Columbus (1452 – 1506)
Christopher Columbus was an Italian Navigator, born in
Genova. He went to sea at an early age, and in 1478 he
settled in Portugal. Believing that Asia could be reached
by sailing westward, he sought financial assistance
unsuccessfully for some years, but finally secured
patronage of the King and Queen of Spain.
While Columbus set out from Spain to find a westward
route to Asia, he found America instead, thus becoming
the first historically important European discoverer of the
His three ships - the Santa Maria, the Nina, and the Pinta - departed on August 3, 1492 from
Spain; they sighted land on October 12.
In his four voyages he failed to find a passage to Asia; for this reason he was overshadowed
in his own time by Vasco da Gama who opened a sea route to India.
Karl Heinrich Marx (1818 – 1883)
Born in Trier, Germany, Marx studied law at Bonn and
Berlin, but took up history, and philosophy. He edited a
radical newspaper, and after it was suppressed he moved to
In 1848, with Engels as his closest collaborator, he wrote
the Communist Manifesto, which attacked the state as the
instrument of oppression, and religion and culture as
ideologies of the capitalist class.
In 1849 he settled in London where he studied economics.
Marx' main work "The Capital" is a critical analysis of the
Karl Marx interpreted history as a never-ending struggle
between classes which could only be resolved after a revolution would result in a dictatorship
of the working class that would abolish the class system altogether.
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His revolutionary ideas formed the foundations of communist parties all over the world.
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)
Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany. In 1880 his
father's business failed, and he moved to Munich. When
Albert was still young his family moved to Milan, Italy
and they left Einstein in Germany to finish school.
At an early age Einstein revealed an independence of mind
that was to become characteristic of his entire future life.
On a visit to Milan, Einstein announced to his father three
final decisions: he would quit school; he would abandon
the Jewish community, and he would drop his German
nationality. The school did not provide him with a proper
education, the Jewish community was to narrow minded,
and Germany was too chauvinistic. Einstein assumed that a small nation like Switzerland
would be devoid of super power ambitions and he eventually acquired Swiss citizenship.
Einstein entered the Polytechnic Academy in Zurich, Switzerland, where he earned a
doctorate in physics in the year 1905. The same year he published four research papers. Each
contained a great discovery: the theory of Brownian motion; the equivalence of mass and
energy; the photon theory of light; and the special theory of relativity. In the Special Theory
of Relativity he extended to optical phenomena the concept of relativity, while maintaining
under all circumstances the constancy of the velocity of light, from which follows that no
material body can move as fast as light.
In 1915 Einstein proposed the General Theory of Relativity as an extension of the Special
Theory. Its basis was the identification of gravity with inertia. His work provided the
theoretical expectation that vast amounts of energy could be released from the nucleus.
In 1919 a prediction of Einstein's General Relativity was verified, and in a few years it
became the basis of new cosmologies. Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in
1921. Although a committed pacifist Einstein began to warn against the dangers of fascism as
the Nazis denounced his work as Jewish science. In 1933 he left Germany and took up
residence at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, where he pursued
his research toward unifying the laws of physics.
In a humorous aside Einstein once remarked that 'if relativity is proved right the Germans
will call me a German, the Swiss call me a Swiss citizen, and the French will call me a great
scientist. If relativity is proved wrong the French will call me a Swiss, the Swiss will call me
a German, and the Germans will call me a Jew.'
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A week before he died, Einstein signed the Russell / Einstein appeal to stop all nuclear
testing, an appeal that bore fruit in the nuclear test ban treaty eight years after his death.
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 - 1543)
Copernicus is Polish Astronomer and he was regarded the
founder of modern astronomy. He was born in Torunac,
Poland. He studied mathematics and optics at Cracow,
then canon law at Bologna, before becoming canon of
Copernicus discovered the mathematically yet unproven
heliocentric solar system.
In his treatise, 'On the Revolutions of the Celestial
Spheres' he postulated that the planets, including the earth,
revolve around the sun, and that the earth revolved around
its axis once every day.
The work had a hostile reception when it was published (1543), as it challenged the ancient
teaching of the Earth as the centre of the universe. In the 1600 Galileo and Kepler began to
develop the physics that would prove Copernicus right.
Galilei Galileo (1564 – 1642)
Galileo was Italian Scientist renowned for his epochmaking
contribution to physics, astronomy, and scientific
philosophy. He is regarded as the Chief founder of modern
Galileo was born in Pisa, Italy. He studied medicine at Pisa
University, and became professor of mathematics at
Padua, where he improved the refracting telescope, with
which he found craters on the moon and the moons of
He also observed the phases of Venus which indicated that
the planets circled around the sun rather than the earth.
Galileo was condemned by the Catholic Church for his view of the cosmos based on the
theory of Copernicus. Under house arrest in Florence, he continued his research.
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Among his other discoveries were the law of uniformly accelerated motion towards the Earth,
the parabolic path of projectiles, and the law that all bodies have weight.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519)
Leonardo was one of the greatest artists of the Italian
Renaissance and the greatest experimental scientist of his
age. Leonardo was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician
and art critic who displayed genius in almost all the arts
He was born in Vinci, Italy. About 1470 he entered the
studio of Andrea del Verrocchio, and in 1482 settled in
Milan, where he painted his 'Last Supper'.
In 1500 he entered the service of Cesare Borgia in Florence as an architect and engineer, and
with Michelangelo decorated the Sala del Consiglio in the Palazzo della Signoria with
historical compositions. Soon after he completed his most celebrated painting, 'Mona Lisa'.
His studies of anatomy and mechanical devices show that he had knowledge far beyond his
own time. His notebooks contain original remarks on most of the sciences, including biology,
physiology, hydrodynamics, and aeronautics.
Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939)
Freud - the founder of psychoanalysis - provided the first
systematic explanation of the inner forces that determine human
behavior and he changed the way we think about ourselves.
