Comparing ‘Mona Lisa’ with ‘Self-Portrait with flowers’

On July 18th, 2019, Posted by Lifesaver Essays

After visiting the websites, two unique ancient works of art were observed and used for this analysis. The two works include Self-Portrait with flowers (1493) painted by Albrecht Dürer and Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. Comparing the two works, it is notable that they rely on the style. This includes the use of freehand through which the contrast is carefully realized.

Mona Lisa

The work Mona Lisa is symbolic of beauty and human emotion. This makes it one of the world’s best and widely admired works. The meaning of the work is the human emotion of love and affection. The painter also wanted to examine human emotion through his work of art and deliver something more meaningful to the audience (Lagerlund, 2010). This has also been attached to the aesthetic values of human art and beauty.

Self-Portrait with flowers

On the other hand, the Self-Portrait with flowers (1493) created by Albrecht Dürer is another ancient work of art that relies on a similar style of art. The painter relays the intended meaning using the painting through which he presents his own portrait to the audience. The idea and renaissance movement are notable in the two works with a small bit of romanticism. This is something acknowledgeable because it presents the best ideas that are delivered to the audience. Through the use of this approach, the painters have managed to inform the viewer about the aesthetic values (Lagerlund, 2010). This makes it possible to appreciate beauty and painting.


The other important thing in Mona Lisa and Self-Portrait with flowers is their form. The viewer observed that the two ancient paintings are presented in two dimensions. This was a unique form characterizing most of the works of art produced during the ancient to the renaissance period in the world of art. The painters have used fine brushing to come up with these artworks thereby making it possible for the paintings to produce the intended ideas and information. The painters have used brushes on oil canvas. This approach is regarded as effective in the world of art simply because it makes it possible for the image to come out clearly and promote its permanence. Through the technique of fine brushing, the painters have managed to come up with the best works of art that have continued to entertain the viewers (Szondu, 2006).

Color variants

After examining these paintings carefully, it is notable that they painters have relied on different color variants to present the intended ideas and shape. For instance, Leonardo has relied on black and variations of brown to paint the face of the woman and black for her clothes in Mona Lisa. These colors have been properly matched to present the intended ideas to the viewer. Through the use of color, the painters have been able to present the texture and form (Shaw, 2010). The use of colors has helped the painters to come up with the best idea for the targeted audience.

Throughout the paintings, the painters have used different color shades and lines to create form and texture. Through the use of black color, it has been possible to create form and value. This has made it possible to achieve the intended idea. The colors and lines are also used effectively to create balance. The use of shape is applied systematically to depict the intended idea to the audience.

The idea of romanticism

With these two works, the subject matter remains with the painters trying to create value and message (Mark, 2010). This is through the use of different artistic approaches, colors, shades, and contrast. The idea of romanticism is presented clearly in the two works. However, it is necessary to observe that the subject matter of the work of art has not been literally presented. This is because the painters have relied on specific ideas and artistic devices to achieve the intended subject matter.

Throughout these works, the audience observes that the two works are representational and objective. They present a useful theme of romanticism and human emotion. It helps explore the idea of human emotion through the use of different approaches in art and use of color. The painters have used human passports as symbolic of human emotion and romance. The viewer is encouraged to think beyond the idea of art because it presents something greater and meaningful that art itself (Walker, 2009).

These works of art function as ancient materials trying to inform the audience about the relevance of works of art to depict human thoughts, emotions, and eternity.  These issues make these works of art meaningful and the reason they have been considered as some of the greatest works of art ever.


Lagerlund, H. (2010). Encyclopedia of Medieval Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mark, D. (2010).Looking at Greek Art. New York: Wiley and Sons.

Shaw, W. (2010).Possessors and Possessed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Szondu, P. (2006). On Textual understanding and other essays. London: Longman.

Walker, J. (2009). Visual Culture: An Introduction. London: Longman.

