Available Balance
Constitutional Happiness and the Cinema Industry During the 1930s

A bizarre event happened in North Carolina in 1932: namely,  a group of unemployed people invaded a cinema hall  pretending to watch the movie without paying  any entrance fee.  This episode shows how it was very difficult for many Americans who were affected both by the world recession and economic crisis to renounce in what they considered their major pastime.  For many unemployed people the cinema was the only way they knew to spend their spare time, and movie-theater chains were spreading throughout the United States during this period. Carlisle   assumed that the real reason why 100 million Americans went to movies in the early years of the Great Depression was to escape from their present conditions, plunging them completely   into the world of imagination (1).

But, strange to say,   one of the most respected and unwritten rules of the popular cinema were brought into question in the American cinema of the early 1930s : namely, the topical happy ending.   Gold Diggers of 1933 was one of the first Hollywood musicals in which the famous choreographer Busby Berkeley played a major role, and we are surprised by the ending. By breaking radically with the traditional happy ending, this movie left viewers with a bitter note.

But, what a movie like Gold Diggers of 1933  had to do with the Great Depression?

The film begins with a beautiful ballet, emphasizing prosperity and money (Ginger Rogers sang We’re in the Money), interrupted by a police officer arrived to confiscate everything. At this point Barney Hopkins [the producer] has an idea. Indeed, he will not enact the prosperity and money, but the economic misery. But Immediately after having declared this intent, the trajectory of the film seems to forget it, and rather than represent the queues of jobless, it tells a funny Comedy of Errors,  or a Viennese operetta.  The film ends with a triple wedding between   three couples, but the focal points of it are given by two ballets devised by Berkeley’s volcanic mind.  The first and last ballet had a strong relationship with the economic depression gripping America. In her first dance performance Ginger Rogers, leading a chorus of showgirls dressed in costumes of glittering coins, sang  We’re in the money;  but the  idyllic scene ends abruptly when a police officer takes away everything .

In the famous ballet of the Forgotten man the dancers wear costumes that clearly indicate that they are beggars, singing against the difficulties of the Great Depression, with an emphasis on the failure of promises made to the soldiers who fought in World War I.  The film closes with this visual metaphor which tries to represent how the Great Depression has reduced to beggary the American people.  “Still, the Forgotten man sequence provides one of the central examples of the occasional attempts by  Hollywood (especially in the Warner Brothers ‘social problems’  films) in the 1930s to comment on problems associated with the Depression, in carefully packaged way and without suggesting radical solutions, ” M. Keith Booker stated (2).

In fact, the film does not suggest radical solutions,  but only particular politic solutions,  in perfect agreement with President  Roosevelt’s policy :

“It was no secret that the liberal Warner Brothers were enthusiastic supporters of President-elect F. Roosevelt, ” Jeffrey Spivak said (3).   And the Forgotten man sequence echoed Roosevelt’s  words:

“These unhappy times call for the building of plans that rest upon […] the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.”  (Roosevelt’ speech,  1932).

On the other hand,  Berkeley showed  evident  sympathy  for  the New Deal, stating  that  “I wanted to make people happy, if only for an hour.” (4)   So, while most Hollywood film producers were politically conservative and fiercely hostile to the New Deal,   Warner  Brothers  studios were ordered by Harry Warner to support  Roosevelt. For,  an optimistic approach to the Great Depression  appeared  in  Gold Diggers of 1933, which was placed on the market in June of 1933, and

“Its release thus [coincided] with the height of expectation leading up to the first legislation  of the new Congress, and both the anxieties and expectations of this period are refracted in it, ” Babington stated (5).

So Berkeley became a staunch supporter of Roosevelt’s policies, and  dance, choreography and pro-Government policy were  the ingredients that have marked his life and work. Buzz Berkeley attracted the attention  not only of professional choreographers,  but also of  cultural sociologists. Elisabeth Bronfen just  said that “One  of  the  most  frivolous  enactments  of  money  Hollywood  ever  had  to  offer can be found in Busby Berkeley’s Gold Diggers of 1933 […] where the showgirls perform a surplus of money, which gestures towards the pursuit of happiness  the  constitution  declares  to  be  the  right  of  every  American.” (6).