Freud was born in Freiburg, Moravia (now in the Czech
Republic). He studied medicine at Vienna, and then specialized
He allowed his patients to express their thoughts in a state of
relaxed consciousness, and interpreting the data of childhood and
dream recollections. He argued that dreams are disguised
manifestations of repressed sexual wishes, and in his major work
'The Interpretation of Dreams' he emphasized the importance of
sex in human behavior.
In 1902, Freud was appointed to a professorship in Vienna, but later in the 1930's Hitler
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banned psychoanalysis, and after the Nazi invasion of Austria, Freud had to emigrate to
London, where he died.
Pasteur Louis (1822-1895)
Pasteur was French Chemist and he was considered as one
of the greatest medical discoveries of all time when he
proved that micro-organism cause fermentation and
disease. He showed that microbes can be killed by
chemical and physical means and that the spread of
disease can be controlled.
Pasteur originated pasteurization, sterilization, and
antisepsis which led to the development of vaccines that
saved millions of lives and almost doubled the average
lifespan of man.
Thomas Alva Edison (1847 – 1931)
Thomas Alva Edison was American Inventor and he first
learned how to operate a telegraph while selling
newspapers as a young boy at railroad stations.
In New York City in 1869, as a supervisor in a stock-ticker
firm, he made improvements on the stock-ticker. Later he
opened his own laboratory in Newark, N.J., where he
made important improvements in telegraphy and on the
typewriter, and invented the carbon transmitter that made
Alexander Bell's telephone practical.
In 1876 he moved his laboratory to Menlo Park, N.J.,
where he invented the first phonograph and the prototype
of the incandescent electric light bulb.
Being interested in systems for distributing electric power from central generating stations he
formed his own company which later merged with another company to become General
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By the time he died he had accumulated an impressive list of 1093 patents (motion picture
inventions; electricity applications; light bulb; electric typewriter development; Dictaphone;
mimeograph; etc), but Thomas Edison's most important contribution was that he organized
systematic research on a very large scale with hundreds of people working together.
Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)
Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United
States. Jefferson was born in Albermarle County, Virginia.
As a delegate to the Second Continental Congress (1775-
77), Jefferson was the principal drafter of the Declaration
of Independence. He held that all men were created equal,
and he cherished liberty in every form. He was also largely
responsible for the guarantees of freedom of speech, press
and religion in the Constitution.
Jefferson spent four years in France as an ambassador and
in 1789 George Washington appointed him secretary of
state. In that position he became head of the liberal
'Democratic - Republican' faction and worked against the
conservative Federalist policies of Hamilton, Madison, and
In 1796 Jefferson was elected vice-president and four years later president. During his first
term he initiated the Louisiana Purchase (which more than doubled the size of the US). His
second term was marred by Vice-president Burr's trial for treason and Jefferson's highly
unpopular embargo on trade with England and France.
In 1809 he retired to his estate at Monticello which he had designed earlier. He also designed
the campus for the University of Virginia and the Virginia state capitol.
Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945)
Hitler was the leader of the National Socialist German Worker's Party (Nazi). Historically
he may be called the most destructive man of the 20th century and his reckless war policy
contributed greatly to the decline of Europe as the center of world affairs.
In 1933, in the midst of the depression, Hitler's Nazi party won the most seats in the
Reichstag (parliament). Shortly after the election the Nazis set the Reichstag building on fire
and blamed it on the communists. The communists were expelled from parliament, and the
remaining deputies granted Hitler dictatorial powers.
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Hitler immediately eliminated his political opponents and began
rearmament. Hitler had long argued that the future of the German
race could only be assured by colonizing large territories in the
East and settling them with Germans.
The expansion of German territory began in 1938 when Hitler's
army marched first into Austria, and then into Czechoslovakia.
The invasion of Poland in 1939 triggered the Second World War,
a war that lasted for almost five years and cost the lives of nearly
fifty million people.
In addition to that, Hitler's intense racism led to the infamous
holocaust - exterminating millions of innocent peoples. In April
1945, when the war was lost for Germany, Hitler committed
suicide in his bunker in Berlin.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)
Gandhi was the leader of the Indian nationalist movement
against British rule. Remarkably, in the midst of our most
violent century, he prevailed in battle without guns and
His title Mahatma (Great Soul) connotes his spiritual
reputation. The Mahatma used his religious power for
social reforms and the abolition of the caste system.
Gandhi was born in India but studied law in London, and
in 1893 went to South Africa, where he spent 20 years opposing discriminatory legislation
In 1914 he returned to India, where he supported the Home Rule movement and where he
organized nonviolent civil disobedience campaigns as a means to gain Indian independence.
In 1930 he led a 200 miles march to the sea to collect salt in defiance of the government
monopoly. In 1931 he attended the London Round Table Conference on Indian constitutional
After independence (1947), he tried to stop the Hindu--Muslim conflict in Bengal, a policy
which led to his assassination in Delhi by a Hindu fanatic.
John Locke (1632 – 1704)
Locke was born in Wrington, Somerset, SW England. John Locke
was an English Philosopher. He studied at Oxford, and in 1667 he
became am adviser to Lord Ashley, later first Earl of Shaftesbury.
He retired to France, but after Shaftesbury's death in 1683 he fled
to Holland, returning to England in 1689, where he became
commissioner of appeals until 1704.
Locke's philosophical and political theories widely influenced the
thinkers of his day, and are still considered important.
To secure the personal liberties of the citizens Locke provided the
theoretical justification for the separations of the powers of the
state into legislative and executive branches. He expressed most ideas of the American
Revolution almost one hundred years ahead of that time.
His major philosphical work is 'Essay Concerning Human Understanding', he accepted the
possibility of rational demonstration of moral principles and the existence of God, but he
insisted that all beliefs depend for their justification ultimately upon experience - a doctrine
that was the real starting point of British Empiricism.
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 – 1564)
Michelangelo Buonarroti was an Italian Sculptor. He was the most
famous artist of the Italian Renaissance, and one of the greatest sculptors
of all time who was able to create life from a cold stone.