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Booth and the assassination of Lincoln

Last updated on July 18th, 2019 at 04:54 am


Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by the killers, among them, John Wiles Booth. Although Booth was a member of the Confederacy, it is not clear whether he acted on the compulsion of the group in which he belonged or on his own accord under the strong influence of his childhood experiences. The history of his life tells of twisting circumstances that possibly made him be Lincoln’s assassin. The assassination of Lincoln was not as simple as it looked but it opened the eyes of a deeper analysis of what may have crystallized in the mind of the murderers, chiefly, Booth before the act.

Booth’s life experiences

Booth was said to be eccentric by his brother and sister. He has served in the Richmond Grays where he witnessed the murder of John Brown. This experience may have made him develop confidence and desire to avenge himself for the woes he and his people were facing. It is reported that at that time, the country was at war with itself.

Lincoln supported the northern part while Booth hailed from the southern. This is the reason he hatched plans to kidnap the president in return for the soldiers who were held by the government at the time. Booth was quoted in his diary as being impenitent for his crimes and believed he did justice for the people that were under the alleged yoke of the government.

Booth’s view on slavery

It is understood that the country was having slaves at the time and the issue was not widely upheld throughout the country (Booth & Farjeon, 1971). The captured soldiers were to be the slaves in the government and Booth’s actions may have implied his opposition to the idea of slavery. He wanted slavery to be abolished in the country. His joining Confederacy did not influence him to change what was hatched in his mind long before.

There is further evidence of was motive in the murder of the president in the words of the killer after committing the felony” “”Sic Semper Tyrannis!”, which meant “Thus always to tyrants’. This may have meant that Lincoln’s rule was likened tyrannical. But the real cause is that Lincoln and Booth were from separate parts of the warring parties, northern and southern respectively. Major atrocities that were committed before by allegedly the government were blamed on Lincoln. An example is a raid on Richmond and Judson Kilpatrick.

Booth had earlier recruited people who would mastermind the assassination of the president, showing actually, that personal intentions played more than what was blamed on the Confederacy. He joined the Virginia military and smuggled drugs for the Confederacy. These actions testify the fact that he actually hated Lincoln. His multiple skills in military, espionage and acting in addition to his hatred made him a potential killer of the president. His hatred for the Republican Party also means he might have hated everything else that the president did and he was determined to cap it by killing Lincoln (Simkin nd).

McMeans (2010) and Oliver and Marion (2010) noted that Lincoln was killed because he was about to break the codes in which Blacks were enslaved and had no voting rights. Booth alleged that black slavery was a blessing to America, should have continued.


Of the many conspiracies that account for the death of Lincoln, the plot by Confederacy is much credited owing to incidents in the country and evidence linking booth to the Confederacy that actually killed the president. Despite the fact that Booth was evidential of the Confederacy, basing on the letters that linked to the group, he had personal accounts and motivations before the act.


Clarke, Asia Booth and Eleanor Farjeon (1971) The Unlocked Book; a memoir of John Wilkes Booth. The University of Michigan.

Stephen L  Harris (1892) Assassination of Lincoln a history of the great conspiracy trial of the conspirators by a military commission and a review of the trial of John H Surratt

The plot to kill Lincoln. Web. Retrieved from: <http://www.angelfire.com/my/abrahamlincoln/Plot.html>

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Teenage Pregnancy Initiative

Last updated on July 18th, 2019 at 04:55 am

The chosen topic of interest is teenage pregnancy.  This is an issue that needs to be handled with the seriousness that it deserves. Although most teenagers never plan to get pregnant, we need to appreciate the fact that many of them end up pregnant anyway.  In addition, teenage mothers and the unborn child could also be faced with additional health risks (Hamilton, Martin & Ventura 2) because most of the time, teenagers rarely get timely prenatal care. As a result, they are more predisposed to developing pregnancy-related complications such as high blood pressure.

Teenage Pregnancy Informative statistics 

On the other hand, the baby is faced with complications like low birth weight and premature birth.  Compared with other developed countries the United States has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates.  In 2010 alone, some of the numbers of infant births in the U.S was pegged at 367,752 (Hamilton et al. 3).  This represented a 9 % reduction in teenage births, compared to 2009. The drop is attributed to the increased use of contraceptives.

