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The World At The Time Of Sir Isaac Newton

2407 words - 10 pages

When most people hear the name Isaac Newton, they think of various laws of physics and the story of the apple falling from the tree; in addition, some may even think of him as the inventor of calculus. However, there was much more to Newton’s life which was in part molded by the happenings around the world. The seventeenth century was a time of great upheaval and change around the world. The tumultuousness of this era was due mostly to political and religious unrest which in effect had a great impact on the mathematics and science discoveries from the time Newton was born in 1646 until the early 1700’s.
Newton’s birth in 1646 came at the tail-end of the 30-years war which was fought in Central Europe. The war began in 1618 in Bohemia over religious differences between Protestants and Catholics; however as time passed, the war became more political and soon most countries in Europe were involved (Ellis & Esler, 1999). The war ended in 1648 by a series of treaties knows as the Pease of Westphalia with France coming out victorious gaining land from both Spain and Germany (Ellis & Esler, 1999). The tension felt between the Protestants and Catholics was mirrored in England where there was a civil war beginning in 1640 and continuing until 1659. Early in the civil war Oliver Cromwell was chosen as leader of Parliament with his staunch Puritan beliefs; he soon became a leader of the Protestant side of the war. During this time, many considered England to be almost in anarchy with groups such as the Ranters, Levellers, and Diggers battling over various religious and political beliefs (Merriman, 1996). In 1649 Charles I, who had been King of England prior to the civil war, was beheaded and England became a Commonwealth and Protectorate ruled by Oliver Cromwell (The History Place, 1998). While England was under control of Cromwell, there were many taxes imposed on citizens without approval of Parliament causing additional unrest amongst the English commoners (Merriman, 1996). The civil war ended in 1659 and England went back to a royal monarchy. Charles II was crowned King of England in 1661 and established the Church of England as the “established church” (The History Place, 1998). It was during the 1660’s that the English and the Dutch turned their focus toward trade. London became a booming port trading tobacco, calico, furs, sugar and spices some of which were from the “new world” (Merriman, 1996). The 1670’s found Parliament in England being separated into two groups similar to times before the civil war. These two groups were called the Tories and Whigs (Merriman, 1996).
During the mid-to-late seventeenth century France was also in unrest. Louis XIV ruled France from 1643-1715. However, Louis XIV was only ten when he became King; therefore, his mother ran the country with the help of Cardinal Richelieu who doubled taxes between 1630 and 1660 and crushed all protestant resistance (Merriman, 1996). As Louis XIV became...

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