Michelangelo was born in Caprese, Italy. As a boy he was placed in the
care of a stonemason at Settignano, and in 1488 spent three years in
Florence. He received the patronage of Lorenzo de Medici, and after his
death (1492), spent three years in Bologna. After four years in Rome he
returned to Florence.
Michelangelo was a visionary painter, and a supreme sculptor, his most famous piece the
marble 'David' in Florence.
In 1503 Pope Julius II summoned him back to Rome, where he was commissioned to design
the pope's tomb; but interruptions and bickerings left him able to complete only a fragment.
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Instead, he was ordered to decorate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with paintings (1508-12).
His last pictorial achievement was 'The Last Judgement'. As an old man, Michelangelo
concentrated on the plans for Saint Peter's Church in Rome. (Many great domes in the world
were copied from his plans)
Adam Smith (1723 – 1790)
Adam Smith was a Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of
political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish
Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral
Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the
Wealth of Nations. The latter, usually abbreviated as The Wealth
of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern
work of economics. Adam Smith is widely cited as the father of
Smith studied moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow
and Oxford University. After graduating he delivered a
successful series of public lectures at Edinburgh, leading him to
collaborate with David Hume during the Scottish Enlightenment.
Smith obtained a professorship at Glasgow teaching moral philosophy, and during this time
wrote and published The Theory of Moral Sentiments. In his later life he took a tutoring
position which allowed him to travel throughout Europe where he met other intellectual
leaders of his day. Smith returned home and spent the next ten years writing The Wealth of
Nations (mainly from his lecture notes) which was published in 1776. He died in 1790.
George Washington (1732 – 1799)
US President Washington has been called the father of the
United States. Rather than becoming a king he initiated a
peaceful transfer of power on the end of his second term as
Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, USA. Having studied
military science on his own, Washington began several years'
service (1753-58) with the Virginia militiary in the French and
Indian Wars. He resigned his commission in 1758, following his
election to the Virginia House of Burgesses.
In 1774 he participated in the First Continental Congress and
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took command of the Virginia militia; next year the Second Congress made him commander
in chief of the Continental army.
Washington led the American forces skillfully through the Revolution. His victory over the
British at Yorktown (1781) effectively ended the war.
He returned home in 1783, but later chaired the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention. In
1789, the first electors unanimously voted Washington as president.
During his two terms (1789 - 1797) Washington had some difficulties in controlling the
growing factionalism between the more conservative forces of Hamilton's Federalist Party
and Jefferson's liberal Democratic - Republican Party.
In 1796 he announced he would not run again and retired from office the next year.
GENGHIS KHAN (1162 – 1227)
Genghis Khan was the leader of a destitute clan who prevailed in an
inter-clan feud. He overcame all rivals and by 1206 was
acknowledged as Genghis Khan (Universal Ruler) of all Mongolian
people. He became one of the most supreme military leaders in the
world. He subjected China, devastated Khwarezm (Uzbekistan) and
became the creator of the Mongol nation and founder of one of the
vastest empires in world history which stretched from Northern
China to the Black Sea.
The success of the Mongol armies was the result of superior strategy,
a highly mobile cavalry, endurance, discipline and a co-ordinated
manner of fighting. They succeeded in the only successful winter
invasion of Russia when the Mongol army moved with great speed
on the frozen rivers - transforming an obstacle into a speedway to surprise the enemy.
The Mongols were not a numerous people, but from the outset Genghis Khan augmented his
armies from Turkish tribes until the Turks in the Mongol armies outnumbered the native
Monogols. Thus the Turkish language advanced across Asia with the Mongol armies. To
communicate across their empire the Mongols established a transcontinental mail service
creating thus a crucial bridge between East and West.
After the death of Genghis Khan the Empire was divided between his four sons: Jagatai,
Tului and Ugudei. Each received 'ulus' (military levies), a 'jurt' (grazing area) and 'ingus' (a
share in the tribute). Karakorum became the permanent capital.
The Great Khan Ugudei completed the subjugation of Northern China.
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Batu Khan (grandson of Ghenghis Khan) conquered the west with Subutai who invaded
Poland and Hungary. Batu established the Golden Horde over much of Russia. Europe was
only saved because of the sudden retreat of the Mongols, caused by death of the great Khan
Hulagu Khan conquered Persia and established the rule of the Il-Khans. Kublai Khan
(another grandson of Ghenghis) conquered all of China.
Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)
President Lincoln fought a war to hold the Union together.
Without him two hostile nations would have emerged sharing the
Born in a log cabin to a modest farm family near Hodgenville,
Kentucky. Lincoln studied law on his own and in 1837 begun a
law practice in Springfield, the capital of Illinois. He briefly
served first in the Illinois state legislature and then in the U.S.
House of Representatives.
In 1858 Lincoln run for the U.S. Senate against Stephen A.
Douglas, who led the Democratic accommodation to slave
interests. The historic debates between the two men secured
Lincoln a national following, which led to his becoming the presidential nominee of the new
anti-slavery Republican Party in 1860.
Shortly after his election as the 16th President of the U.S. the Southern States seceded and
Civil War erupted. Under his leadership the Northern States prevailed and the American
Union was preserved.
This success was achieved because Lincoln proved to be a leader with extraordinary political
skill. He was at first defining the war as being fought over secession rather than slavery. Later
when the time was right, Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, thereby
interpreting the war as a crusade against slavery.
Finally, with his immortal Gettysburg Address, Lincoln further defined the war as the
struggle for preservation of the democratic idea, which he called 'government of the people,
by the people, for the people.'
Having seen the victory of the Union forces in April 1865, Lincoln sought to heal the wounds
of war but was assassinated a few days after victory.
