Saturday, February 28, 2015

Brian Williams Trial Paper

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Opening Statement:


Dear members of the jury, we are all here for the prosecution of Brian Williams, beloved and world renowned news anchor. The prosecution has laid its claim that Mr. Williams has perpetrated manifold crimes, and he is charged with hindering the war effort, committing fraud against the American people, subverting the validity of the press, undermining the bravery of the soldiers, and the cardinal sin of Envy. As it may be obvious, each one of these charges are far fetched and erroneous. He has been blamed with hindering the war effort due to his misremembering of the events which occurred in Iraq of 2003. This is faulty logic, however, as the maximum possible effect of his actions are nearly akin to none at all. Forgetting the exact details of an event which occurred two years earlier does not compromise any military actions or plans, nor does it hinder the amount of volunteers to the military, and if it did it is insignificant. The second accusation of Mr Williams harming the validity of the press is illogical because the validity of the press is constantly in question, by the public as well as by other critics. It is something which one person, no matter how successful and liked, cannot undermine and cripple. One disremembered story cannot cause an entire industry to be impaired or weakened. It could also be stated that the American public drive stories such as this to be embellished, as it is proven based on views that the American public enjoys news anchors who can straddle the line between anchor and entertainer. The prosecution then goes on to claim that Mr. Williams was committing fraud against the American people, however this statement can be easily disproven using the simple and legal definition of the word fraud. The word fraud means “deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain.” It cannot be proven that the actions of Mr. Williams were deliberate, nor can it be proven that it was to achieve unfair or unlawful gain. The next claim brought against Mr. Williams is that he undermines the bravery of soldiers in the United States Armed Forces. This could be considered an insulting claim, as it states that the bravery of our fine soldiers was so easily broken, that it could be impaired by one statement made by a news anchor. Not only is this insulting, but there is also no valid evidence to back it, and it is an entirely false claim. It should also be noted that the aftermath of this error should not fall entirely on Mr. Williams, as there are many others involved in the story, from the editors reviewing it to the NBC News Division executives, both of which knew that Mr. Williams did not, in fact, get shot down in a helicopter. Mr Williams was merely used as a scapegoat for the NBC Network to shift the blame upon, rather than have the finger pointed at themselves. The final and most heinous claim against Mr. Williams is that of the cardinal sin of Envy. While this claim should not possibly hold up in any court of law, it can be easily discarded due to two major core values of our fine nation, the freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. All of this evidence culminates into one undeniably true fact, Mr. Williams is innocent of all charges.

Whole Argument:


Dear members of the jury, you have now heard the prosecution’s argument and evidence, and now the defense would like to show you how bloated these claims truly are. Let us start with the claim that Mr. Williams actions have hindered the war effort. The claim brought forth by the prosecution states that the actions of Mr. Williams misremembering the events back in 2003 impedes the war effort of the entire United States of America. While it is possible for the United States to prosecute those who interfere with the war effort, the fault in the argument lies with the idea that one man, a single news anchor, can hinder the effectiveness and efficiency of the entire United States Military. His actions have not affected or exposed any military operations, as he merely stated that the helicopter he was in was shot down, this exposes no military operations, nor does it compromise the actions or location of any military personnel. In no way is the information that a Chinook helicopter was shot down a vital piece of intelligence to the United States Armed Forces, and it does not affect the war effort in any way. It also does not impair the number of active duty military personnel, as can be seen in the deployment ratings between 2003 and 2011, when the war in Iraq officially ended. The number of voluntary recruits remained stable at around 1.35 million active troops in every branch of the military. In 2003 the number of ADMPs was around 1,423,348, while in 2011 the number of ADMPs was 1,468,364. This proves that Mr. Williams had no end effect on the recruitment of new military personnel, as the overall number of ADMPs increased. All of this evidence shows that Mr. Williams had no meaningful effect on the United States Armed Forces war effort, and is thus innocent of this accusation.
The second accusation against Mr. Williams is that he undermines the validity of the press, and harms the trust between the American media and public. This claim is unfounded, as it is the job of some and the action of many to constantly question the media as well as the news, and it happens to every statement ever spoken by any news network. Renowned news anchors such as Bill O’Reilly are constantly put into question, as it is in the interest of the public to search as hard as they can for the truth, rather than take the first statement they hear as fact. Mr. Williams distortion of the truth was simply another situation in which the public questioned the statements of the media, it is not the first, and most certainly not the last time that the public will investigate the news on their own. It is also false to claim that one news anchor, no matter how popular, can degrade an entire industry, and harm its reputation. The media is a multi-billion dollar industry, and to state that one man can harm its entire reputation is an unbacked claim. Another point is that many news networks lie and make false assumptions, and to call a single man out is unjust and unfair. For example during the period following 9/11, many news networks made the claim that Saddam Hussein was directly involved, and this later led to a poll showing that 69% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was responsible. This is a false assumption, and even after the information was discovered that he had no connection, the media was unquestioned and this occasion was simply disregarded. This is another case which should have undermined the reputation of the media, much more so than a disremembering of a single occasion, however the media was never questioned over this and never called out. One could say that this occasion should have had more of an effect, but it didn't, and so this small failure to remember obviously had no true effect on the media’s reputation with the public.
Another claim made by the prosecution is that Mr. Williams has committed fraud against the American people. This claim is easily disproven using the definition of fraud, which states that fraud is the “deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain”. It is impossible for the prosecution to prove Mr. Williams intent, nor can it be proven that this story was in any way to prove unfair or unlawful gain. It is impossible to prove that the goal of this story was to garner unfair or unlawful gain, and while the prosecution may claim that embellished stories draw in more views and thus help the reporter, it should be known that reporters and paid flat salaries, thus meaning that whether or not the viewership rises, other than by extremely large amounts, does not affect the actual pay grade of the reporter. The prosecution may also claim that the story was simply to gain fame, and not monetary gain, however this is a statement which is very difficult to prove as it may not have been his intent to garner fame, but rather simply an outcome, and it can also be stated that telling interesting tales to gain money is quite common, and this is not considered fraud. Even tales which are claimed to be true are not questioned or prosecuted, and prosecuting Mr. Williams for the intentional deception of the American public is hypocritical and wrong.
It should be noted that the American public also unintentionally drove news anchors such as Mr. Williams to present interesting stories like these, as well as the news. This form of presenting the news, through telling interesting stories as well as relaying the news, stems from the desire of the public to be both entertained by as well as educated by their news station. They desire to have a news anchor who straddles the line between entertainer and news broadcaster. This is clearly shown in the ratings between news channels such NPR and Fox, which garner 11.1 million and 20.9 million views respectively. This shows that more people desire an entertaining story than a completely factual one, however they claim to desire both. The public pushes news anchors to find and develop encapturing stories to the point where they will actually misremember events in their past in order to present a more engrossing report. In this way partial blame should fall upon the American public for compelling Mr. Williams to find a way to present a better story, even if the details were not entirely true.
The fourth charge brought against Mr. Williams is that he undermines the bravery of the soldiers in the United States Armed Forces. The claim that a single reporter could possibly undermine the courage of our nations fine soldiers is both insulting and unfounded. The prosecutors claim that a single news anchor could impair the bravery of our troops, and that our troops’ bravery was so easily broken, that Mr. Williams has had a negative effect on the United States Armed Forces as a whole. This is not only degrading, but also has no veritable evidence backing it, and is an entirely false claim. It is very difficult, nigh impossible, to measure someone’s bravery and especially that of an entire military. There is no test for this, and there is no obvious effect of having cowardly or courageous troops. To believe that an army’s courage can somehow be measured and weighed, and that this courage is a physical and discernible feature of the Armed Forces is false, and while it is in no way disputed the troops are brave, it is impossible to factually prove this. This claim is also foolish in its assumption that undermining one's bravery is an offense, or a charge which can be brought against someone. While it may be argued that the undermining of the army’s bravery is actually hindering the war effort, it has been already stated that it is impossible to prove any change in a military force’s courage.
One important aspect of this trial that should be noted is that the aftermath of this error and the subsequent blame which follows should not fall directly upon Mr. Williams, as he is not the person solely responsible for the creation and production of the NBC News Network. This is especially important as the producers and editors of the NBC News Network would have certainly known that this misremembered story was false, as they would have learned his helicopter had been shot and would most likely have reported it quicker than two years after the fact. They did not do this however, and instead decided to allow the story to be aired. In this way even more of the blame should fall on NBC’s shoulders, as they allowed for the story that they definitely knew was false, and are now attempting to use Mr. Williams as a scapegoat for their deception. Even if the story was presented by Mr. Williams, which there is no proof of, it is the job of the editors and producers to make sure the truth is heard, theoretically, and simply the job of anchors such as Mr. Williams to relay this information to the public. We should not shoot the messenger for their misdeed, but rather the man who let him get to us with false information.
The last charge brought against Mr. Williams by the prosecution is his commitment of the cardinal sin Envy. While this claim could never truly be used in any court of law, as stated before there are two major aspects of our nation which allow for this claim to be easily disproven. Both of these can be found in the First Amendment, and each has been a core value of our nation since its creation. They are both formulated in the Establishment and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution. The Establishment clause states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, stopping the church from becoming integral in the nation’s functions and judicial system, and the Free Exercise Clause states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise there of. All of this culminates into the Congress being unable to make decisions involving religion, as well as attempting to force religious values, such as the seven deadly sins, which is a Catholic concept, on others. This is why the prosecution is unable to bring a Catholic concept into the court of law, and why they are unable to use it as a legal charge against anyone. The church is to remain a separate entity from the state, especially the judicial system, as stated in the First Amendment, and thus these concepts cannot be used in the court of law. Members of the jury, all of this evidence culminates into the overarching reality that Mr. Williams is innocent of all charges, as each of the charges presented to the jury is unfounded and illogical.


