In Europe, warlords, Popes, and clan leaders continued to struggle for power. Emperor deposed Pope and vice versa in a see-saw of politcal struggle.
Economic conditions were atrocious, with the papacy and the nobility competing over the land and labor of the serfs. Many mercenary warriors were without employment. Pope Urban II adopted the ruse of sending the masses to fight against the heathen Moslems to regain the Holy Land for Christians. The first and second crusades ultimately ended in defeat and the third crusade resulted in the Moslems capturing Richard Plantagenet. Richard, named the Lion Heart for his heroic bravery, remained in prison for a year before returning to England.
The crusades decimated the common people and left Europe in a destitute state. But the Popes and the ruling families had retained control thereby.
If we review world history from the standpoint of military invasions and the establishment of empires, we realize that humankind has been at peace for only a small amount of time. Each empire that arose was finally overcome by another.
Civilization Its Dates Universal Empire Final Invasions Their Dates Mesopotamian 6000 B.C.--300 B.C. Assyrian
Persian --725-333 B.C.
Greeks 335 B.C--300 B.C. Egyptian 5500 B-C.-300 B.C. Egyptian Greeks 334 B.C.-300 B.C. Cretan 3500 B.C.-1150 B.C. Minoan-Mycenaean Dorian
1200 B.C.- 1000 B.C. Indic 3500 B.C- 1700 B.C. Harappa? Aryans 1800 B.C.- 1600 B.C. Canaanite 2200 B.C-1OO B.C. Punic Romans 264 B.C-146 B.C. Sinic 2000 B.C.-A.D. 400 Chin
Ural-Altaic A.D. 200-500 Hittite 1800-- 1150 A.D. Hittite Indo-European 1200 B.C.-A.D. 1000 Classical 1150 B.C.-A.D. 500 Roman Germanic A.D- 350-600 Andean 1500 B.C.-.A.D. 1600 Inca Europeans 1534 A.D. Mayan 1000 B.C.-A.D. 1550 Aztec Europeans 1519 A.D. Hindu 1800 B.C.-A.D. 1900 Mogul Europeans 1500 B.C.-1900 A.D. Chinese 400-1930 A.D. Manchu Europeans 1790-1930 A.D. Japanese 850 B.C.-? Tokugawa Europeans 1853-1945 A.D. Islamic 500 B.C.-? Ottoman Europeans 1750-1945 A.D. Orthodox 350 B.C.-1991 Soviet United States 1946-1991 A.D. Western 350 B.C.-? United States future? ?
This chart is adapted from Quigley. Tragedy and Hope
The chart above, from Carrol Quigley's excellent history, Tragedy and Hope, points out that Western civilization has overrun and destroyed a vast number of world empires.
From 1500 to 1800 A.D., Europe continued to be a hotbed of warfare and intrigue, with the political map changing constantly. Meanwhile America had been discovered in 1492. In eighteenth century Europe, a short hiatus between internecine struggles for dominance allowed a new movement to develop called the Enlightenment. The study of the Perennial Tradition by eighteenth century Enlightenment thinkers--especially the American philosophers such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe, made it possible for them to create an entirely new nation and establish its foundations on the fundamental civil liberties set forth in the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
Isaac Kramnick (Editor). (1995). The Portable Enlightenment Reader, Introduction
"Enlightenment liberalism set the individual free politically, intellectually, and economically. The political universe was demystified, as the magical power of thrones, scepters, and crowns was replaced by rational acts of consent. The individual (understood, of course, in the Enlightenment as male and property-owning) did not receive government and authority from a God who had given his secular sword to princes and magistrates to rule by his divine right. Nor did the individual keep any longer to his subordinate place in a divinely inspired hierarchy, in which kings and nobelmen had been placed above him as 'your highness' who were society's natural governors. Government was voluntarily established by free individuals through a willful act of contract. Individuals rationally consented to limit their own freedom and to obey civil authority in order to have public protection of their natural rights. Government's purpose was to serve self-interest, to enable individuals to enjoy peacefully their rights to life, liberty, and property, not to serve the glory of God or dynasties, and certainly not to dictate moral or religious truth."