 

Notes

1)      Carlisle R.P.,  The Great Depression and World War II, New York, Infobase Publishing, 2009, pp. 27-28.

2)      Booker  M.K., The Post-utopian Imagination: American Culture in the Long 1950s, London,  Greenwood Press, p. 27.

3)      Spivak J. 2011. Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley,  The University Press of Kentucky, 2011, p. 72.

4)      Ivi, p. VII.

5)      Babington B. & Evans P.W.,  Blue Skies and Silver Linings: Aspects of the Hollywood Musical,  Manchester. Manchester University Press, 1985, p. 48.

6)      Bronfen E. “The Violence of Money”, in  Comunicação & Cultura, 2008,  n. 6, p. 53.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rate This Content
What are Some Thinking a General Question?

Whatever happened to logical thinking? The brain is powerful but when the brain isn’t properly used then the brain can appear to be useless. Thinking is what some aren’t doing. To have sense, logic, reasoning is truly a blessing. There are some refusing to think. “Logical Thinkers come together and build endlessly.” By: Tanikka Paulk. If only there were more thinkers. Some behave as if they’re the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. The information could be in front of the individuals but yet they may removing their thinking caps.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

I’ve observed how some perceive, think, and react. Logic exist but one wouldn’t think so observing the behaviors. There’s more to achieve when there’s more thinking going on. A person doesn’t need to be intelligent but the “ability to think can incur growth.” Some refuse to think because they’ll have less responsibility. There are the ones who’ve learned to think clearer. To become patiently thinkers. Having to work with non thinkers can incur fatigue.

The achievers will be mindful of what the pathways consist of. There’s a lot to be said about thinking. Thoughts and the ability to process informative information. There’s a wider scope. “Looking for the objectives will certainly take thinking.” (Tanikka Paulk). Persons shouldn’t waste their minds. The mind needs to remain active. Senseless behaviors occur but why? Perhaps because individuals are focus on the gaining instead of focusing on knowledge.

The mind can become fulfilled when there is more learning and desire to obtain greater knowledge. Some may become weary of books but there are many benefits to reading and understanding. To comprehend and solve problems. To be a problem solver, investigative research. adding the quality. Introducing new words will allow further thinking growth. Obtaining more experiences. “Being surrounded by” the visions being surrounded by visionaries will develop experience.

The Reading Clinic stated, “Logical thinking is the process in which one uses reasoning consistently to come to a conclusion. Problems or situations that involve logical thinking call for structure, for relationships between facts, and for chains of reasoning that “make sense.”  Logic consist of making sense. To use the sight, eyes, and mind will incur the logistical matters. Advancement occurs when there’s the ability to make sense and think in depth.

Article Written by: Tanikka Paulk

Source “The Reading Clinic”

Rate This Content
What Is Accounting Anyway? – 40 How to analyze a financial statement

Anyone who’s worked in an office at some point or another has had to go to accounting. They’re the people who pay and send out the bills that keep the business running. They do a lot more than that, though. Sometimes referred to as “bean counters” they also keep their eye on profits, costs and losses. Unless you’re running your own business and acting as your own accountant, you’d have no way of knowing just how profitable – or not – your business is without some form of accounting.Anyone who’s worked in an office at some point or another has had to go to accounting. They’re the people who pay and send out the bills that keep the business running. They do a lot more than that, though. Sometimes referred to as “bean counters” they also keep their eye on profits, costs and losses. Unless you’re running your own business and acting as your own accountant, you’d have no way of knowing just how profitable – or not – your business is without some form of accounting.
No matter what business you’re in, even if all you do is balance a checkbook, that’s still accounting. It’s part of even a kid’s life. Saving an allowance, spending it all at once – these are accounting principles.
What are some other businesses where accounting is critical? Well, farmers need to follow careful accounting procedures. Many of them run their farms year to year by taking loans to plant the crops. If it’s a good year, a profitable one, then they can pay off their loan; if not, they might have to carry the loan over, and accrue more interest charges.
Every business and every individual needs to have some kind of accounting system in their lives. Otherwise, the finances can get away from them, they don’t know what they’ve spent, or whether they can expect a profit or a loss from their business. Staying on top of accounting, whether it’s for a multi-billion dollar business or for a personal checking account is a necessary activity on a daily basis if you’re smart. Not doing so can mean anything from a bounced check or posting a loss to a company’s shareholders. Both scenarios can be equally devastating.
Accounting is basically information, and this information is published periodically in business as a profit and loss statement, or an income statement.