Closing Statement:


Dear members of the jury, as you can clearly see, Mr. Williams has only been charged with irrational and unrealistic claims. Mr. Williams has obviously not hindered the war effort, as his actions neither revealed important military plans or secrets, and it also did not hinder the recruitment rates of the United States Armed Forces as the recruitment for Active Duty Military Personnel increased from 2003 to 2011. Mr. Williams also committed no fraud against the American people, as this implies he was attempting to garner unfair gain in some way, and that this was an entirely intentional action. It has been shown, however, that his financial gain is not affected by the number of viewers for the news station, and it is impossible to show that he was attempting to increase his fame. It is also impossible to prove that all of his actions were intentional. The next charge brought against Mr. Williams was that he subverted the validity of the press, however it has been proven that the validity of an entire industry is not so easily undermined by one anchor, no matter how popular, as well as the fact that the press is constantly coming into question by critics and the public. The next charge brought against Mr. Williams is that he undermined the bravery of the American soldiers. This is both degrading to the soldiers and false, as it implies that the soldiers have such fragile courage, as well as that the undermining of courage is illegal. It is not illegal, and if it were considered hindering the war effort, it is obvious to those who really think about it that courage cannot be measured, nor can its effect on the war be weighed. The next final charge Mr. Williams is prosecuted for committing is that of the cardinal sin of Envy. The United States government was designed to exclude the church and all its aspects, including concepts enveloped in its ideals, such as The Seven Deadly Sins, from all matters of the state. This is why one cannot be charged for a religious doctrine, as the judicial system cannot create any laws nor any rulings respecting religion, as it is not allowed to be an aspect considered in any part of the law based on the First Amendment of the Constitution. What the prosecution failed to address was that Mr. Williams was simply used as a scapegoat for the NBC News Division, who knew full well that this story was not entirely true, and yet allowed for Mr. Williams to continue with it anyway in an attempt to garner views for their company. They then blamed Mr. Williams for the story, suspending him, and directing blame from the shoulders of their editors to that of the man they simply tasked with relating it. It is also very important to note that the American public does not punish and even supports news anchors who can straddle the line between entertainer as well as relayer of the truth. They wish to be told the information as well as have it conveyed in an interesting way, and this pushes news anchors such as Mr. Williams to attempt to find ways to capture their audiences imagination and interest. Members of the jury, we have shown you the overwhelming evidence against Mr. Williams guilt, and propose that Mr. Williams be found innocent and free of all the illogical charges brought against him by the prosecution, thank you.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Socrates' Final Lesson

Conner Lewis, World History 4                                                                                      2/19/15
Thoughts and Reflections On: When Free Speech Was First Condemned The Trial of Socrates                                                                       Reconsidered
Article By I.F. Stone
Published By Harpers Magazine