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Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Saint Thomas Aquinas was a Catholic Priest in the Dominican
Order and one of the most important Medieval philosophers
and theologians. He was immensely influenced by
scholasticism and Aristotle and known for his synthesis of the
two aforementioned traditions. Although he wrote many
works of philosophy and theology throughout his life, his
most influential work is the Summa Theologica which
consists of three parts.
a. The Summa Part I: God
The greatest work of Thomas was the Summa, and it is the
fullest presentation of his views. He worked on it from the
time of Clement IV (after 1265) until the end of his life.
When he died he had reached question ninety of part III, on the subject of penance. What was
lacking was afterward added from the fourth book of his commentary on the "Sentences" of
Peter Lombard as a supplementum, which is not found in manuscripts of the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries. The Summa consists of three parts. Part I treats of God, who is the "first
cause, himself uncaused" (primum movens immobile) and as such existent only in act (actu),
that is pure actuality without potentiality and, therefore, without corporeality. His essence is
actus purus et perfectus. This follows from the fivefold proof for the existence of God;
namely, there must be a first mover himself unmoved, a first cause in the chain of causes, an
absolutely necessary being, an absolutely perfect being, and a rational designer. In this
connection the thoughts of the unity, infinity, unchangeableness, and goodness of the highest
being are deduced. The spiritual being of God is further defined as thinking and willing. His
knowledge is absolutely perfect since he knows himself and all things as appointed by him.
Since every knowing being strives after the thing known as end, will is implied in knowing.
Inasmuch as God knows himself as the perfect good, he wills himself as end. But in that
everything is willed by God, everything is brought by the divine will to himself in the relation
of means to end. Therein God wills good to every being which exists, that is he loves it; and,
therefore, love is the fundamental relation of God to the world. If the divine love be thought
of simply as act of will, it exists for every creature in like measure: but if the good assured by
love to the individual be thought of, it exists for different beings in various degrees. In so far
as the loving God gives to every being what it needs in relation practical reason, affording the
idea of the moral law of nature, so important in medieval ethics.
b. The Summa Part II: Ethics
The first part of the Summa is summed up in the thought that God governs the world as the
universal first cause. God sways the intellect in that he gives the power to know aid impresses
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the species intelligibiles on the mind; and he ways the will in that he holds the good before it
as aim, and creates the virtus volendi. To will is nothing else than a certain inclination toward
the object of the volition which is the universal good. God works all in all, but so that things
also themselves exert their proper efficiency. Here the Areopagitic ideas of the graduated
effects of created things play their part in Thomas's thought. The second part of the Summa
(consisting of two parts, namely, prima secundae and secundae, secunda) follows this
complex of ideas. Its theme is man's striving after the highest end, which is the blessedness of
the visio beata. Here Thomas develops his system of ethics, which has its root in Aristotle. In
a chain of acts of will man strives for the highest end. They are free acts in so far as man has
in himself the knowledge of their end and therein the principle of action. In that the will wills
the end, it wills also the appropriate means, chooses freely and completes the consensus.
Whether the act be good or evil depends on the end. The "human reason" pronounces
judgment concerning the character of the end, it is, therefore, the law for action. Human acts,
however, are meritorious in so far as they promote the purpose of God and his honor. By
repeating a good action man acquires a moral habit or a quality which enables him to do the
good gladly and easily. This is true, however, only of the intellectual and moral virtues,
which Thomas treats after the mariner of Aristotle; the theological virtues are imparted by
God to man as a "disposition" from which the acts here proceed, but while they strengthen,
they do not form it. The "disposition" of evil is the opposite alternative. An act becomes evil
through deviation from the reason and the divine moral law. Therefore, sin involves two
factors: its substance or matter is lust; in form, however, it is deviation from the divine law.
Sin has its origin in the will, which decides, against the reason, for a changeable good. Since,
however, the will also moves the other powers of man, sin has its seat in these too. By
choosing such a lower good as end, the will is misled by self-love, so that this works as cause
in every sin. God is not the cause of sin, since, on the contrary, he draws all things to himself.
But from another side God is the cause of all things, so he is efficacious also in sin as *-ctio
but not as ens. The devil is not directly the cause of sin, but he incites by working on the
imagination and the sensuous impulse of man, as men or things may also do. Sin is original.
Adam's first sin passes upon himself and all the succeeding race; because he is the head of the
human race and "by virtue of procreation human nature is transmitted and along with nature
its infection." The powers of generation are, therefore, designated especially as "infected."
In every work of God both justice and mercy are united, and his justice always presupposes
his mercy since he owes no one anything and gives more bountifully than is due. As God
rules in the world, the "plan of the order of things" preexists in him; i.e., his providence and
the exercise of it in his government are what condition as cause everything which comes to
pass in the world. Hence follows predestination: from eternity, some are destined to eternal
life; while others "he permits some to fall short of that end." Reprobation, however, is more
than mere foreknowledge; it is the "will of permitting anyone to fall into sin and incur the
penalty of condemnation for sin." The effect of predestination is grace. Since God is the first
cause of everything, he is the cause of even the free acts of men through predestination.
Determinism is deeply grounded in the system of Thomas; things with their source of
becoming in God are ordered from eternity as means for the realization of his end in himself.
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On moral grounds Thomas advocates freedom energetically; but, with his premises, he can
have in mind only the psychological form of self-motivation. Nothing in the world is
accidental or free, although it may appear so in reference to the proximate cause. From this
point of view miracles become necessary in themselves and are to be considered merely as
inexplicable to man. From the point of view of the first cause all is unchangeable; although
from the limited point of view of the secondary cause miracles may be spoken of. In his
doctrine of the Trinity, Thomas starts from the Augustinian system. Since God has only the
functions of thinking and willing, only two processiones can be asserted from the Father.
However, these establish definite relations of the persons of the Trinity to each other. The
relations must be conceived as real and not as merely ideal; for, as with creatures relations
arise through certain accidents, since in God there is no accident but all is substance, it
follows that "the relation really existing in God is the same as the essence according to the
thing." From another side, however, the relations as real must be really distinguished one
from another. Therefore, three persons are to be affirmed in God. Man stands opposite to
God; he consists of soul and body. The "intellectual soul" consists of intellect and will.