Rate This Content
Making new friends in school
The Best Relationships are Built Through Friendship_The Web of Relationships - V (Concluding Part)Image: Pixabay.com

It’s the first day of school, and your child doesn’t know anyone.  They are scared and nervous and don’t know what to expect.  Give them some help finding friends.  If you are taking them into their classroom on the first day, introduce them to the children sitting next to them.  Teachers often put nametags on the desks so you can let your child know the names of the kids sitting by them.  After you tell them the kid’s name, ask them to repeat it back.  If your child cooperates, have them say hi to the other child and tell them their name.  It’s the first day of school, and your child doesn’t know anyone.  They are scared and nervous and don’t know what to expect.  Give them some help finding friends.  If you are taking them into their classroom on the first day, introduce them to the children sitting next to them.  Teachers often put nametags on the desks so you can let your child know the names of the kids sitting by them.  After you tell them the kid’s name, ask them to repeat it back.  If your child cooperates, have them say hi to the other child and tell them their name.   Making new friends are basic social skills that get better with practice.  Help your child develop these skills in other areas such as play lands and parks.  Then when it comes time to make new friends in a classroom, your child has overcome the shyness that is associated with talking to new children.   If you have a child that is really shy, help them to meet new friends by telling other children what your child’s name is and asking for theirs.  You can then introduce the two children and try to get your child to say hello. As your kids find new friends in their classroom, give them opportunities to play outside of school.  If possible, plan playdates for after school and take turns at each house.  Weekends might be a good time to have friends come and play.  Have a few activities available that they can do so they do not get bored. A new trend is to make business cards for your children with their name and phone number on them.  They can give them out to friends that they would like to play with.  This is really great for small children that might not know their phone number too.

 

 

School shopping.  The stores love this time of the year.  They load their shelves with products – full of color and covered in cute patterns and popular pictures.  They tease us with the newest and best products available, guaranteed to save us time and make things simpler.  My children run up and down the aisles in the school section, hoping I will buy them the decorator erasers.   I have a tote in my closet full of school supplies from last year that we didn’t need.  I seem to be collecting them.  We didn’t need them again next year, but rest assured – I will keep them yet another year.  We might want to use the forty red pens that I purchased two years ago. You can be more sensible when purchasing school supplies.  Go with what items you used last year.  Your daughter might want the big, shiny trapper keeper, but did she use one last year?  Did she find it easier to keep subjects in individual folders, or did she like a binder system with folders?  When purchasing supplies, also consider how much of the items will need to go back and forth from home and school.  When you add in books, do you or your children want to be carting around that much weight? Decorator pencils are very cute.  However, the average yellow pencils work just as well.  The same idea applies to other supplies.  Determine what items you need and use, and decide if you will allow a few of the cuter (and not necessary) items to slip into the cart as well.  Packing school supplies to take on the first day of school is part of the excitement.  And that striped eraser just might make someone smile wider.