Socrates' Final Lesson

          This article was named as such due to the underlying meaning of Socrates' trial. It showed that the once great Athens was beginning to lose that which once made it so great, free speech and political freedom. The trial was based off of completely false charges, and was simply created to silence the anti-democratic and inevitably anti-political Socrates. Athens chose to give up the right of free speech as one of their greatest traits just to silence an old man whom they disagreed with. The accusers and inevitably the jury that did not acquit him were condemning the right of free speech by not allowing Socrates to practice it, and this was the first time this ever occurred in recorded history as Athens was the first democracy, if limited, which had free speech. Socrates knew this, and this puts Socrates in a different light, by showing how he willingly sacrificed himself to show that the jury and inevitably Athens no longer followed free speech. He was nobly sacrificing himself in order
to once again open the Athenians' eyes to one of their many flaws, and in this way it was his final lesson to the Athenian people. Some of the witnesses of which the prosecution could have called upon to support their illegitimate claims could have been the Oracle of Delphi or Chaerephon's brother, to see if Socrates' claim that the Oracle called him the wisest were true, for if he were not he would not be truly following God's task and would therefore possibly be corrupting the youth with a false pretense that he was on such a mission. The defense could have called on any of Socrates' many pupils to show how he was truly not corrupting them, and that they simply discussed with each other topics of interest, or they could have again called on the Oracle or Chearephon's brother to show the claim was true, and he actually was on a mission from God.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Verdict of Socrates

Conner Lewis, World History 4                                                                                      2/18/15
Thoughts and Reflections On: Socrates - The Apology
Book by Plato

The Verdict of Socrates

          The pitiful appeals which Socrates refuses to employ are the use of friends and family to sway the jury to vote not guilty. He refuses to bring in his sons as well as his friends and students to cause the jury to vote purely based on pity and empathy. He refuses to do this because he thinks it is below him, while also believing that the jury is not supposed to hand out freedom as a favor, but rather be convinced through argument and debate to vote not guilty on the final verdict. Socrates believes that even if found guilty however, due to his free service to the people and state of Athens, he should receive free food as well a personal maintenance from the state. He states this is because he has only worked for the betterment of the state itself. This is also the final proof that shows Socrates will not do what he believes is wrong because he states that deciding a penalty which he knows is detrimental to himself would show that he does things even if he knows it is wrong, and rather because he will
never purposefully harm someone, he will not willingly choose to harm himself. Socrates then goes on to suggest imprisonment, a fine which results in imprisonment if not paid, and banishment. He suggests these to show how detrimental they would be to him, which is why he will not suggest them, as well as to allow him to show why none of these would stop him or be useful. Imprisonment or a fine would just result in him being locked in a cell, banishment would result in him being banished from the next city, and the next, and living a quiet life is impossible for him as he has been ordered by God to discuss and learn. Socrates also states that should he be silenced, others like him shall rise up to question Athens once more, until the accusers and people of Athens make themselves as good as they can, for until then people shall always question their actions and motives. Socrates believes that death is a good thing because it harbors only two possibilities. One is that of a dreamless and calm sleep which Socrates believes to be tranquil and calm, and the other is the kind discussed as the afterlife, and Socrates states he would die ten times to meet the people and heroes of old, and to continue his search for the wise there as well.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Socratic Sentence

Conner Lewis, World History 4                                                                                      2/10/15
Thoughts and Reflections On: Socrates - The Apology
Book by Plato

The Socratic Sentence

          As the Oracle of Delphi said, Socrates truly was a very wise man. His wisdom comes in the form his acceptance that he does not truly know all that he could, and that he perpetually tries to keep learning because of his belief that he truly knows nothing. His wisdom stems from the fact that he never tried to stop learning, as he never assumed his knowledge was enough or superior to others. Socrates is a valuable component to society because of his ability to show others who are ignorant of their ignorance that they should continue to learn, and that one cannot truly know all, as much as they would like to admit it. He allows for others to learn from his wisdom and grow more wise and intelligent themselves, at no cost to themselves. He makes others more intelligent without a price. Socrates believes and supports God, as he accepts that God is always correct, as the Oracle of Delphi is his vessel through which he can speak. He believes the words of the Oracle to be true, and although he attempts to prove him right or wrong, he truly believes that God exists. Socrates says that the true reason people dislike him is not for his faith or beliefs, but rather his plain speaking. He believes that
his lack of regard for the thoughts of others and their feelings when it comes to their intelligence and in respect their pride has caused him to gain as many enemies as he has. The plain speaking of which he speaks is his habit of speaking without the flowery language of poetry, prose, or politics but rather very bluntly, stating the truth which was usually that those who thought they were wise were actually unwise and unintelligent themselves. The other charge placed against Socrates is that he was a bad influence on the young, and that he corrupted their minds with the thoughts and ideas of philosophy. He disproves this notion however, by showing that people do not intentionally do or receive harm, as nobody wishes to. Rather they do or receive harm unintentionally, and so Socrates states that if he were doing harm it would be unintentional, and thus should be not brought to court as one cannot blame another for an action they did not mean to do. They should rather be pulled aside for discussion. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Cold Wars

Conner Lewis, World History 4                                                                                      2/8/15
Thoughts and Reflections On: The Two Thousand Years' War
Article by Walter Karp
Published By Harper's Magazine
Publishing Date: January, 1981
The Cold Wars