In spite of the apparent decrease in teenage pregnancies in recent years, we also need to appreciate the fact that teens are sexually active (Martinez, Copen and Abma 31), and that the issues of teen pregnancy and the subsequent role of childbearing involve profound economic and social costs. It is important therefore to adopt strategies that will result in a drastic reduction in teenage pregnancies.  There is a need, therefore, to take proper measures to ensure that we prevent teenage pregnancy. The current essay shall endeavor to examine the issues of teenage pregnancy and how it should be prevented.

The Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI)

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI) became law after President Obama appended his signature into the bill in December 2009. The initiative is aimed at minimizing the rates of teenage pregnancies and births in the targeted communities. In addition, the initiative also hopes to increase the number of teenagers who choose to either abstain from having sex, or who opt to delay in having sexual intercourse.  The TPPI has become a key turning point in as far as the sex education policy in the United States is concerned. In the 2010 fiscal year, the government set aside $ 114.5 million to go towards the initiative (Wind para. 4).

Both private and public entities can benefit from the fund as long as they are able to come up with age-appropriate and accurate programs aimed at minimizing teen pregnancy, along with risk behaviors associated with it. The fund also covers the costs of administering as well as assessing the program. There are certain elements of the intuitive that I would wish to keep and there are others that need to be changed.

The allocation of the grant is in three tiers. In the first tier, $ 75 million has been set aside to finance the replication of evidence-based programs.  These are the programs that have undergone a rigorous assessment in order to determine that they are effective enough to lower teenage pregnancy (Advocates for Youth para. 5). They also include behavioral risk factors that often accompany teenage pregnancy, as well as additional risk factors.

The Different Tiers 

I would hope to keep the proposals of Tier 1 because it addresses the key factors that affect teenage pregnancy and which if we do not address, can result in an escalation of teenage pregnancies. Under Tier 2, the government has already set aside $ 25 million every year (Wind para. 6).  This money is often provided in the form of demonstration and research grants to develop, refine, test, and replicate extra innovative strategies and models with a view to preventing teenage pregnancy.

This is a very crucial area but my worry is that not enough money has been set aside for this particular tier.  As such, I would wish to propose that the grant be doubled to $ 50 million so that more innovative strategies and models can be developed and enhanced in order to contain teenage pregnancy.

The rest of the funding has been set aside for research, technical assistance, and evaluation.  It is important to ensure that more money is allocated to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Evaluation program in the coming fiscal year. This is because the ongoing evaluation efforts are crucial in ensuring that we reduce unwanted teen pregnancy, various sexual risk behaviors, as well as STIs. Besides, it is important to ensure that teens have access to complete and accurate information regarding sex education.

This is the only way that we are going to assist them to postpone partaking in sexual activities. To do so, we require funding related research. Teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S are among the highest in the developed countries (Lorrie et al. 47). Of the nearly 750,000 teenagers who get pregnant, over 80 percent of them are unwanted pregnancies. With the right research, we can be able to reverse this trend significantly.

The TPPI – a welcome respite 

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative has been hailed as a welcome respite to most of the conventional, ineffective and rigid abstinence-only programs.  The new initiative appears to be both effective and promising as it encompasses both absence and the use of contraceptives as well.  I would not wish to have this section changed on grounds of its effectiveness. Previous programs aimed at reducing teenage pregnancies have not worked simply because they preached against abstinence but out of curiosity, teenagers still got pregnant. Perhaps it would be good to perch abstinence but also create awareness on the use of contraceptives in case anything goes wrong.

The new initiative is also age-appropriate because unlike children, teenagers are already aware of the changes that go on in their bodies and there is need therefore to ensure that sex education interventions are in tandem with the changes and developments experienced by young people. Therefore, teaching about abstinence could be suitable for say, lower grade children, because very few of them are likely to have sex. However, as the children grow older, they are more likely to become increasingly sexually active. As such, the sex education given to them should be less about abstinence and more about the use of contraceptives.

I also wish to propose that part of the funding be directed towards public and private schools in order to finance comprehensive sex education programs in schools. This money would then be used to provide learning materials, programs, and personnel involved in enhancing sex education.  Research shows that comprehensive ex education programs can lower sex-related risk behaviors among students such as increasing the use of contraceptives and condoms, delaying sexual intercourse, as well as reducing the number of sexual encounters among students who are already sexually active ( Douglas 15).