Furthermore the soul is the absolutely indivisible form of man; it is immaterial substance, but
not one and the same in all men (as the Averrhoists assumed). The soul's power of knowing
has two sides; a passive (the intellectus possibilis) and an active (the intellectus agens). It is
the capacity to form concepts and to abstract the mind's images (species) from the objects
perceived by sense. However, since the abstractions of the intellect from individual things is a
universal, the mind knows the universal primarily and directly, and knows the singular only
indirectly by virtue of a certain reflection. As certain principles are immanent in the mind for
its speculative activity, so also a "special disposition of works," or the synderesis (rudiment
of conscience), is inborn in the scholastics. Held to creationism, they therefore taught that the
souls are created by God. Two things according to Thomas constituted man's righteousness in
paradise-the justitia originalis or the harmony of all man's powers before they were blighted
by desire, and the possession of the gratia gratum faciens (the continuous indwelling power
of good). Both are lost through original sin, which in form is the "loss of original
righteousness." The consequence of this loss is the disorder and maiming of man's nature,
which shows itself in "ignorance, malice, moral weakness, and especially in concupiscentia,
which is the material principle of original sin." The course of thought here is as follows:
when the first man transgressed the order of his nature appointed by nature and grace, he, and
with him the human race, lost this order. This negative state is the essence of original sin.
From it follow an impairment and perversion of human nature in which thenceforth lower
aims rule contrary to nature and release the lower element in man. Since sin is contrary to the
divine order, it is guilt, and subject to punishment. Guilt and punishment correspond to each
other; and since the "apostasy from the invariable good which is infinite," fulfilled by man, is
unending, it merits everlasting punishment.
c. The Summa Part III: Christ
The way which leads to God is Christ: and Christ is the theme of part III. It can not be
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asserted that the incarnation was absolutely necessary, "since God in his omnipotent power
could have repaired human nature in many other ways": but it was the most suitable way both
for the purpose of instruction and of satisfaction. The unio between the logos and the human
nature is a "relation" between the divine and the human nature which comes about by both
natures being brought together in the one person of the logos. An incarnation can be spoken
of only in the sense that the human nature began to be in the eternal hypostasis of the divine
nature. So Christ is unum since his human nature lacks the hypostasis. The person of the
logos, accordingly, has assumed the impersonal human nature, and in such way that the
assumption of the soul became the means for the assumption of the body. This union with the
human soul is the gratia unionis which leads to the impartation of the gratia habitualis from
the logos to the human nature. Thereby all human potentialities are made perfect in Jesus.
Besides the perfections given by the vision of God, which Jesus enjoyed from the beginning,
he receives all others by the gratia habitualis. In so far, however, as it is the limited human
nature which receives these perfections, they are finite. This holds both of the knowledge and
the will of Christ. The logos impresses the species intelligibiles of all created things on the
soul, but the intellectus agens transforms them gradually into the impressions of sense. On
another side, the soul of Christ works miracles only as instrument of the logos, since
omnipotence in no way appertains to this human soul in itself. Furthermore, Christ's human
nature partook of imperfections, on the one side to make his true humanity evident, on
another side because he would bear the general consequences of sin for humanity. Christ
experienced suffering, but blessedness reigned in his soul, which, however, did not extend to
his body. Concerning redemption, Thomas teaches that Christ is to be regarded as redeemer
after his human nature but in such way that the human nature produces divine effects as organ
of divinity. The one side of the work of redemption consists herein, that Christ as head of
humanity imparts perfection and virtue to his members. He is the teacher and example of
humanity; his whole life and suffering as well as his work after he is exalted serve this end.
This is the first course of thought. Then follows a second complex of thoughts which has the
idea of satisfaction as its center. To be sure, God as the highest being could forgive sins
without satisfaction; but because his justice and mercy could be best revealed through
satisfaction he chose this way. As little, however, as satisfaction is necessary in itself, so little
does it offer an equivalent, in a correct sense, for guilt; it is rather a "super-abundant
satisfaction," since on account of the divine subject in Christ in a certain sense his suffering
and activity are infinite. With this thought the strict logical deduction of Anselm's theory is
given up. Christ's suffering bore personal character in that it proceeded out of love and
obedience. It was an offering brought to God, which as personal act had the character of
merit. Thereby Christ "merited" salvation for men. As Christ still influences men, so does he
still work in their behalf continually in heaven through the intercession (interpellatio). In this
way Christ as head of humanity effects the forgiveness of their sins, their reconciliation with
God, their immunity from punishment, deliverance from the devil, and the opening of
heaven's gate. But inasmuch as all these benefits are already offered through the inner
operation of the love of Christ, Thomas has combined the theories of Anselm and Abelard by
joining the one to the other.
A Desire to Make Instruments
James Watt was born in 1736 in Greenock, Scotland. James
was a thin, weak child who suffered from migraines and
toothaches. He enjoyed mathematics in Grammar School,
and also learned carpentry from his father. His father was a
carpenter by training, and built anything from furniture to
ships, but primarily worked in shipbuilding. Watt learned
about the navigational aids on ships: quadrants, compasses,
telescopes. By his midteens he knew he wanted to become
an instrument maker. Watt's father had just lost a substantial
investment due to a shipwreck, and he could see the benefits
of another occupation, so was supportive of Watt's
ambitions. Unfortunately, there were no opportunities for instrument training in Greenock.
In 1754 Watt went to Glasgow, Scotland and became acquainted with Robert Dick through a
relative who worked at the University of Glasgow. Robert Dick, a University scientist, was
impressed with Watt's basic skills at instrument making, but recognized the need for special
training. Dick encouraged Watt to go to London for training. Watt spent two weeks in
London looking for an apprenticeship opportunity. However the instrument makers protected
their trade by rules of a body known as the Worshipful Company of Clock-makers. The only
employment was for fully-trained instrument makers or trainees serving seven-year
John Morgan, an instrument maker in the heart of London, did not always follow the rules,
and agreed to take Watt as an apprentice on the conditions of little pay! Morgan recognized
the capabilities of Watt, and agreed to shorten the apprenticeship to a period of one year.