The Cold War was a time from 1945 to 1990 during which two ideologies, and two primary nations which each supported their own side, faced off during a time not of war, but instead of heavy political tension. The two ideologies which faced off were communism, backed by the Soviet Union, and capitalism, backed by the United States of America. Communism is an economic and political system which developed from Marxism, a government and ideology developed by Karl Marx, and which focuses around the idea of complete governmental control over the economy and the government's people. The government regulates both what products and supply the people receive, theoretically attempting to make everyone in the nation equal in pay, wealth, and goods. The government runs an economy which is not for profit, and merely for providing the resources which the populace needs. In direct opposition, capitalism is a form of government in which the government takes a laid back approach towards the economy, allowing it to run independently, where business' are owned by private business owners that are primarily focused on gaining a profit, and for self gain. The wealth is not evenly distributed in this form of economical philosophy, and instead is rather open and even encourages the formation of the upper, middle, and lower class income workers, as each works as a rung in the process of the market. The Cold War was mainly a conflict between these two
ideologies, each being advocated by their supporting nation, during which each side attempted to "convert" as many nations and governments as possible to their ideology, thus making more allies and a stronger alliance in total, while at the same time preventing the opposing ideology from spreading too much. In this way the Cold War was a grab for allies, as each side scrambled to scoop up as much of the world as it could in their philosophy. The idea of containment stated that regimes fall in a domino effect, and that unless it is stopped at the source, more and more nations will change to that ideology. This idea lead to ruthless and rash assaults on nations attempting to change, in an effort to stop the growth before it started. The Cold War was also the first war during which humanity had the ability to destroy itself via nuclear warfare, and this lead to the idea of mutually assured destruction. This was the main reason that all out warfare did not occur, as both sides had a large enough nuclear arsenal to destroy the opposing side. This meant any open conflict would lead to mutual destruction, thus stopping both sides from performing open conflict. The Cold War ended in 1990 as the Soviet Union began to open up as well as it began to grow more and more bankrupt. The Cold War bears many striking similarities to the Peloponnesian War. Both wars were fought between two major super powers, in this case Athens and Sparta, each with their own strengths which prevented them from destroying each other. The Athenian navy was simply better than the Spartan one, while the Spartan army was dominant of the Athenian army. This lead to a stand off, similar to what Mutually Assured Destruction caused in the Cold War, during which neither side could destroy the other. This lead both wars to be fought over allies, as the Athenians and Spartans both struggled for Greek allies to give them the upper hand. The two sides were also opposing each other in their ideologies in both wars. The Athenians were ardent supporters of democracy, while the Spartans fought for the oligarchical governments. This is similar to the communist versus capitalist conflict of the Cold War. The different sides also bear surprising resemblance as well, the democratic Athenians with their urban life style are very similar to the USA during the Cold War, while the totalitarian, large, and agricultural nation of Sparta bears remarkable resemblance to the Soviet Union. This similarity is something which Thucydides, author of The History of the Peloponnesian
War,
alluded to, as he often states that he writes for future generations to learn from the mistakes of the past. The USA and Soviet Union could have learned a lot through reading the writings of Thucydides. They could have learned that during times of strife such as war, humanity will often be driven to its most base level, which was very evident through the development of McCarthyism during the Cold War, which was the belief that many spies existed in the US at the time, and that they could and should be arrested with little to no factual evidence. They also could have foreseen that even great nations can fall, as war parties gain control and the morals and principles which once made that nation great are discarded as the war becomes the most important aspect of life. It is very important to to make the same mistakes as others in the past, as it is the only way to move forward and not be stuck in a cycle of ferocity and barbarity. History can help people achieve this by showing them what occurred in the past, and leaving a road map which clearly marks how to avoid the same crisis as those who came before did. History allows for the clear analysis of past mistakes, which can lead to more thought through and tactical choices in the future.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ancient Greece Essay Prompt #3

Conner Lewis
2/2/15
Ms. Mitchell
Period 4 History
The Fault of All Humanity
Many people hold pride for their nation, and can name several reasons why their nation is the greatest in existence, and the people of Athens are no exception. Pericles, an important Athenian politician in Classical Greece, was a very outspoken advocate for Athenian greatness, however his fellow Athenian Thucydides disproves many of Pericles’ beliefs in his book The History of The Peloponnesian War by showing that the Athenian people are still subject to one of the most selfish aspects of humans, human nature. Most of Thucydides’ claims stem from the chapters of “The Plague”, focusing on the Plague of Athens, and “The Civil War of Corcyra”, both of which show perfect examples of the extent human nature can drive an individual. Pericles often states that many of the greatest aspects of Athens derive from the strong and open Athenian government, often citing that the equality of citizens and limited democracy lead to a greater and more successful city. Thucydides refutes this by showing the Athenian government is actually quite fragile due human nature’s effects on any man and woman’s mind. Pericles also supports his belief in the greatness of Athens by praising its military structure and strength, stating its voluntary nature leads to each soldier being more brave and loyal to the Athenian cause. Thucydides’ findings on human nature disprove the greatness of the Athenian army by showing that when each soldier’s nature took control, they abandoned the military, and so Athens was unable to remain stable during times of true crisis. Pericles’ final, and to him the most important, aspect which makes Athens great is the greatness of its people. He states that the people of Athens are more kind than others, not concerning themselves with what they should receive in turn, they are more open-minded than others in both political and private matters, as well as being inherently more courageous and brave. He also believes that the Athenian focus on balance between intellect and strength leads to a stronger people. Thucydides refutes the greatness of the Athenians by showing that they are still subject to human nature, stating that the kindness of the Athenians can easily turn into greed as men and women are driven to more dire action. He also states that human nature causes men to dislike those of different ideological beliefs, rather than accept and discuss political matters, because anyone who disagrees is considered a foe. He states that the bravery of the Athenians will easily dissipate, like any other people, should their situation become to dire and they revert to using backstabbing a deceit to achieve their goals. He also shows that when anyone who disagrees is an enemy due to distrust, having public opinions can lead to civil unrest through political adversaries openly plotting against their obvious opponents. Thucydides also shows that during times of strife cunning and guile will override the balance of intellect and strength, as people fear open conflict and their nature leads them to achieve victory through any means. Thucydides’ commentary and analyzation of human nature shows that the greatness of Athens which Pericles attests to is simply an easily removed veil, and the people of Athens are just as savage and primitive as any other city state during times of strife.