The issue of teenage pregnancy is a real concern for everybody. As such, the various sectors of society should be involved in the initiative to create awareness about the negative consequences of teenage pregnancy to the teenage mother and the child as well and also in order to sustain teen pregnancy prevention strategies. In addition, sex education programs should embrace abstinence and the use of contraceptives, as the child grows older. Ideally, community-based clinical services should be linked to teen pregnancy prevention efforts. More funding should also be provided to facilitate further research into the area.


Douglas, Kirby.  Emerging Answers 2007: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Hamilton, Brady, Martin, Joyce and Ventura, Stephen.  Births: Preliminary data for 2010. Nat Vital Stat

Rep., 60.2(2011): 2-3.

Lorrie, Gavin, et al. Sexual and Reproductive Health of Persons Aged 10–24 Years – United

States, 2002–2007. Surveillance Summaries, 58.6(2009): 47.

Martinez, Gladys, Copen, Casey and Abma , Joyce. Teenagers in the United States: Sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing, 2006–2010. National Survey of Family Growth. National Center for Health Statistics. National Vital Health Stat., 23. 31(2011):3-6.

Wind, Rebecca.  New white house initiative overhauls U.S. teen pregnancy prevention efforts. 2010. Web. 02 July 2012. http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2010/03/22/index.html.

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Sexually Transmitted Infections: HPV

Last updated on July 18th, 2019 at 04:54 am

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection found in adults worldwide. There are two types of HPV, i.e., HPV-16 and HPV-18. These two types cause around 80% of anal cancers, 70% of cervical cancers, 60% of vaginal cancers, 40% of vulvar cancers, and some genital warts (De Vuyst, Clifford, Nascimento, Madeleine,&Franceschi, 2009). Currently, there are two vaccines in the market, i.e., Gardasil and Cervarix.


Is HPV vaccine safe?

The first and foremost question that arises in our minds before accepting any drug/vaccine/treatment is “Is it safe?” The answer to this question with respect to the vaccine lies in the fact that before any vaccine or drug is released into the market, it must be licensed by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its safety and efficacy. Both the HPV vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, have been approved by FDA after testing them on thousands of people in the United States and other countries. These two vaccines are licensed for use in females of age 9 through 26 years.

So far, there are no serious adverse reactions reported. However, there are some common side-effects such as pain at the site of injection, fever, nausea, brief soreness, dizziness, and maybe other local symptoms. Fainting has been observed after vaccination in adolescents. As a precaution, adolescents and adults should be lying down or seated during and after vaccination for about 15 minutes to avoid fainting and injuries thereafter (National Cancer Institute, 2011).


Is HPV vaccine recommended for men and older women?

Men with weak immune systems, homosexual and bisexual men are more likely to develop HPV related infections. HPV vaccination has been found to be effective in men and boys aged 9 through 26 years. The vaccination has been approved by the FDA for the prevention of anal cancer and genital warts. The 3-dose series of HPV vaccine reduces the probability of acquiring genital warts. However, this vaccination is not the recommended routine of administration to men (CDC, 2011).

At present, the vaccine is recommended only for men and women in the age group of 9 to 26 years, though women over 26 years can also benefit from the vaccine. The vaccine is age limited because women are already exposed to HPV types by the time they are 26. This vaccination has the highest benefit when given to younger women less than 26 years of age. Although studies have shown that vaccination is effective in women >26 years, older women (>26 years) are not recommended to take the vaccines, rather they can go for the diagnosis of cervical cancer (CDC, 2011).

Can HPV vaccine be taken during pregnancy?

HPV vaccination is not licensed for administration to pregnant women. These vaccines have not been sufficiently tested in pregnant women. Therefore, women should not take HPV vaccination during pregnancy. More research is still needed to be carried out to test the safety of this vaccination in pregnant women though some studies have shown that the vaccination does not cause any harm to the babies born to women who got vaccinated during pregnancy.