Watt took the offer in 1755. Within two months, Watt's abilities surpassed those of Morgan's
official apprentice, who had been there two years. Watt was eager to cram several years of
training into one, and worked 10 hour days in the cold workshop. After hours, he worked for
a small amount of cash, and his father sent him a little, but he maintained long hours on little
food, and his health declined. During this time, Britain was at war with France, and the
military would force into service any able-bodied man. Watt avoided the streets for this
reason, which may have affected his health further. Watt finished his apprenticeship year
successfully, but his health collapsed almost immediately afterwards.
Watt returned to Glasgow in 1756, now a trained instrument maker. His University of
Glasgow acquaintances learned of his return, and gave him some work. Watt set up his shop,
but found that other instrument makers shunned his credentials and training. He was an
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outsider in Glasgow, after being trained in London. The University professors recognized his
abilities, and did not need to abide by the traditions of the instrument makers. They arranged
for permission to set up a shop for Watt on University grounds and created the position
"Mathematical Instrument Maker to the University".
Even with the new position, Watt still had trouble finding enough work since the other
instrument makers were somewhat hostile. He started making musical instruments to avoid
competition. His musical instruments were improvements over existing models and business
began to grow. In 1758, an architect gave him backing to open a new shop in the heart of
Glasgow. His business and reputation grew steadily and by 1763 he had apprentices of his
own, but he was not out of debt.
The job that changed history
Watt always had work from the University scientists, so he maintained through the years his
shop on the University property. Professor John Anderson was the older brother of a
Grammar School companion, Andrew. One day in 1763, Professor John Anderson brought
Watt a new problem. The University had a lab-scale model of the Newcomen pump to
investigate why the full-scale pumps required so much steam. The model suffered a problem.
It would stall after a few strokes. Watt recognized that the flaw was due to an undersized
boiler that couldn't provide enough steam to reheat the cylinder after a few strokes.
During troubleshooting of the lab-scale model, Watt discovered the main reason the full-sized
engines consumed such vast quantities of steam. However, implementation of the solution did
not come easily. The Newcomen pumps required such vast quantities of steam since they
were cooled during every stroke, then reheated. Watt needed a way to condense the steam
without cooling the cylinder. Watt turned over the problem in his head for months and
performed many experiments. He learned much about steam properties, and independently
discovered latent heat of vaporization in his experiments. He also tabulated the vapor
pressure of water at various temperatures before the work of Clapeyron. One of his
University friends was Professor Black, who had discovered latent heat previously and had
been lecturing on it without Watt's knowledge. They shared many interesting conversations
after Watt told Professor Black of his "discovery". The concept for the breakthrough to
improve the Newcomen engine came in May of 1765, over two years after Watt began to
study the engine. Watt later described the moment of inspiration:
"I had gone to take a walk on a fine Sabbath afternoon, early in 1765. I had entered the green
by the gate at the foot of Charlotte Street and had passed the old washing-house. I was
thinking upon the engine at the time, and had gone as far as the herd's house, when the idea
came into my mind that as steam was an elastic body it would rush into a vacuum, and if a
communication were made between the cylinder and an exhausted vessel it would rush into
it, and might be there condensed without cooling the cylinder. I then saw that I must get rid of
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the condensed steam and injection-water if I used a jet as in Newcomen's engine. Two ways
of doing this occurred to me. First, the water might be run off by a descending pipe, if an
offlet could be got at the depth of thirty-five or thirty-six feet, and any air might be extracted
by a small pump. The second was to make the pump large enough to extract both water and
air. I had not walked farther than the golf-house when the whole thing was arranged in my
With a separate condenser, the condensation process could take place constantly and the
steam cylinder could be pulled to a vacuum while remaining hot. The vapor would rush into
Watt would not work on the Sunday, as was the custom of the day. He controlled his
impatience, but first thing Monday morning he was in his shop. He crafted a makeshift piston
and condenser using a brass syringe. He filled the syringe with steam. He pumped the air out
of his makeshift condenser, and cooled it. It worked!
Watt was 29 in 1765 when he discovered his idea would work. Yet it would be 11 years
before he saw his invention in practice! He was modest, goodhearted, and shy. He once wrote
to his business partner, Boulton, many years later, "I would rather face a loaded cannon than
settle a disputed account or make a bargain." He also understood the significance of his
development. "I can think of nothing but this engine", he said.
The Roebuck one of the scientist did a thing that helped Watt. He indirectly introduced Watt
to Matthew Boulton of Birmingham, England. This last introduction was the one that helped
the invention create the steam engine revolution -- but the revolution didn't come easily or
Boulton recognized that the engine had potential applications for much more than pumping
water! Boulton was an industrialist with an extraordinary vision to have all craftsmen work in
a common building -- a "manufactory" (later shorted to "factory"). Previously, craftsmen had
all maintained individual shops. Further, Boulton had the desire to furnish the manufactory
with the best equipment and finest craftsmen. Boulton was certain that he could sell the
Unfortunately, Boulton could not work out a deal with Roebuck who had majority control of
the patent. Disheartened and in need of cash himself, Watt left the instrument making
business in 1771, and took up surveying. In March 1773, Roebuck was in desperate need of
cash. Boulton acquired Roebuck's rights to the engine in 1773, four years after the engine was
patented, and nine years after Watt first discovered the separate condenser. Boulton was
convinced the problems could be solved.
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A Perfect Partnership
Boulton and Watt's personalities complemented each other and they got along well. Boulton's
assembly of accomplished craftsmen provided the much-needed expertise that Watt had
lacked in his collaboration with Roebuck. As soon as Watt finished his obligations for
surveying, he moved to Birmingham to join Boulton's shop. Watt maintained work on the
engine as well as other tasks.