Thucydides first disproves Pericles’ claim about Athenian greatness by showing that the law and government of Athens is an unstable institution which can easily devolve into anarchy, as it does not have enough power over its people to stop their human nature, and is not any better and possibly worst than other governments. Thucydides records Pericles sating that the government is a stable institution capable of withstanding any crisis, stating that the Athenians “have organized our State in such a way that it is perfectly well able to look after itself both in peace and in war,” (Thucydides, page 145, section 36, lines 12-13). Pericles is stating that the Athenian government is so well organized, and that its state is so well managed and designed, that it is stable at any time, whether in peace or war. He is congratulating himself and the other Athenians for being a part of and maintaining a well balanced and organized government which he believes will survive in any climate, be there strife or prosperity. He is insulting the Spartans, who must maintain an eternal cycle of war in order to keep their people and nation from falling apart. Pericles considers this to be one of the shining qualities of Athenian government, stating that it is an adaptable form of government which can survive the test of time. Pericles also mentions that the Athenian government held every as equal in front of the law, and states that they would peacefully settle disputes so that both parties would feel represented: ”When it is a question of settling private disputes, everyone is equal before the law…” (Thucydides, page 145, section 37, lines 5-6). Here Pericles is making note of both the judicial system of Athens, as well as the class system, or lack there of, and egalitarianism of the Athenian society. He states that when Athens must settle disputes between anyone, it brings them to the court of law in order to have them testify against their peers, instead of attempting to see if might makes right or any other system that the Athenians would consider lower than themselves. He says that everyone who lives in Athens is equal, and that this is a right which they would always uphold as one of the most important aspects of Athenian law and government. He is stating that they like to settle disputes in a fair and equal way, without bloodshed or strife. Pericles also comments on the equality of Athens being focused around skill and ability, not class or social status stating, “what counts is not membership of a particular class, but the actual ability which the man possesses,”(Thucydides, page 145, section 37, lines 7-9). Pericles is stating that in the Athenian government, it is the ability and intellect of an individual that decides their worth to the government and their people, and it is not a hereditary system which is decided simply by one’s birth and station in the country. He is stating that unlike other nations, such as Sparta, which must rely on a random genetic draw each time a new king is born, in the hopes that this king will be competent and successful. Pericles has stated that this makes Athens great, because they are ensured competent and valuable leaders who are capable of performing in the post which they are given. Pericles also says this makes Athens great because to him there is no wasted potential, as even the poorest civilians can contribute their intellect to the nation. To Pericles this means that the nation of Athens simply has a more qualified and intelligent government than the other nations of Greece, which have monarchies and oligarchies in place. Thucydides counters Pericles’s belief that the Athenian government was very stable by stating that during times of crisis humans from inside the city will attempt to replace their current government, and it is possible that the same event which took place in Corcyra, splitting between two distinct factions, could happen to Athens as well: “it became a natural thing for anyone who wanted a change of government to call in help from outside.” (Thucydides, page 242, section 82, lines 10-11). Thucydides counters part of the idea that Athens is strong because during times of chaos human nature dictates that individuals will attempt to call in any help they possibly can in order to counteract the opposing party and ideology. He is stating that should a politician whose views do not match other civilians of Athens be elected, those civilians, especially in a time of strife and desperation, will call in and support Athens’ enemies in an attempt to overthrow personal, ideological, or political foes that have taken power. This occurred in Corcyra in an extreme measure, and this caused Corcyra to become a battleground for the oligarchy of Sparta and the limited democracy of Athens. Thucydides also is stating that this attempt to make a call to the outside world could be made by anyone, and this could be especially harmful to Athens which, as it considered itself an egalitarian society, had very little limits to both the information that went in and out of the city, as well as who rose to power and who gained wealth. This means that the Athenian state was not nearly as stable as Pericles said because its open government allowed for opposing factions to be elected and for the embittered rivals to seek help outside of Athens, possibly causing Athens to devolve into a battleground and the government to collapse. Thucydides also refutes the stability of Athens by stating human nature will cause Athenian grip on its people to wane and crumble, and Athens is not strong enough to keep hold of its people should a bad enough crisis occur: “For the catastrophe was so overwhelming that men, not knowing what would happen next to them, became indifferent to every rule of religion or of law,”(Thucydides, page 155, section 52, lines 10-12). Thucydides is disproving Pericles’ belief that Athens is a stable nation in both war and peace, prosperity and strife by showing how much human nature can cause men to devolve to levels which cause them to disregard previously created and accepted institutions. Thucydides is stating that should the strife and misfortune of any people, even the Athenians, be too great it is possible for them and their wills to break. Especially if the danger is life threatening, as if a person’s life is in danger they do not fear the repercussions for disregarding rules, laws, and culturally accepted norms as there is a real possibility that the trial and punishment shall not occur, and should they not act upon the danger, they will certainly die anyways. This part of human nature’s design, which states that should the danger be too high, and should the reward for the sacrifice be too low, human nature will cause a person to become more selfish and attempt to save themselves physically, rather than remain honorable and act upon laws set forth by others, making it much harder for any nation to remain in control of its population. The great nation of Athens which Pericles admired so much easily devolved into a lawless land of a hopeless citizenry who held no regard for the gods or the government. Human nature meant that the Athenian government was too weak to maintain itself during a time of strife which it had not prepared for, as the Athenians had been lulled into a false sense of security by only looking to past strife and believing that the Athenians had overcome their primitive nature and beliefs. Thucydides also shows that human nature can and will cause any human being to abandon their morals and credibility in favor of making their own life better and more successful by showing how this occurred in Corcyra as well: “Peithias, however, who happened to be a member of the Council, persuaded his colleagues to enforce the legal penalty,”(Thucydides, page 237, section 70, lines 25-26). Through the acts of the governing body in Corcyra, and through the documentation of the events that followed, Thucydides clearly shows that human nature will cause desperate and scared individuals to manipulate and blackmail others into doing what they want, and not perform under the fair code which the government had set forth. Peithias coerced his peers into sentencing a harsh penalty on several wealthy oligarchs simply because he felt threatened by their growing power which directly opposed his party, the democrats. Thucydides shows how humans will always break rules, even those that they have sworn to uphold, if they believe that their lives are in true danger. This is because human nature’s first goal is self-preservation at all costs, and the ideal codes of law are irrelevant to a cornered animal. Human nature is the primitive part of a person, and will cause them to fight with all their might if they believe that their is no other way out. This means that any man, even men who Pericles believes will uphold the egalitarian and class free court of law in Athens, would gladly commit heinous crimes against the code of Athenian courts rather than suffer possibly fatal consequences. Human nature dictates that the Athenian court of law will only be upheld when the individuals who run it and participate in it believe it to be a useful system which can contribute to their well-being. Thucydides also shows that the elected officials of Athens could easily be led to become corrupt and deceitful if driven so by human nature and desperation, stating that officials would, “in professing to serve the public interest they were seeking to win the prizes for themselves,”(Thucydides, page 243, section 82, lines 72-73). Here Thucydides states that people will gladly lie to the general public if they believe it can give them personal power and prosperity. This is another part of human nature, and this part causes humanity to be greedy when it comes to wealth and personal success. This is only amplified during times of strife when wealth is even less abundant, and when people are desperate for more of it. Pericles believes that the elections of Athens are part of what makes it great, and that the candidates put into office are only elected based off of their true skill and ideology. This, however, is false. Human nature causes candidates to gladly lie about both their intentions and their ability in order to obtain higher offices and in turn more power. What Pericles believes to be one of the best characteristics of Athens is also a factor which could cause the city to tear itself apart, should an incompetent and deceitful party member gain power and cause both the plebeians and the opposing parties to rise in arms against the ill-ruler. This is part of what makes humans human, it is in their nature and pre-coded in their mind to act this way, and not even the great Athenians can avoid this. Thucydides proved that human nature is the inevitable downfall of the Athenian government, and this is also related to the fallibility of its military.

