearly all Czech families participate in this tradition, which often takes place in the middle of St. Nicholas parties. Similar festivities on the eve or day of St. Nicholas take place throughout Europe and in some parts of the United States.In many places, it has become a secular holiday, including the Czech Republic. Since the Communist rule of this land from 1948-1989, most Czechs are professed atheists. However, they all still partake in the SvatyMikulasfestitivies, and it appears the children are strongly influenced by Bishop Nicholas, the angel and the devil to be good kids for at least one more year. Questions: 1. What day are the Czechs celebrating on December 6th? 2. Why are they celebrating this person? 3. During which years did the Communists control Czechoslovakia? 4. Name one effect Communist rule most likely had on Czechs? 5. What do Americans call Saint Nicholas?
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) was an explorer, cartographer (map maker), and adventurer from the Republic of Genoa (today it is part of northern Italy). In 1492, he led an expedition from Spain and discovered the islands of the West Indies. He died believing he had found a westerly route to Asia, but in reality he had opened up the continents of North America and South America for European discovery and colonization. Fifty years ago, Americans viewed Columbus as a hero, and schoolchildren across the country had the day off from school. Today, Columbus is honored by students in only a few states, and in many parts of our country he is viewed with great dislike.Columbus Day is celebrated in some places of the United States on the second Monday of October, sometimes falling on the day he discovered America, October 12th, 1492. In the 1400s, Western Europeans rapidly modernized, experienced a social mobility never before imaginable, developed high forms of art, and used technology in new ways.The Renaissance that had started in Italian city-states had spread north, and throughout Europe there was a sense that the world was waiting to be explored, discovered, conquered and civilized by those who were brave and eager enough.The Renaissance was a time where European artists and intellectuals rediscovered the beauty of the ancient Greek and Roman artists and intellectuals.City-states in Italy grew wealthy from trade with the East through the Mediterranean Sea, and countries in Western Europe wanted to be able to go directly to the East by the ocean, without having to go through the Mediterranean Sea and dealing with middle men.In 1492, the Spanish finally succeeded in liberating Spain from the African Muslims who had controlled them for over 700 years! After this 700 year war, Spain was filled with unbound confidence and believed it was a chosen country to explore, Christianize, and conquer the world. Ocean travel is challenging, but the European mindset, Spanish confidence, new technology, and vision of Christopher Columbus made such a huge journey possible.Christopher Columbus grew up in the Republic of Genoa.His dream as an adult was to sale west from Europe and go straight to Asia, where he could open up new trade routes with China. Nobody, of course, knew that in between Asia and Europe were the Americas.Nearly all sailors knew that the Earth was round, however, no sailor knew how far the journey from Europe to the next continent was, and there was fear of starving on ship if Asia was not reached.The Asian invention of the astrolabe, an instrument that made travelling at night and away from shore possible, helped sailors like Columbus have greater confidence to sail far away. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, fresh from their victory over the Muslims in 1492, agreed to allow Columbus to use Spanish ships and men to go on his quest. Columbus set out in three ships: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.His goals were to find a new trade route to Asia, to find gold and bring it back to Spain, to claim new land for Spain, and to spread Catholic Christianity throughout the world.After approximately 30 days, Columbus found the new land, however, as we know, it was not Asia, it was an island in the Bahamas.Columbus believed he had found India and called the natives “Indians.” Columbus made four different journeys to the Bahamas, established Spanish forts, was completely unsuccessful in finding any gold, and was arrested by the Spanish for being an incompetent and tyrannical governor of the new lands.Columbus’ men were so intent on finding gold that they mistreated many of the Indians they came into contact with.There are historical accounts of torture and murder by some of Columbus’ men.Columbus was either unable, or unwilling to stop them.The group of Indians Columbus first encountered, the Tainos, were extinct 50 years later.Most Indians who came into contact with the Spanish and other Europeans died from diseases, such as small pox.The natives did not have these diseases, and had no immunity built up against them. The Spanish King and Queen eventually arrested Columbus, had him brought him back in chains, tried him for incompetence and for the cruel treatment some of his men perpetrated against the Indians, and jailed him.In six weeks, the King released him. Columbus’ legacy in the new world is mixed.He discovered America and opened up new lands for the rest of the world.Before Columbus, Indians in the Americas worshipped many gods, many practiced torture and polygamy, and some practiced cannibalism as a way of life.Europeans who came and eventually settled the Americas brought monotheism, ended polygamy, and brought literacy to the Indians.Eventually, the United States of America was founded, as was all other modern nations of North and South America.Columbus’ discovery of America was the beginning of the founding of these modern nations.Columbus has also been the focus of those who argue that the European conquest of the Americas was an immoral act against the Indians.European disease, such as small pox, is believed to have killed up to 90% of the Indian population.And, the superior strength of Europeans meant that it was easier to destroy the Indian culture. Before the 1960s, American students and historians focused on the positive elements of Columbus’ discovery of America, and all America celebrated him.In 1971, Columbus Day became a federal holiday.After this, however, certain states began to take away the celebration of Columbus.In California, for example, students do not celebrate Columbus Day, and a public school teacher may hear his colleagues berate Christopher Columbus.In New York, however, Columbus is heralded as a hero, and New York City has a huge Columbus Day Parade that involves over 35,000 people every year. Unfortunately, over time, many American students do not even know anything about Christopher Columbus. Was Columbus a hero or not?That is a great question to ponder on Columbus Day, which is a federal holiday in the United States of America on October 14th, but is celebrated on the second Monday of October. In many states where Columbus Day is not celebrated, students have stopped learning about him altogether. Lesson Suggestions: For Kids Ages 4-11: Below are three activities for this age group 1.Have kids memorize this poem: IN 1492 In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He had three ships and left from Spain; He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain. He sailed by night; he sailed by day; He used the stars to find his way. A compass also helped him know How to find the way to go. Ninety sailors were on board; Some men worked while others snored. Then the workers went to sleep; And others watched the ocean deep. Day after day they looked for land; They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand. October 12 their dream came true, You never saw a happier crew! “Indians! Indians!” Columbus cried; His heart was filled with joyful pride. But “India” the land was not; It was the Bahamas, and it was hot. The Arakawa natives were very nice; They gave the sailors food and spice. Columbus sailed on to find some gold To bring back home, as he’d been told. He made the trip again and again, Trading gold to bring to Spain. The first American? No, not quite. But Columbus was brave, and he was bright. 2. Sing the Following Song Columbus Day Song (sung to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell") In 1492, In 1492, Columbus sailed across the sea, In 1492. 33 days he sailed, 33 days he sailed, Columbus sailed across the sea, 33 days he sailed. He came to a new land, He came to a new land, Columbus sailed across the sea, And came to a new land. Exploring he did go, Exploring he did go, Columbus sailed across the sea, Exploring he did go. He sailed back home to Spain, He sailed back home to Spain, Columbus sailed across the sea, Then sailed back home to Spain. 3. Read Out Loud and Memorize This Poem The Three Ships The Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria. Three little ships from Spain, Sailed over the seas, under skies so blue, Sailed on through the wind and rain. So brave was the captain, So gallant his rew, Their faith remained steadfast, Till their goal came in view. The Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria, Three little ships from Spain, Inspired the later pioneers Who settled on hill and plain, So great was their labor, Their courage so true, That our mighty nation From their striving grew! Lillian W. Allard For Students Ages 12-18: The following website has lesson ideas and links to primary source documents from Columbus.If you plan to spend any time on Columbus, students should read his own words. http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/what-was-columbus-thinking#sect-extending Have a discussion or write a short essay: Was Columbus a hero or not?
40th Anniversary of the Death of Mao Zedong Next month marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Mao Zedong. Mao lived from 1893-1976 and is the founding father of the People’s Republic of China. From the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 until Mao’s death in 1976, he ruled as the country’s autocrat, or dictator. Mao established communism in China, and is responsible for the murder of 48 – 78 million Chinese. Historians think that Mao is the greatest mass murderer in the history of the world, in terms of number of people killed. As China is the most populous country on Earth, and as Communists are against the ideals of the United States of America, it is important to understand the history of Mao. Mao grew up in one of the wealthiest families in rural China, was an avid reader, and was interested in politics. When Mao was a young man, Chinese rebels fought the emperor and attempted to change the government of China. China had been ruled by an emperor for centuries, and the rebels wanted to establish a republic. Mao joined the rebel army as a soldier. The leader of the rebels was SunYat-sen. Sun Yat-sen established the Republic of China in 1912. Unfortunately, the Republic of China had many problems and didn’t resemble the United States Republic. Mao Zedong spent the next few years studying philosophers and history and forming his political philosophy. Mao thought he was smarter than others, and that because of this hebelieved he didn’t have to follow a moral code. He thought that if his actions produced what he thought was good, it didn’t matter if his actions were bad. His father didn’t respect Mao’s intellectual pursuits and stopped paying for Mao’s schooling. After graduation, Mao moved to Beijing to work and continue studying under a professor he respected and became active in politics. Mao worked in the university library, and increasingly became interested in the ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marx and Engels had written about communism. According to Communists, everyone should be the same amount of money, receive everything they need, and everyone should serve the state over their family. Communists hated religion, because religious people love God over the state. In 1917, the Communist Party took over in Russia, and Mao started to imagine the same thing happening in China. The Communists in Russia believed that they could do anything they wanted, even murder people, in order to get what they wanted. Russian Communists outlawed religion and murdered tens of millions of people. Mao Zedong became the leader of the Communist Party of China until his death in 1976. From the 1920s until about 1949, the Communists fought various groups in China for control. On October 1, 1949, Mao founded the People’s Republic of China. Throughout this time, Mao attempted to force China to become the country he imagined. The Communist Chinese outlawed religion, private property, freedom of speech, the right to vote, and other liberties. In order to change China into what he wanted, Mao was in involved in the murder of 48 million to 78 million Chinese. We are not exactly sure of the number he killed because of problems involved in record-keeping. During the Korean War (1950-1953), the Communist North Korea fought the free South Korea, a republic. The United States of America supported the south and China supported the North. At times, Americans were fighting Chinese in Korea. Mao Zedong attempted to establish Communism throughout Korea. In 1953, the war ended with North Korea remaining Communist, and South Korea remaining a free republic. Today, American soldiers still guard South Korea from invasion by North Korea. Today, over 1.357 billion people are Chinese, and China is still officially a Communist country. In 2016, Chinese enjoy more liberties than when Mao ruled. There are also not the mass murders that existed under Mao. Still, Communist Party in China has control over all elements of life, Chinese do not get to vote for their leaders, and they are not able to speak or write against the government. Next month marks the 40th year anniversary of the death of one of the most influential persons of the 20th century. Great Discussion Questions to Ask Your Kids
Who was Mao Zedong?
Why does the author of the article think it is important to know the history of Mao?
How many people is Mao Zedong responsible for murdering?
What do Communists believe?
Why did Mao think it was alright for him to murder so many people?