Rate This Content
Setting limits with clothes shopping

I had a friend that I went to school with.  Her father gave her a credit card to her favorite clothing store, and told her that her limit was $500 – and not to go over it.  Each month her dad would pay off her credit card, giving her another $500 to spend.  She loaded up the credit card each month with new clothes.  She had so many clothes that there were some she had never worn, and she rarely wore the same outfit more than once.  I had a friend that I went to school with.  Her father gave her a credit card to her favorite clothing store, and told her that her limit was $500 – and not to go over it.  Each month her dad would pay off her credit card, giving her another $500 to spend.  She loaded up the credit card each month with new clothes.  She had so many clothes that there were some she had never worn, and she rarely wore the same outfit more than once.   I like simplicity.  I could not understand the point of buying clothes that did not get used.  I wondered what her life would be like when she got married and her dad no longer paid the credit card. I believe it is important to set reasonable limits on our children and their spending habits.  The limit can be whatever you see fit, but should be appropriate for the child and should be able to teach them some value.  Finding value in things helps us to appreciate them more and they will have a greater desire to take care of them. When I was young, we did not have a lot of money, and my mom set a spending limit for my school clothes.  I was given $100 to get clothes with.  It did not matter to her whether I went to a local department store or hit the big brand name stores, the amount was the same.  I would buy my $42 Guess jeans and a few shirts, and that would take up all my money.  I learned early on the lesson of value.  The Guess jeans were really important to me and because they cost so much money, I took care of them.  I could have spent the money better elsewhere, but I still learned from it.

Preschool GoodbyesPreschool Goodbyes
Preschool can be very difficult for young children.  They don’t have a concept of time, so it is hard for them to understand that they will be at the preschool for a portion of the day and then you will pick them up again.  Kids can have a difficult time letting their mom or dad leave.   Everyone has seen scenes where a child is clinging to their parent, tears coursing down their face, and the parent is reluctant to leave, glancing around for some help.  This is not only hard for the child, but also for the parent.  I think we have all seen or faced this experience. Situations like these can be less stressful if you follow a few simple ideas.  If you are starting out at a new preschool, visit before the first day and take a tour of the school.  Tell your child how they get to be big now and go to school.  Show them where their things will belong.  Find out what they will be doing on their first day.  Most schools have a schedule with themes and activities mapped out.  You can talk about how they get to paint today, or they are learning about clowns.  Get your child excited about what they will be doing. When the day arrives to take them to school, don’t make a big deal about saying goodbye.  Help them hang up their things and take them to their teacher.  Give them a quick kiss or hug and say goodbye.  Then turn around and leave.  This is the hardest part – walking away.  Dragging out the goodbyes only makes it more emotional for your child.  If you don’t act like you will be missing them throughout the day, they won’t act that way either.

Rate This Content
Is too much homework a bad thing?

When one of my daughters was in third grade, my husband and I were sitting at parent teacher conference.  I was a little surprised when my husband asked the teacher to give our daughter more homework.  He didn’t feel like she was being challenged enough.  I was also impressed, because I worked nights, and it left my husband in charge of overseeing homework.  I knew he had been paying attention to what the kids were doing.When one of my daughters was in third grade, my husband and I were sitting at parent teacher conference.  I was a little surprised when my husband asked the teacher to give our daughter more homework.  He didn’t feel like she was being challenged enough.  I was also impressed, because I worked nights, and it left my husband in charge of overseeing homework.  I knew he had been paying attention to what the kids were doing. Is there such a thing as too much homework?  I guess to answer this question you have to look at the reasons why you are asking.  Is there not enough time in the day or week to complete it?  Is the due date too soon after assigning the work?  Is your child struggling to understand the subject? Put everything into perspective.  If you child doesn’t have enough time because they have other things going on every night, then you need to decide what is most important.  This is your child’s education, and if their plate is too full, something else should go. If the teacher is not giving a reasonable amount of time to complete the assignment, make sure you know when it was really assigned.  Your child might be telling you a later date because they forgot or have put off doing the work.  If it is really an unreasonable amount of time, talk to the teacher and explain the problem.  They might think the assignment was easier than it really is, or that it didn’t require as much research.  Your child might also have misunderstood the assignment and is making it more difficult. If your child is struggling with the topic, find them some help and see if you can get more time to finish it.  If you can’t provide the help, find a tutor or someone else that can help them.