The military of Athens and its voluntary nature, which is based on people joining simply through patriotism, causes the military to be weaker, especially in times of strife and disorder when the pride of Athens is shattered as well as the spirit of its people, and when human nature takes control of even the most loyal of soldiers. Pericles claims that one of the most important aspects of the Athenian army is its voluntary service, stating that “in our way of meeting danger voluntarily, with an easy mind, instead of with a laborious training with natural rather than with state-induced courage,”(Thucydides, page 146, section 39, lines 23-25). Pericles is taking note on the fact that the Athenian military is a completely voluntary, unlike Athens’ sister nation of Sparta. Pericles considers this to be a major virtue of Athenian society, and states that this is one of the greatest aspects of the Athenian army and certainly one of the most important. He considers this very important because this shows how the Athenian army is truly superior to the objectively stronger and more well-trained Spartan army. Pericles goes on to state that the rigorous and laborious, which is peculiar word choice because it has a negative connotation, of other city-states are simply to cover up and attempt to erase the fact that their soldiers do not have enough natural courage, however this only instills a fake loyalty as well as an agitated mind for being forced into war. Pericles thinks that this agitated mind weakens the enemy and makes them more likely to flee from the face of battle. Pericles also states that the voluntary nature of the military leads to those who join to be more loyal and dedicated to the Athenian cause, and this is because “he who best knows the meaning of what is sweet in life and of what is terrible, and then goes out undeterred to meet what is to come,” (Thucydides, page 147, section 40, lines 19-21). Pericles is stating that because the Athenian army is voluntary, the soldiers they have are more loyal to Athens and their army. He states that this is because the soldiers in the army know what it is that they are missing, and they know how much good and happiness they are missing, yet they willingly join the army and give all of this up, and possibly even miss the opportunity to feel these pleasures ever again if they fall in battle. He states that because of this knowledge, the soldiers that end up in the army are more loyal because they chose to give up this pleasure, and were not forced into it. Pericles considers this form of loyalty to be greater and truer than that of other nations, especially Sparta. He believes this natural loyalty is better and should be held in higher regard than that of the loyalty which he believes is beaten into the soldiers of Sparta. Thucydides refutes the claim that the Athenian army is extremely loyal and brave, and cites the lawlessness of Athens during the Plague as a perfect example of human nature being stronger than the bonds of state: ”In other respects also Athens owed to the plague the beginnings of a state of unprecedented lawlessness,”(Thucydides, page 155, section 53, lines 1-2). Thucydides, however, proves that the military of Athens was not nearly as strong and loyal as Pericles says. Thucydides records that during the plague of Athens all legal structures and institutions collapse as the men and women of Athens gain a sense of hopelessness and give in to their most basic and primitive desires. The Athenian army was unable to keep order in Athens, even though that would have been one of their most important jobs. The soldiers and officers of the Athenian army were not loyal enough to do their duty during their greatest time of need, because they fell victim to the same fate which all the other residents of Athens did at that time, they reverted to their instinctive nature. Human nature dictates that one’s first loyalty shall always be to themselves, not to their state or even their family. This is what caused the great and true loyalty which Pericles described to fall apart, and inevitably it is what caused all of Athens to descend into lawless chaos, which was one of the main priorities of the government and by extent the military to prevent. The inherent need for self-preservation which human nature caused meant that it was simply impossible to keep the Athenian army from disbanding, as the men were not ready to lay down their lives trying to keep order if they knew it was possible for them to get the plague and die either way. Instead they went out and performed anything that they wanted to because they were now only looking out for themselves. Thucydides then goes on to show that the loyalty of Athenian troops was not greater than one’s loyalty to one’s own desires and needs as “Revenge was more important than self-preservation,”(Thucydides, page 243, section 82, line 54). Here, Thucydides records how during a time of strife and desperation human nature will cause people to care only about personal desires, such as lust and revenge, and not their own self. It is important to note that the self-preservation in this context does not necessarily mean protecting and preserving one’s physical health, but it can also mean protecting one’s image, piety, and honor. Thucydides is saying that during times of strife, the rules of honor and loyalty are disregarded entirely, as people only care about themselves and their own desire. While revenge is often seen as cruel and destructive, and not something which people should do in common society, it becomes a main aspect of life during times when one’s own survival is in question. When one does not know how long they have left to live, human nature causes them to do whatever they see fit and whatever they want, and this usually means they do actions that would otherwise be atrocious. This is another reason why the Athenian army is not nearly as loyal as Pericles assumes, because it can, and as shown before did, easily fall apart if the soldiers of the army see no hope or reason to serve anymore, or believe that serving will only cause more strife than they are already experiencing. This problem is only amplified by the fact that these men are now carrying and trained to use weaponry. Human nature’s effect, and how it can drive humans to do whatever they please to whomever they please, especially if they are already in a dire situation, is what caused Pericles’ unwavering Athenian army to be an impossibility. Human nature also causes the loyalties of each person alive during times of strife to change, as Thucydides states even “Family relations were a weaker tie than party membership,” (Thucydides, page 243, Section 82, lines 44-45). During times of strife people’s loyalties will often shift. While their true loyalty shall always remain towards themselves, Thucydides shows that their other loyalties can shift as well. He states that even familial loyalties, which are often considered to the most important and the strongest, can be weaker than that of someone’s loyalty to their faction. This is also the cause of human nature and self-preservation, because it is often in one’s best interest to be a part of a strong faction or group. This means that during strife one’s loyalties could easily shift to the opposite side. This disproves Pericles’ idea of an utterly loyal army because human nature shows that if pushed to the brink of desperation enough, a soldier could easily switch sides to that of the enemy and defect. During times of strife and civil war, as seen in Corcyra, the army will often split between the factions which each soldier supports, and the old army will disband entirely as soldier’s loyalties shift from their original posts to that of their ideological beliefs. While the Athenian soldiers may seem loyal to Athens now, should Athens fall apart, they would easily choose to side with internal factions or outside forces as their nature dictates that they should side with whomever could protect them and make them stronger.