Success at Last
In March 1776 the Bentley Mining Company started their newest piece of equipment, a
Boulton-Watt engine. The Bentley Mining Company had taken a substantial risk by
abandoning a half-built Newcomen engine and replacing it with the Boulton-Watt engine.
The day the engine started a newspaper reporter was present:
"From the first Moment of its setting to Work, it made about 14 to 15 Strokes per Minute,
and emptied the Engine Pit (which is about 90 Feet deep and stood 57 Feet high in Water) in
less than an hour". From "Aris's Birmingham Gazette, March 11, 1776.
(Technical note: water can be drawn by suction less than 33 feet, so the pumps were placed
within that distance of the bottom.)
This Bentley Mining Company engine used a cylinder crafted by the best ironmaster in
Britain, John Wilkinson, who had recently developed a technique for boring cylinders
(cannons) and had adopted the technique to the steam cylinder of the Boulton-Watt engine.
The valves, piping, and fittings were manufactured at the Soho Manufactory - a factory 2
miles from Birmingham partnered by Boulton and Watt. The new engine used 1/4 of the
steam that the Newcomen engines had required! (See Watt Engine)
The new Boulton-Watt engine was a great success. Watt became very busy maintaining
business at Cornwall mines and setting up new pumps for the mines in the Cornwall region.
More than Pumps
Boulton recognized the potential of the device for doing much more than pumping water. He
also recognized the limited market for the device to drive pumps. In June 1781 he wrote to
"The people in London, Manchester and Birmingham are steam mill mad. I don't mean to
hurry you, but I think in the course of a month or two, we should determine to take out a
patent for certain methods of producing rotative motion…There is no other Cornwall to be
found, and the most likely line for the consumption of our engines is the application of them
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to mills which is certainly an extensive field" (Sproule, Ann James Watt, Exley Publications,
Herts, UK, 1992)
Watt answered this call, too. At age 45, Watt developed his next great invention -- a method
to convert reciprocating motion of the piston to rotating motion. The invention was the sun
and planet gear system. This invention was better than a crankshaft which was already
patented (an idea Watt said was stolen from him). The sun and planet gear system permitted
the rotative wheel to turn more than once per stroke of the piston! Since the piston moved
slowly, this was an major improvement! An engine patented in 1782 by Boulton and Watt
had another major improvement -- the steam cylinder used valves above and below the piston
to connect independently to the boiler or the condenser; the piston performed work on both
the upward and downward stroke! This evened out the stroking of the piston, performing
equal work on each movement. Watt had another great improvement on this engine. He had
devised a mechanism to match the rocking motion of the beam (which traces an arc) with the
linear motion of the piston. This was known as the "parallel motion" device, and was
necessary to enable the piston to push the beam on the upward stroke; the chains used in the
previous single-acting engines didn't transfer work on the upward stroke. He once told his son
that this was the invention of which he was most proud.(See Double-acting Engine)
In 1782 a sawmill ordered an engine that was to replace 12 horses. Watt used data from a
sawmill to determine that a horse could lift 33,000 pounds the distance of one foot in one
minute -- and thus developed the units of hp.
Other major contributions developed by Watt include the steam throttling valve and the
mechanism to connect the throttle to the engine governor. Used together, these devices
regulated steam flow into the piston and kept a constant engine speed.
By 1800, 84 British cotton mills used Boulton and Watt engines. So did wool mills and flour
mills! In his later years, Watt enjoyed the success and fame he deserved.
Today, it is appropriate to recognize Watt's contributions when we used the British (and
American Engineering) units for power, hp, and the SI units for power, the Watt.
Author's note: I have found minor variations in the wording of quotes attributed to Watt by
the various biographers, but for all the citations given here, the meaning is identical. The
wording given here was provided by one of the biographers.
Dates in the history of steam engines and James Watt
1698 Thomas Savery patent
1712 Thomas Newcomen patent
1736 Watt born
1755 Watt trained in London
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1763 Watt discovers problem with Newcomen engine
1765 Watt discovers external condenser
1769 Roebuck and Watt patent the engine
1774 Boulton acquires Roebuck's patent rights. Watt moves to Birmingham
1776 The first Boulton and Watt engine is commercially applied
1782 Patents for sun and planet gears, and the double-acting engine
1800 Engine patent runs out. Watt retires at 64, healthy, happy, and famous
1819 James Watt dies, at the age of 83
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
Born in Salzburg, Austria, Mozart was a child prodigy
and made his first professional tour (as a pianist) through
Europe when he was six. After some years in Salzburg as
Konzertmeister to the archbishop, he resigned and settled
in Vienna where he was appointed court composer to
emperor Joseph II in 1787.
Mozart was a Austrian prolific composer writing
masterpieces in every branch of music, including his
operas 'The Marriage of Figaro', 'Don Giovanni', 'The
Abduction from the Harem', 'Cosi fan tutte' and 'The
His mastery of instrumental and vocal forms, from symphony to concerto and opera, was
unrivalled in his own time and perhaps in any other. In writing the Requiem Mass
commissioned for Count Walsegg, he felt he was writing his own requiem; he died before it
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821)
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on 15th August 1769 in Corsica into a gentry family. Educated
at military school, he was rapidly promoted and in 1796, was made commander of the French
army in Italy, where he forced Austria and its allies to make peace. In 1798, Napoleon
conquered Ottoman-ruled Egypt in an attempt to strike at British trade routes with India. He
was stranded when his fleet was destroyed by the British at the Battle of the Nile.
France now faced a new coalition - Austria and Russia had allied with Britain. Napoleon
returned to Paris where the government was in crisis. In a coup d'etat in November 1799,
Napoleon became first consul. In 1802, he was made consul for life and two years later,
emperor. He oversaw the centralisation of government, the creation of the Bank of France,
the reinstatement of Roman Catholicism as the state religion and law reform with the Code
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In 1800, he defeated the Austrians at Marengo. He then negotiated
a general European peace which established French power on the
continent. In 1803 Britain resumed war with France, later joined by
Russia and Austria. Britain inflicted a naval defeat on the French at
Trafalgar (1805) so Napoleon abandoned plans to invade England
and turned on the Austro-Russian forces, defeating them at
Austerlitz later the same year. He gained much new territory,
including annexation of Prussian lands which ostensibly gave him
control of Europe. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved,
Holland and Westphalia created, and over the next 5 years,
Napoleon's relatives and loyalists were installed as leaders (in
Holland, Westphalia, Italy, Naples, Spain and Sweden).
In 1810, he had his childless marriage to Josephine de Beauharnais
annulled and married the daughter of the Austrian emperor in the
hope of having an heir. A son, Napoleon, was born a year later.
The Peninsular War began in 1808. Costly French defeats over the next five years drained
French military resources. Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 resulted in a disastrous
retreat. The tide started to turn in favour of the allies and in March 1814, Paris fell. Napoleon
went into exile on the Mediterranean island of Elba. In March 1815 he escaped and marched
on the French capital. The Battle of Waterloo ended his brief reign. The British imprisoned
him on the remote Atlantic island of St. Helena where he died on 5th May 1821.
J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
Johann Sebastian Bach was born at Eisenach, Thuringia, in a
musical family. He held many posts of distinction in Weimar
and Coethen where he composed some of his best-known
works, such as the Brandenburg Concertos. In 1723 Bach
moved to Leipzig to become musical director of St. Thomas'
In Leipzig he composed most of his greatest works including
the St. John Passion, the St. Matthew Passion, and the Bminor
Mass. There he also completed 'The Well-Tempered
Clavier' a collection of 48 preludes and fugues. A fugue is a
composition in which a given theme is systematically treated
with melodic imitation and other devices of counterpoint (the
superimposition of different melodic lines).
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He also wrote organ music; chamber music; orchestral concertos; and nearly 300 religious
choral works called cantatas.
Bach's timeless religious orchestral compositions are of unique purity, and today he is
considered one of the greatest Baroque masters along with Handel, but the people of Bach's
time considered his compositions too elaborate.
It was not until 100 years later that the world recognized Bach as one of its greatest
Henry Ford (1863-1947)
Henry Ford, the son of farmer, was born in Greenfield, Michigan on
30th July, 1863. He left school at 15 to work on his father's farm but in
1879 he moved to Detroit where he became an apprentice in a machine
shop. To help him survive on his low wages he spent his evenings
repairing clocks and watches.
Ford returned to Greenfield after his father gave him 40 acres to start
his own farm. He disliked farming and spent much of the time trying
to build a steam road carriage and a farm locomotive. Unable to settle
at Greenfield, Ford returned to Detroit to work as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating
During this period Ford read an article in the World of Science about how the German
engineer, Nicholas Otto, had built a internal combustion engine. Ford now spent his spare
time trying to build a petrol-driven motor car. His first car, finished in 1896, was built in a
little brick shed in his garden. Driven by a two-cylinder, four-cycle motor, it was mounted on
bicycle wheels. Named the Thin Lizzie, the car had no reverse gear or brakes.
By August, 1899, Ford had raised enough money to start his own company. His first group of
investors withdrew after Ford had spent $86,000 without producing a car that could be sold.
Eventually he produced a car that appeared at the Grosse Pointe Blue Ribbon track at Detroit.
In June, 1903, he found twelve more people willing to invest a total of $28,000 in another
motor company. Ford now began production of the Model A car. The car sold well and the
company flourished and by 1907 the profits reached $1,100,000. In 1909 Ford took the
decision to manufacture only one type of car, the Model T.
Initially it took 14 hours to assemble a Model T car. By improving his mass production
methods, Ford reduced this to 1 hour 33 minutes. This lowered the overall cost of each car
and enabled Ford to undercut the price of other cars on the market. Between 1908 and 1916
the selling price of the Model T fell from $1,000 to $360.
On the outbreak of the First World War in Europe, Ford soon made it clear he opposed the
war and supported the decision of the Woman's Peace Party to organize a peace conference in
Holland. After the conference Ford was contacted by America's three leading anti-war
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campaigners, Jane Addams, Oswald Garrison Villard, and Paul Kellogg. They suggested that
Ford should sponsor an international conference in Stockholm to discuss ways that the
conflict could be brought to an end.
Ford came up with the idea of sending a boat of pacifists to Europe to see if they could
negotiate an agreement that would end the war. He chartered the ship Oskar II, and it sailed
from Hoboken, New Jersey on 4th December, 1915. The Ford Peace Ship reached Stockholm
in January, 1916, and a conference was organized with representatives from Denmark,
Holland, Norway, Sweden and the United States. However, unable to persuade
representatives from the warring nations to take part, the conference was unable to negotiate
After the war, Ford became increasingly interested in politics. He joined the Democratic
Party and in 1918 was narrowly defeated when he failed to win a seat in the U.S. Senate.
In the 1920s the Ford Motor Company continued to grow rapidly. In 1925 Ford was
producing 10,000 cars every 24 hours. This was 60 per cent of America's total output of cars.
However, his decision not to bring out new models allowed other companies to challenge his
dominance. By 1927 Ford had sold over 15,000,000 Model T cars. However, sales were on
the decline and the General Motors's Chevrolet was the best-selling car.
In the 1930s Ford opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. He refused to recognize
the United Automobile Workers Union and used armed police to deal with industrial unrest.
Ford had a stroke in 1938 but returned to run the company after his son, Edsel Ford, died in
1943. Although initially an opponent of the USA becoming involved in the Second World
War, after Pearl Harbour, Ford turned over his vast production resources to his country. For
example, the Ford plant at Willow Run produced over 8,000 Liberator bombers during the
war. Henry Ford died on 7th April, 1947.