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The Mongols and the French, Essay Example

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Essay

The Mongols and the French—The Agents of Social and Political Change

Foreign invasion is widely deemed as an act of aggression and oppression of a stronger force subduing weaker entities and grabbing their resources for personal gain. However, in the case of the invasion of Mongols of China and Russia and the invasion of the French of their neighboring European countries, a particular light on this act can be seen positively favoring the interest of the weaker countries. Indeed, the action of the Mongols and French is considered a form of aggression resulting to tumultuous violence and unacceptable circumstances for their respective conquered colonies and likewise gaining valuable resources and manpower for the conqueror’s interest on the cost of hindering growth and development of the defeated side. Looking on a wider perspective though, over the course of the occupation of in these two key invasions, there were also significant positive impacts that were left on the colonies of each party which included positive gains in economic, social and political components in the colonies.

First of all, the Mongols had a positive social impact on the colonized people during their reign in Russia.  If it was not for the peaceful coexistence between Russian and Mongols, there would not be a birth of what is called a Muscovite State. The Muscovite people were proud of such character traits as “steadiness, conviction, strength and religiosity” (Document 2).The Mongols introduced Russians to the Orient. In addition, the Mongols made it possible for the Russians to embark on a business oriented relationship with the Orient(Lane, 2004).Doing so improved Russia’s cash flow. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the Orient is defined as all the countries that are east of Europe.The Mongols reinforced Russian cultural identity as it existed in the East and helped to keep it separate from the influence of the ‘Latin West” (Document 2). Indeed, the dominant occupation of the Mongols in Russia has opened significant business opportunities and better cultural perspective on the colonized party gaining positive influences on their less than ideal position.

With regards to the invasion of the Mongols on China, similar trend likewise occurred wherein the former had also significant positive social and economic impact on the invaded party.The Mongols, led by Kublai Khan, appreciated the Chinese culture. This is described in Document 3: “he showed appreciation for Chinese culture.”Kublai Khan did a lot for the Chinese people during his reign of occupancy. He showed them respect by renovating their devastated country. The Chinese should actually be grateful to the Mongols because the latter improved China’s economic standing by renovating the Grand Canal, which was essential for business.Despite many of the negative connotations surrounding the Mongols, it can actually be said sociologically and politically speaking that they ruled China in a fair and just manner (May, 2004). Considering the impact of their invasion, it can likewise be said that the reign of the Mongols in China has provided a significant positive effect on the growth and progress that the Chinese civilization has experienced in areas such as the political management and economic systems that were brought to China by the Mongols.

Finally, the French, led by Napoleon, had a positive political and economic impact upon the conquered people. The Napoleonic Code, which was geared toward encouraging equality for all, no matter economic standing or religious beliefs, influenced the legal system of such countries as “Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Illyria”(Document 8).The following passage describes the gist of the Napoleonic Code: “It cemented the ideas of freedom of person and of contract (including the right to enter any occupation), equality of all Frenchmen, and freedom of civil society from ecclesiastical [religious] control. As the first truly modern code of laws, the Code Napoléon for the first time in modern history gave a nation a unified system of law applicable to all citizens without distinction.Napoleon advocated the importance of family” (Document 8).The Napoleonic Code promised equality and justice for all. To give a little historical background, the birth of the Napoleonic Code was caused by the injustices prevalent in the French society in the past ranging from unfavorable capitalistic interest, feudal greed, disparity in the resource distribution, and others (Frey & Frey, 2004). Both the French Revolution and the Napoleonic sought to rectify the said problems thus largely eliminating social and economic injustices.  The French Revolution happened because working class people were tired of being mistreated just because of their economic standing. The working class people were tired of being treated like second class citizens. The purpose of the Napoleonic code, which followed the French Revolution was ultimately to give everyone, no matter their economic standing, equal rights (Chamber, 2003). It was no longer that only the economically advantaged, like the upper class, were to have more privileges than the economically disadvantaged like the poor.

Still, considering though the mode and act perpetuated by the Mongols and French in their invasion, the resulting violence in the process of invasion and sacrifices endured by the conquered parties during the reign of their conquerors cannot be overlooked in the argument. Resources from Russia, China, and the large part of Europe were still taken by foreign invaders namely the Mongols and French for their own growth and power in which the cost was severely detrimental to the oppressed party. On the account of looking into the positive influences, it cannot likewise be denied that some of the deemed impacts previously mentioned were produced based on the perspective of the Mongols and French on their attempt to bring light to their respective political actions. In a way, this paper does not aim to justify nor castigate the invasion of the two mentioned civilizations but instead to look into the effects of their reign of occupancy with their respective colonized lands on an unbiased and equal perspective.

While these invasions in Russia, China and most of Europe are key to understanding Mongolian and French rule throughout the world, it is important to understand that many of the documents and sources written about these subjects have strong bias in favor or against Mongolian rule.  For instance, Document 1 primarily reviews the invasion in Russia as a disastrous event that only led to chaos and destruction on Russian cities.  While this may have been true during the invasion, the document’s bias restricts our ability to see that Mongolian rule actually provided many benefits to the Russian people economically, socially and politically, which is not evident in Document 1.  In the end, perhaps Document 3 is the best example of non-bias in all of the documents reviewed.  The authors present the facts of Genghis Khan and Kublai Kai as leaders without providing opinion or a biased representation of their actions.  The reader is not swayed to think of these individuals as war mongers or murderers; instead, the authors concentrate on their leadership abilities and stick to the facts.

In conclusion, the Mongolian and French invasions provided a multitude of economic and social changes within China, Russia and throughout Europe.  Many of these changes have left permanent marks upon the lives of the people some of which can still be seen in their societies today.  The Mongolian and the French invasions were not welcomed in either of their respective reigns of occupancy; however, they ultimately became pleasant for the areas which were colonized.  Although the invasions may be looked at negatively in the force and destruction that was caused initially, both invasions turned out to be highly positive for the colonized people and these societies grew socially, economically and politically.

Bibliography

Chamber, James. The Devil’s Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe. Book Sales, 2003.

Frey, Linda S., and Frey, Marsha L. The French Revolution (Greenwood Guides to Historic Events 1500-1900). Greenwood: Annotated Edition, 2004.

Lane, George. Genghis Khan and Mongol Rule. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2004.

May, Timothy. The Mongol Art of War. Westholme Publishing, Yardley. 2007.

Saunders, J.J. The History of the Mongol Conquests. Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1971,

Wikipedia.org. Orient. September 25, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orient. October 7, 2011.

Wikipedia.org. Mongols in China. September 3, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongols_in_China. October 7, 2011

Wikipedia.org. Napoleon. October 5, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon. October 7, 2011.

Wikipedia.org. French Revolution. September 30, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Revolution. October 7, 2011.

Wikipedia.org. Napoleonic Code. September 27, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleonic_Code. October 7, 2011.

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