Many people of Athens, especially Pericles, attest to the honor and greatness of the people of Athens, however these people are the same as any other, or even worse for attesting to their greatness which does not truly exist. Pericles is proud to mention that the people of Athens were the kindest people in Greece, and possibly the world, stating, “When we do kindnesses to others, we do not do them out of any calculations of profit or loss: we do them without afterthought, relying on our free liberality,”(Thucydides, page 147, section 40, lines 23-24). Pericles is making note of the fact that the Athenians are some of the truly kindest and caring people in the world. He states that unlike other peoples and cultures, the people of Athens are kind to others for the sake of their own kindness and caring. They do not consider the effects or the outcome of their efforts, but rather give no second thought to being kind to others. They do not consider their act of kindness a binding of debt, and expect a reward for doing an action for another human being. Instead they consider the kindness itself to be more important than the reward, at least according to Pericles. He also states that Athenians do not dwell on their act and of how caring they were, instead they move on, possibly to do more kind actions to others. Along the same matter of being kind, Pericles states that the people of Athens are open minded and free to speak about their own beliefs as well as find happiness their own way:  “And, just as our political life is free and open, so is our day-to-day life in our relations with each other. We do not get into a state with our next-door neighbor if he enjoys himself in his own way,” (Thucydides, page 145, section 37, lines 10-13). According to Pericles, one of the most important characteristics of Athens and Athenian life is the freedom which each individual has and can use to express themselves in both their political and private lives. In politics, each Athenian is free to share their own opinions and views on all topics, allowing for parties of similar minded individuals to form and represent others. This freedom allows for the leaders of Athens to know what it is their people want, and this allows for them to guide their city in the way their people desire with greater ease. It also allows for troubled people to speak up on current issues, so that the entire citizenry can understand the rest of the people’s desires and needs. The people of Athens are also less judgmental of each other’s views, and relish the chance to debate and discuss politics in an attempt to understand each others views. All of this culminates into Athens being run the way the Athenians want it to. The Athenians are also free in their private lives as well, and this is due to several reasons. Each person is able to find pleasure and happiness in any way they see fit, be it religion, philosophy, any of the arts, or any other manner of recreation or occupation. This causes the people of Athens to be happier and more willing to accept new ideas. The people of Athens are happier because unlike other places, they are free to further their happiness in whatever way they see fit, without the judgement of their peers or the intervention of the law, to a certain extent of course. The freedom the Athenians possess allows for both Athens to function better, as well as its people to live happier and fuller lives. Pericles also states that this freedom is derived from the inherent bravery and courage which can be found in every Athenian citizen, saying,“Make up your minds that happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous,”(Thucydides, page 149-150, section 43, lines 24-25). Pericles states that this happiness, and this freedom, are only aspects of Athenian life because of the courage which each and every Athenian possesses. Pericles believes that the happiness of the Athenians, which as previously stated stems from the freedom each and every individual possesses in both their private and political lives, is derived directly from the bravery and courage which each Athenian inherently has within them. The reason that freedom requires courage is because to Pericles one must have courage to speak up in one’s society and city, as well as to willingly show and practice the things that make one truly happy in life. The people must also be courageous because they willingly allow opposition in the political aspect of Athens, and in a way even desire it so that they may disprove or sway the opposition to see the way they do. People must also be brave to allow the people to select its own leaders, as many would see it as a safer route to have a strong government like the Spartans who have nearly complete control over their people. Instead of this totalitarian oligarchy, the people of Athens are courageous enough to allow the people to select whomever they believe shall lead Athens the best, and trust that the Athenians will pick well. This is the bravery and courage of which Pericles describes as the building block of freedom and happiness as well a common trait among Athenians. Pericles also notes that the Athenians have found a balance between intellect and strength, unlike their adversaries and peers the Spartans, and states that “Our love of what is beautiful does not lead to extravagance; our love of the things of the mind does not make us soft,” (Thucydides, page 147, section 40, lines 1-2). Here Pericles is debating the criticism that Athens often receives for its focus on intellectual skill and ability, the belief that this focus weakens the strength of the Athenian army and the people in general. Pericles however is stating that Athenians are a blend of both qualities, producing civilians who are both strong in intellect, arts, and philosophy, while at the same time being able to hold their own against the other pinnacle of military might, namely, Sparta. According to Pericles Athens is a great nation, and certainly one greater than their adversary Sparta, because it is able to take the military might of Sparta with an intellect which Pericles believes is above many other nations. Pericles is also stating that the Athenians are just as moderate as the Spartans, and are intelligent enough to conserve their resources as well as having no desire to overindulge in the finer things in life. They do this while still being able to admire and create truly beautiful works of art and craftsmanship. According to Pericles the Athenian people are a perfect blend of all qualities, being intelligent and strong, having an eye and ability for the arts and finer things in life while still remaining vigilant and not over indulging, and all of this makes Athens a truly great nation. Thucydides counters the belief that Athenians are truly kind by showing how if driven far enough each man will revert to their human nature, which is inherently greedy, and Thucydides states that the “Love of power, operating through greed and through personal ambition, was the cause of all these evils,”(Thucydides, page 243, section 82, lines 66-67). Thucydides shows, however, that the kindness which the Athenians show during peace and prosperity is merely a mask which is easily shed during times of desperation. A man’s true colors, his true nature, is that of greed and selfishness, not unrewarded integrity and kindness. While Pericles believes that the Athenians are truly kind people at heart, possibly some of the few, Thucydides’ depiction of human nature shows how the Athenians are merely kind when it suits them, and that their nature would easily cause them to find ways to accomplish their own goals and pursuit of power instead of giving out needless charity to others. Should an event arise during times of war or strife where and Athenian needed a favor from another person whom they had helped and considered friend, their nature would cause them to easily use their past kindness as leverage against that person, as their nature of greed and selfishness would drive them to this action. It is only in a person’s nature to feign kindness, honor, and valor during times when they can afford to do so, and still consider the thoughts of others to be relevant, however should strife arise they would easily discard the nobility and would willingly cause unspeakable evils due to their inherent need for self-preservation as well as power. This is why human nature causes Athenians to not be nearly as kind as they appear, for they have not yet been pushed to the point where their integrity could be tested. Thucydides also states that during times of crisis the open-mindedness of the Athenians could easily crumble in the face of human nature and its natural distrust for others, by stating that “any idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character,” (Thucydides, page 242, section 82, lines 31-32). Thucydides also makes comments on human nature’s view on opposing sides as well as political adversaries. He states that during times of desperation, when human nature takes control of people as they are degraded to their real status and situation, people will become very opposed to anyone who is not with them. He states that anyone attempting to be on both sides, and possibly act as a peacekeeper or a person who could broker deals between opposing factions, was an untrustworthy coward who was only a moderate because of his inability to lay his life down for the cause. This meant that human nature caused people to see the world in black and white, a one was on their side or they were not. This is due to human nature’s main goal being self-preservation, and if the other members of the party were unable or unready to lay dow their lives then they were untrustworthy and could get their comrades killed. Thucydides disproves Pericles’ belief that all Athenians were open-minded individuals ready for debate and political opposition because they only act this way when there is no true threat which the opposition poses, and when it is not a question of life or death. When it is, however, the opposing ideology is the main threat as neither side will agree on how to run the nation or use the resources, as well as which party should be in charge. The opposing ideology is the enemy in this situation, and this is why Pericles is incorrect in his assumption that all Athenians are always open-minded, because they are only this way when they do not believe the opposing side is a threat to their prosperity and well-being. Thucydides also refutes the claim that Athenians are always brave by mentioning how during a crisis bravery will be replaced by deceit and guile, he writes, “and to plot against an enemy behind his back was perfectly legitimate self-defense,” (Thucydides, page 242, section 82, lines 34-36). During times of crisis, human nature will cause people to change their opinions on how things should be done and especially how enemies should be dealt with. Because it becomes each man’s personal goal to maintain their well-being more than anything else, the idea of honor and valor have little consequence on their actions. Human nature will drive desperate people to do anything that can get the job done. Others views on these actions become favorable as well, because a good schemer is also a good ally during troubled times. The actions people perform during these times would be seen by others as dishonorable and cowardly, and certainly not an aspect of Athenian culture that Pericles was trying to praise. The courage of which Pericles praises only exists in the Athenians when their courage is not possibly rewarded with death or extreme punishment, in this way they have very little real courage, as they are not willing to put their life on the line for their beliefs and ideology. They would easily switch to cunning rather than courage if it would be more beneficial to do so, and in this way the courage of which Pericles speaks is not true courage, as it cannot drive the Athenian people to put their life on the line to defend their views and remain honorable. Thucydides also refutes Pericles’ claim that freedom is a major component of what makes Athens great, by showing that when human nature makes others paranoid having free and open opinions often leads to more conflict as well as leading to more violent opposition between both parties: “Anyone who held violent opinions could always be trusted, and anyone who objected to them became suspect,” (Thucydides, page 242, section 82, lines 36-37). One main reason people sided with the oligarchs was that they could ensure a stronger and more politically unified nation. This is because when a single government has absolute control over the law and military, the nation is less likely to revolt due to internal issues. It is also more likely to get things done, as the government is not split between separate parties and ideologies. Another reason an oligarchy was stronger than a democracy is because having the ability of free speech and having the ability to openly oppose existing institutions can be very dangerous and can cause much more civil unrest. As Thucydides states, when human nature takes control, and each person is forced to trust other members of their party just in order to have strength in numbers, they are more likely to trust those whose opinions are very outspoken and radical, because they are more likely to not falter in the face of danger. At the same time these radicals are more likely to go to extremes in order to succeed, and during these times of strife when all laws and the code of honor have been pushed aside, this can lead them to be very dangerous. At the same time being able to openly express one’s opinions often leads the moderates to be suspect, and anyone who was suspect at this time had a good chance to be disposed of by either party. This is why the freedom to openly express one’s belief and ideology of which Pericles speaks can lead to many political murders and much more chaos during a crisis. Pericles’ final claim about the greatness of the Athenian character, that they are well balanced characters, was disproven by Thucydides as he showed human nature can easily cause both intellect and strength to be replaced by guile: “To plot successfully was a sign of intelligence, but it was still cleverer to see that a plot was hatching,” (Thucydides, pages 242 - 243, section 82, lines 37-39). During chaotic times Thucydides shows that the most praised characteristic of a man shifts from both his intellect and strength and focuses primarily on one’s cunning and guile. People are driven to do whatever can achieve their goals, with the least danger to themselves. This is why political debates and open combat become much less important, as they can both be very dangerous to that individual, as one solidifies opponents while the other is violent and possibly fatal. To act from the shadows, however, had great potential to rid one of their enemies and still leaving the enactor safe. As self-preservation is the main goal of a human’s nature, cunning and guile become a desperate man’s best friend. This is what caused many places of strife to evolve into areas during which plots were being hatched constantly, with both sides attempting to accomplish their goals while still remaining safe in their homes. When Pericles speaks of Athens he praises it for its balance of both intellect and strength, however this balance could easily dissipate should the people of Athens be driven far enough. They would be driven to actions which others would consider cowardly and weak, as it is simply the safest way to get the job done. This is why the Athenian people will lose one of their greatest characteristics during times of strife, because they are willing to lose the integrity and greatness of their character in order to achieve their goals.