Rate This Content
Fast Facts for coming into the US
us flag_America Has The 45th USA President_President Donald Trump

 

 

Fast Facts for coming into the US

Business hours usually run from 9AM to 5PM.  On the weekends, Saturdays are usually the same, but Sundays are from 11AM to 6PM. The drinking laws here are a little different from other countries.  The drinking age here in the US is 21 years old.  You may be required to show identification when buying alcohol.   Electric outlets are also different from other countries.  The US uses 110 to 120 volt outlets, and Europe uses 220 to 240 volt outlets.  You will need a 110 adapter to use your electrical appliances here in the US. Consulates are all located in Washington DC.  There are some consulates located in the major US cities.  Washington is the home of the embassies for Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, and Great Britain. Petrol is simply known as gas here in the US.  One gallon of gas is equal to 3.8 liters.  The gas prices in the US rise and fall especially during holidays and summertime. Emergency Services are reached by dialing 911 in any US city.  If you have a health issue, you may want to check ahead and know where the hospitals are located in case you need medical help.  Carry a list of medications and surgical dates as well as your General Doctor’s name and phone number. Time is in Pacific Standard Time in Nevada.  This means Nevada is 3 hours behind New York and in most states in the US, Nevada does observe Daylight Savings Time.   Finding a public bathroom is near to impossible.  You usually can go into a hotel and find one in the lobby.  Restaurants and other food places may not let you use their bathroom unless you are a patron there.  Simply buy a cup of coffee or soft drink.   The US observes many federal holidays and this may mean several government agencies are closed.  Some of these holidays include Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, New Year’s Day, July 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Veteran’s Day.

Rate This Content
Is an Online Education Right for You?

We live in the information age. We have grown so accustomed to information at the speed of light that the prospect of not having immediate access to countless numbers of facts and figures with the mere click of a few buttons for many of us is simply disconcerting. For this reason, it only makes sense that there are many people across the nation and around the world that are embracing the idea of online learning and educational opportunities with every ounce of enthusiasm they can muster.

At the same time there are equal numbers of people around the world who are trying desperately to hold on to traditional methods of dealing with certain things. In fact, some people actually still play solitaire with a deck of playing cards. For people who feel that the information age has left them behind to some degree the chances are quite good that online learning may not be the best available option for you.

Below you will find a few questions that can help you narrow down whether or not you would truly benefit by taking some of the many online courses that are being offered in today’s information age of learning.

1) Are you disciplined? This may seem like such an innocuous question because we would all like to think that we are disciplined to some degree. The problem is that when you are in the driver’s seat for your own education you need to have a little more than some small degree of discipline. You need to be able to meet deadlines, take the tests, and hold yourself responsible for actually learning the information that you need to learn in order to pass the course. There is no one to blame but yourself if you do not manage to do well in your online classes and some people simply do not like being in the drivers seat when it comes to motivating and pacing themselves and their learning practices.
2) How do you learn best? We all have different methods of learning for which we retain information better than others. Online courses are reading intensive. If you have difficulties retaining the information you read you may need to find an alternate learning method or seek solutions with the assistance of the course instructor before moving forward in an online learning environment.
3) Do you have a true desire to succeed? The answer to this question is quite important in determining whether or not online learning is in your best interest. There are many paths you can take in order to achieve the education and degree you desire. This is not the path of the masses, at least not yet. This type of learning, more than any other is easy to give up on through apathy. If you aren’t determined to do the assignments, to study the notes, and to really learn the material that is presented to you then you really do not need to waste your time or the instructor’s time by continually making up excuses. Online courses are largely self-paced but you do have a limited amount of time in which to learn the material before you need to move on. The teacher is responsible for providing you the information and material but you are responsible for everything that happens from that moment on. Are you ready for that responsibility?

Whether you are a first time college student or a professional that is returning to school after a long absence online learning can open new doors of opportunity for your learning pleasure. You must be willing to walk through those doors and take the information that is presented to you however in order to be successful. My sincere hope is that everyone reading this will carefully consider whether or not the lack of structure that many online courses provides is going to be conducive to your specific learning and educational needs before taking the plunge.

Rate This Content
The Process of Applying for VITEEE 2019

VITEEE

To get registered for the VITEEE 2019 you have to fulfill the Eligibility Criteria laid down by Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) which is the exam conducting body for VITEEE. Qualifying this examination will get you into the Chennai and Vellore campuses that are affiliated by the VITs for various B.Tech Programmes. The registration is tentatively going to be conducted by the 1st week of November 2018 using both online and offline mode. Feed all the details during the registration carefully because the mistakes cannot be altered. Also, any mistake in the Application Form can lead to the cancellation of the Application Form. It is advised to fill and submit the Application Form before the last date, i.e., the Last week of February 2019. The full guidelines of how one is supposed to fill the Application Form for the exam are given below. Read and then apply accordingly.