However, a pregnant woman must not take any dose of HPV vaccination until her pregnancy is completed. If a woman realizes that she has taken a dose of HPV vaccine while pregnant, she should call the pregnancy registry and learn more about it (CDC, 2011).

Note: Sexually active people can lower the chances of HPV infection by using condoms with every sex act.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). CDC.

De Vuyst, H., Clifford, G. M., Nascimento, M. C., Madeleine, M. M.,&Franceschi, S. (2009). Prevalence and type distribution of human papillomavirus in carcinoma and intraepithelial neoplasia of the vulva, vagina and anus: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Cancer124 (7): 1626–1636.

National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. (2011). Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines. National Cancer Institute.

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Cognitive development

Last updated on July 18th, 2019 at 04:55 am

Cognitive development is a type of cognitive psychological thought that refers to the changes and stability in mental abilities, such as learning, attention, memory, language, thinking, reasoning, and creativity. It is a branch of psychology that majorly deals with all the processes and changes that occur in mental skills and abilities of children over specified periods of time. Even though many psychology scholars are familiar with the process of cognitive development, they are unable to refute the compelling ideological differences between Lev Vygotsky’s and Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development in infants (Papalia, Olds, & Feldma, 2007). This is a reflective paper on how interesting the theoretical conflicts were to me.

Piaget’s theory of cognitive development

Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development was organized into two distinct parts including (1) The processes children use as they construct their knowledge of the world and (2) The four stages of (these stages majorly described how people’s intelligence transform as they mature) cognitive development which largely differed with Lev’s cognitive theories as follows.

According to Piaget, cognitive growth basically occurs through three interconnected processes namely; organization, adaptation, and equilibration. It was interesting to further describe these processes in detail to grasp the psychological views of Jean Piaget and be able to fully appreciate his model of cognitive development (Fetsco&McClure, 2005). Through the organization, it was interesting to learn that the grouping and combining of various childhood experiences provide children with new and more advanced ways to understand their environments for instance when a child saw both a cat and a dog at home, they quickly established that they were human-friendly (pets).

The process of equilibrium

The developing child, therefore, had to adapt to always seeing the pets around her/him. However, it was evident that the daunting cognitive development process according to Piaget was the process of equilibrium, where the developing child had to reach only after assimilating and accommodating their ever-strange schemes in order to maximally understand their “new” world and its environs. The whole process became much complicated for the infants especially, when Piaget summarized his model with equilibration (the process of movement from equilibrium to disequilib­rium and back to equilibrium again by the kids) enhance their progression toward increasingly complex thoughts(Eggen&Kauchak, 2007).

On the contrary, it was interesting to learn Lev Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development in children and realize the conflicting ideologies between the two elaborate Psychological theories(Papalia, Olds, &Feldma, 2007). Even though his theory was marred with many assumptions, it was pleasing to learn that Vygotsky’s theory was built on the principle that culture is the prime determinant of cognitive development and that the children’s learning experiences lead to their cognitive development.

Vygotsky’s theory on cognitive development

Lev Vygotsky’s theory was fashioned with a common belief that an individual’s development would be incomprehensible without reference to the social and cultural context within which such development is rooted. Unlike Piaget or Bruner, Vygotsky focused on the mechanism of the development, excluding distinguishable developmental stages (Lahey, 2004). However, it was interesting to come to terms with his Scaffolding theory he used to explain that cognitive development in zones of proximal development stresses the role of a social partner of the student (a teacher or a more skilled peer or friend).

In the Scaffolding principle, I learnt that the instructor becomes a supportive tool for the children and students in the zone of proximal development. He adds that the characteristics of an ideal teacher are similar to those of a scaffold which: (1) Provides support (2) Functions as a tool (3) Extends the range of the worker (4) Allows to the learner to accomplish a task that was otherwise impossible.

This implies that In Vygotsky’s view; learning and cognitive development are interactive, interpersonal activities where both: Instructor and learners co-construct the solution to a problem unequally amongst themselves based on their respective levels of understanding(Santrock, 2008). Basically, it was evident that this psychological mechanism aims at creating external activities that will be later internalized by developing child or the learning student to boost their mental development.