Thucydides’ commentary and analyzation of human nature shows that the greatness of Athens which Pericles attests to is simply an easily removed veil, and the people of Athens are just as savage and primitive as any other city state during times of strife. Pericles praises the strength and stability of the Athenian government, while Thucydides disproves this by showing how human nature causes no government, especially in the form of a limited democracy, to be perfect and stable. Pericles then states that the Athenian army is great for the voluntary nature, which leads to braver and more loyal troops. Thucydides shows that this loyalty is, however, not unbreakable and can easily change in times of strife. Pericles then goes on to state that the Athenians have greater character than most other peoples, being able to balance strength and intellect, as well as being kind, freethinking, and open-minded. Thucydides refutes this by showing that if driven into dire circumstances the Athenians are just as cowardly, vicious, and greedy as any other people. The falsehood of Athenian greatness could represent a valuable message for the modern world as well, by showing that human nature can and will drive citizens and nations which were once considered stable and strong can easily dissolve into chaos and corruption. Ukraine, a nation of relative stability after its recreation in 1991 by the dissolving Soviet Union, fell into increasing civil unrest and eventually all out civil war in February, 2014. The people of Ukraine were driven to do acts which would have been considered ghastly before, such as turning on each other’s neighbors and taking part in riots. One such act was when the pro-Russian side created a band of mercenaries, the Titushky, who could wield concealed pistols as well as kidnap and carjack civilian vehicles during riots and protests. Human nature lead civilians to do actions which would be considered poor before, and each side praised these actions as righteous as well as actively supported more. The once stable government split between two major factions, and the people did as well. Focus on events and activities such as sports, education, and other entertainment became unimportant, as the revolution and crisis took center stage above all else. Thucydides shows how human nature can cause people under pressure to quickly lower their morals and standards to levels otherwise thought barbaric or brutal, with little afterthought, as well as cause people’s allegiances and friendships to quickly come into question.



Works Cited
Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Rex Warner - translator, Penguin Books, 1972, New York.

Athenian Assembly:
Athenian Hoplites:
Athenian Sculptures:
The Plague of Athens:
Ukraine Crisis:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsJUsgPcJsA