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Whap Summer Reading Essay

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WHAP Summer Reading Essay

"What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature." Amy Chua describes the word tolerance in her own way. In the book Day of Empire, she states that tolerance is re recipe for the making and expansion of a Hyperpower. Tolerance is so powerful to have that once it is obtained, that the hyperpower can dominate the whole world. Religious freedom is a big part in the recipe for tolerance; just the right amount is needed. Chua also states that "this book is about the contest between ethnic purity and ethnic pluralism, each of which has its own allure and its own potency." Chua says that too much or too less of religious freedom can "sow the seeds of decline" for a hyperpower. Throughout Chua's thesis, she states that hyperpowers become more important and supreme with increased tolerance but prejudice can lead the hyperpower to destruction of itself.

The author begins explaining the first hyperpower in the ancient times, The Great Persian Empire that was founded by Cyrus. The Kings of the Achaemenid Empire ruled from 559 to 330 BCE. Cyrus created the base of the largest empires the world had ever seen by conquering the Medina Kingdom in 550 BCE and the Lydian Kingdom in 539 BCE. Cyrus worked hard to maintain his powerful kingdom by giving his citizens the right to worship any religion they wished to. His success continued when Cambyses, Cyrus's son took over the empire in 530 BCE. Cambyses continued the expansion of the kingdom by allowing religious freedom and conquering other kingdoms. The peak of success was brought by the next emperor, Darius "The Great." He expanded the empire's land all the way to India and he ruled for almost forty years. Xerxes, the next emperor began the downfall of the Achaemenid Kingdom and began intolerance in the Persian Empire. Religious persecution, cruelty to priests and burning the sacred places were some of the brutal things he carried out during his rule of the empire. In spite of this the "K.O" to the Achaemenid Empire was given by Alexander the Great. Citizens favored Alexander after experiencing the brutal rule of Xerxes. He conquered the main cities, bringing down the first form of imperial dominance in the world.

The Achaemenid Empire only witnessed a period of prosperity because of the tolerance of its emperors. Back then, emperors did not think that religious freedom was a human right. They used this for politics and the organization of the empire. The emperors realized that if they allowed religious freedom, more of the citizens would join the empire without violence and disappointment. Not only was the insight for religious freedom crucial for the empire, their view of politics also very important for the rise and stability of the kingdom. Men and women were considered as equals when offered jobs; racial segregation was also not tolerated. The Achaemenid Empire was a wealthy empire, giving gifts and vessels of gold and silver to the kingdoms they conquered. Alexander the Great took advantage of the conflicts and rebelled the citizens against their own empire. Incapable to understand the affairs of state, the citizens brought their own king down, leading to the decay of the once sturdy empire.

The next hyperpower to dominate the world were the Romans. The Romans built a formidable empire which held its power for more than two thousand years (753 BC-AD 1453). Rome was founded in 753 BC by twins, Romulus and Remus. Rather than conquering other kingdoms and causing violence and bloodshed, the Romans offered treaties that invited other kingdoms to join if they wished to. In about 20 years, the Romans quietly gained 50,000 impressive square miles of land. In the Golden age of Rome, four emperors came consecutively. Trajan, Hadrian, Pius and Aurelius controlled a strong and unified empire that allowed freedom of religion, had a great economy and good education for the citizens of the empire. By AD 212, the empire began granting citizenship to every freeborn male within the boundaries of the empire which continued helping the Romans expand their empire. Just like the Achaemenid Empire, the tolerance of Romans later led to the devastation of the Roman Empire. Increased diversity, religious persecution and segregation, began the downfall of the Roman Empire. Christianity played a big part in the fall of Rome because it was a new religion. This religion started many battles and ethnic conflicts against Rome. The Christians won many of the big battles which ended up destroying the whole Western Rome Empire in 476 AD. Even though a big part of Rome was lost, Eastern Rome lasted a thousand more years but couldn't match the great rule of the once invincible Roman Empire.

Politics played a great part in the accomplishment of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire also had one great advantage. In the Achaemenid Empire all the kings were Persian whereas in the Roman Empire, all the kings were different. This also helped the rule of the empire. This empire had set a new level for tolerance where the economy boomed. Just like



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