 

Important Dates for VITEEE Application Form 2019

The dates given below are the tentative dates as the exact dates will release after the official announcement.

          Main Event                                                         Important Dates

         Application Form Release Date                    1st week of Nov 2018

Application Form Last Submission Date      Last week of Feb 2019

Slot Booking Date                                           3rd week of Mar 2019

Admit Card Release Date                              3rd week of Mar 2019

Exam Date                                                       1st week of April 2019

 

  • To start with the registration you have to first check out the Eligibility Criteria. If you are fulfilling the given Eligibility Criteria only then apply for the examination. Students applying without fulfilling the Criteria then his/her form will get rejected.

Eligibility Criteria

  1.  The candidates are required to have Degree for Senior Secondary Board Exam. And, there should be Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics/Biology as subjects with a minimum percentage of 60%. For students belonging to SC/ST & North Eastern State, the percentage for the same should be 50%. Students attempting the Senior Secondary Board Examination on this year are also allowed to register for the VITEEE.
  2. The candidate’s DOB should fall on or after 1st July 1997.
  3. Resident/ non-resident of India are eligible to apply for the exam. Foreign National candidates will apply for the Foreign National Application Form.
  • The Registration will start from the 1st week of November 2018 in both offline and online mode. The Online Application forms will be available on the official website and the Offline Application Form can be collected from the exam conducting University (VIT) or from a designated post office.
  • The candidates are supposed to fill in all the details very carefully because there is no chance to alter the mistakes once submitted.
  • Upload the necessary documents after scanning them if you are sending the Forms online. If you are filling the form offline then attach the documents with the Application Form.

Documents:

  1. Recent Passport Size photograph
  2. Signature (Image)
  3. Higher Secondary Board Exam Certificate
  4. Senior Secondary Board Exam Certificate
  • The Application Fee is to be submitted with the Application Form. Forms without the Fee are going to be rejected by the exam conducting body.

Application Fee:

  1. Online Form: Rs. 1150

Offline Form: Rs. 1200

2)   Application Fee can be paid using banking/Credit card or Debit card. The Demand Draft has to be in favor of VIT University, in person, from (any one of the given options) VIT-Chennai Campus,     VIT-Bhopal, VIT-Vellore Campus, VIT-Amaravati. The Application Fee is non-refundable.

  • Go through the Application Form carefully before submitting it. Students filling the online Forms are required to take a print out of the Form. And, the students filling the Offline Application Form have to submit it to the given address: DIRECTOR UG ADMISSIONS, VIT UNIVERSITY, VELLORE 632014.
  • The last date to submit the form is the last week of February 2019. No Forms will be accepted after the last date.
  • After the successful submission of the Application Form, the Slot Booking will start from the 3rd week of March 2019. Students have to select the Slot they want for the examination. Students will receive their Admit Card only after the Slot Booking.
  • The VITEEE Admit Card 2019 will release on the 3rd week of March 2019 after the Slot Booking is conducted. The students will receive the Admit Card online on the official website. The Students have to download the Admit Card and bring it with them on the day of the examination. The examination will be conducted on the 1st week of April 2019 by the exam conducting committee.

 

We hope that it is clear to you that how one is supposed to fill the Application Form for VITEEE. Send us your feedback in the comment box that is given below.

Rate This Content
Solon’s Smart Strategy: an Erudite Sage in Ancient Athens

The ancient sources about Solon are handed down to us both by Herodotus and Plutarch, but also by some fragments of the same Solon. Another source equally important was Aristotle’s Constitution of the Athenians. The great philosopher, despite having lived a couple of centuries later than Solon, gave us important information regarding the Athenian State. As we know from the sources mentioned above, Solon was of noble birth, and apparently, according to the legend, his father’s side derived his lineage from King Codrus.

Solon was a man of extreme erudition, but he not despised the public life, and he chose to give himself the trouble of saving Athens from a political decay that, according to his own poems, would be derived from injustice and oppression perpetrated at the instance of aristocrats on the rural populations of the city and its territory, and that had reduced a large part of peasants to slavery. In Solon’s opinion, the Athenian aristocracy was dragging the city to ruin, fomenting civil wars.

Aristotle all in all confirmed Solon’s statements, underlining the fact that Athens had ended up in the hands of a few aristocrats, while the peasants were sold into slavery along with their wives and children if they could not pay rent, and Solon “was the first to appear as a leader of the people”:

“After this event there was contention for a long time between the upper classes and the populace. Not only was the constitution at this time oligarchical in every respect, but the poorer classes, men, women, and children, were the serfs of the rich. They were known as Pelatae  and also as Hectemori,  because they cultivated the lands of the rich at the rent of a sixth part of the produce. The whole country was in the hands of a few persons, and if the tenants failed to pay their rent they were liable to be haled into slavery, and their children with them. All loans were secured upon the debtor’s person,  a custom which prevailed until the time of Solon, who was the first to appear as a leader of the people.” (1).

Since it is unthinkable that Solon wanted to implement a slightest revolution from below to unseat the aristocracy, he based his Athenian reform agenda on the only possible criterion known in the ancient world, i.e. focusing it on the concept of justice, and being able to impose a total reform project, so avoiding potential civil war between the classes that would have annihilated Athens:

“To the common people I have given such a measure of privilege as sufficed them, neither robbing them of the rights they had, nor holding out the hope of greater ones ; and I have taken equal thought for those who were possessed of power and who were looked up to on account of their wealth, careful that they too should suffer no indignity. I have taken a stand which enables me to hold a stout shield over both groups, and 1 have allowed neither to triumph unjustly over the other.”  (2).

Around the 594 BC, the Areopagus had  therefore the illumination of  granting  to  Solon full powers for one year. The choice of the aristocracy was both very intelligent and prudent, in the sense that the civil war was imminent because of rural population was near economic collapse. Solon showed extreme intelligence, tackling the big problem of the peasants who have become slaves for debts, and arranging their immediate freedom, also providing substantial support from the Treasury of the State. He also added that the debts imposed on free peasants had to be annulled.

Obviously, the great landowners lost a lot of money, but at least the Athenian  State of aristocratic origin  was saved. In short, the so-called seisàchtheia, or shaking off the weights (from séiō (shake), and  áchthos  (weight) was a brilliant idea of Solon. The subsequent division into classes (Knights, Zeugitae, Pentacosiomedimni and Thetis) was also of exceptional importance, but, as we said, what that literally saved Athenian economy from total collapse was the abolition of debts, which did not solve all the problems of Athens, but at least halted the breakup of the city-state due to inevitable civil wars that would had been erupted inevitably because of deep and widespread   social discontent in Athenian society.

Solon was also included among the Seven Sages of the Ancient World:

“Like most of the sages of those times,  he cultivated chiefly that part of philosophy which treats of civil obligations. His physics were of a very simple and ancient cast, as appears from the following lines:

 

From cloudy vapours falls the treasured snow,

And the fierce hail: from lightning’s rapid

blaze

Springs the loud thunder, winds disturb the

deep

Than whose unruffled breast, no smoother

scene

In all the works of nature

Upon the whole, Thales seems to have been the only philosopher who then carried his speculations beyond things in common use while, the rest of the wise men maintained their character by rules for social life.” (3).

Solon finally had handed down to us a moral sentence that he cared very much, because it kept him out of scrapes when he ruled Athens:

‘‘ Obey the magistrates whether their commands be just or unjust.”

Solon was a man truly wise, and also very smart.

 

Notes

1)      Aristotle on the Athenian Constitution, Translated with Introduction and notes by F.G. Kenyon, London, G. Bells & Sons, 1912, p. 2.

2)      This fragment of Solon was translated by Ivan M. Linforth, Solon the Athenian, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1919, p.73.

3)      Plutarch’s Lives of Illustrious Men : Translated from the Original Greek by J. Langhorne & W. Langhorne, London, 1853, Vol. I,  p. 92-93.

Rate This Content