Eggen, P., &Kauchak, D., Educational psychology windows on classrooms, (7th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 2007. Print.

Fetsco, T., & McClure, J., Educational psychology an integrated approach to classroom decisions. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 2005. Print.

Lahey, B. B., Psychology: an introduction,(8th ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill. 2004. Print.

Papalia, D. E., Olds, S. W., &Feldma R. D., Human development. (10th ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill. 2007. Print.

Santrock, J. W.,Educational psychology,(3rd ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill. 2008. Print.

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The founding fathers of America

Last updated on July 18th, 2019 at 04:55 am

Central to American political history is the role played by the founding fathers. The phrase founding fathers is used to describe the political leaders who played a big role in the revolution days and establishing the political structures just after independence. The list of the founding fathers is long ranging from those who took part in the Declaration of Independence, those who drafted the articles of confederation as well as those who were involved in writing the American constitution. Historians have expanded this list to include even those who played a big role in entrenching the Bill of rights to the constitution and those who played a big role in the consequent amendment to the constitution. Though the list is long, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson stand out as the men who played the most important role in the establishment of the American Nation.

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) might not have played an open role like George Washington who was physically on the battlefield, but nonetheless greatly influenced the establishment of the American nation in the staterooms and halls of governments. The current United States of America owes a lot to his intellect and his diplomatic skills. His exemplary abilities in writing, politics, music and scientific innovation helped in shaping the current United States.

His central role in revolution will be remembered by the presence of his signature in four of the most important documents: Declaration of independence (1776), the constitution (1787), Treaty of Alliance with France (1778) and the Treaty of Paris (1783) (Stanfield, 2001). He was an active member in drafting the constitution of the United States. Besides all the other qualities, Franklin used his negotiation skills to bring France into supporting the American Revolution. Franklin constantly persuaded Britain to abandon its colonial policy. It will be remembered that it is Franklin, while in his quasi-diplomatic mission to France, who managed to convince France to sign a military agreement against Britain (Stanfield, 2001). This was not a simple task to any other person, but Franklin, thank to his intellects, negotiation skills, charm, and public goodwill, managed to convince France to support America in its revolutionary war.

Besides diplomatic activities, Franklin also remained an active public servant. In revolutionary times, Franklin assumed the role of an elder statesman who offered guidance to young revolutionaries. The fact that the leadership of America remained in Philadelphia, where Franklin was up to late 1700 only to move to Washington D.C later is a clear picture of how he influenced American politics of that time.

George Washington

To say that George Washington (1732-1799) was the central figure in the American Revolution is an understatement. The political activities of George Washington, which climaxed by him becoming the first American president should not be used to obscure the subtle role he played as the first American intelligence chief and his role in the battlefield. His intelligence skills came in handy when he was the general of the Continental Army. Without his intelligence in the army and great commanding skills, the Continental Army could not have defeated the mightier British army (Meacham, 2007). In instances where any other general could have retreated, Washington urged his soldiers to move on. It is no wonder that Washington features prominently in commemoration of American independence. Most of the Americans often refer to him as “the father of our country”. Maybe if it were not George Washington, the American nation would have attained independence much later like the other British colonies.

After the victory, Washington presided over the Constitution Convention. In American politics, by virtue of being the first president, Washington is the person who first established that a president should only rule for a limited time (Burke, 2007). Unlike other nations where the founding father continued to cling to power, Washington established that leadership is not a reserve of only one person but should circulate among the populace. This must be a very wise idea that continues to be advocated in many democracies around the world.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson is the other indispensable figure in the American Revolution. Many people will be surprised that unlike other nation-states like the Europeans, the formation of the American state is different (Meacham, 2007). While the European nations had their source of national identity in language, ethnicity, and religion, the American nation is established on a set of beliefs that were well captured by Thomas Jefferson as the “self-evident truths” (Appleby, 2003). It does not take a blood relation or genealogy for one to become an American; rather it is a belief in values of the American nations. Jefferson is an important person who helped in entrenching these liberal ideas in the American constitution in the form of the Bill of Rights. If it were not for these common values that Americans have continued to hold on, maybe the nation could have disintegrated into the like of the East European nations like the Soviet Union. Jefferson will continue to be remembered for his central role in drafting the declaration for independence as well as an accomplished statesman who rose to the helm of American political leadership.


Appleby, J. (2003) Thomas Jefferson: The American Presidents Series: The 3rd President, 1801-1809. Los Angeles: Henry Holt and Company

Burke, J. (2007). American Connections: The Founding Fathers, Networked.  New Jersey: Simon and Schuster.

Meacham, J. (2007). American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. New York: Random House Publishing Group.

Stanfield, J. (2001). America’s Founding Fathers — Who are They? NewYork: Universal-Publishers.

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Why colonialism ended in Africa?

Last updated on July 18th, 2019 at 04:55 am

Western colonialism experienced a set back during the period of the Second World War because of the development of nationalism. World War II itself helped to enhance the decolonization as planners got confused about pace, nature, and method of removal from the empire as they focused on external and internal pressure (Ferguson, 2003).

The Second World War empowered African nationalist movements as well as combining their sentiments about their colonial masters, hence, the experience earned by the servicemen and guards involved in the war were empowered psychologically. This is reflected when they fought for others’ benefit while they did not have what they fought for back at home thus projecting the white as equal to them and the need for independence. The war had an effect on economic, political and social effects on Africans view hence leading to prolonged anti-colonial militancy, which triggered rural instability(Lipton,1986). This is reflected when both British and French colonies enacted forced labor to counter food shortage at war leading to the development of trade unions in Africa which enhanced strikes after the war, such boycotts like the 1945 Nigeria postal, railway and employees boycott. This reduced the Colonials’ efficiency in operation.

The International intervention such as the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union enhanced the decolonization of Africa. The new superpower United States was against the colonialism practice as it hindered free trade and confidence, a concept they upheld in Atlantic Charter in 1941 while Soviet Union upheld the Marxist concept that reflected it as the worst level of capitalism (Lipton, M. 1986).

Moreover, there is also the United Nations anti-colonial position that was enacted with a focus on global peace in 1945. The decolonization calls were presented as per the U.N. charter, article 73, on nations, still holding on their colonies hence developing political democracy and independent government while at the same time denouncing the legalization of colonialism. Furthermore, the United Nation empowered nationalist with international moral governance and a strong forum to use in check the powers of imperials hence disabling the colonialism. The Atlantic Charter, article III enacted by the United States President Roosevelt and British Prime minister Churchill gave citizens of nations freedom of political democracy hence empowering and protecting the colonized territories (Lipton, M. 1986).



Feinstein, C. H. (2005). An economic history of South Africa: Conquest, discrimination and development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ferguson, N.( 2003). Empire: How Britain made the modern world. London: Allen Lane.

Kanogo, T. (1987). Squatters and the roots of Mau Mau: 1905-63. London: James Currey.

Lipton, M. (1986). Capitalism and apartheid: South Africa, 1910-1986. 2nd edition. Aldershot: Gower/Maurice Temple Smith.

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Eating Christmas in the Kalahari

Last updated on July 18th, 2019 at 04:58 am

Eating Christmas in the Kalahari (1969) is an article by Richard Borshay Lee, a renowned anthropologist. The article exposes the stark differences in culture between the west and the people of Africa. It is an exposition of Lee’s ethnographic study on the Kalahari Bushmen culture.  It discusses how the Bushmen’s independent spirit has held together their culture of living in Kalahari amidst the growing influence of other powerful cultures. Although Lee had lived with his subjects for three years, he had not come to learn some of their distinct characteristics.

Learning it the hard way

He had to learn it the hard way. This is an indication that communities have their own substantive way of communicating, enforcing and passing down their culture to incoming generations. Any person who wants to understand another group’s culture cannot do so from an outside look but through active participation.

Lee only learns the real Bushmen culture only after being subjected to the brute of enforcing humility. He learns that interpreting Bushmen culture from the realm of White man’s perspective is not only wrong but subjective. When Lee buys a fat, huge black ox as a way of expressing his generosity to the Bushmen, he is accosted with all manner of sarcasm. Every other Bushmen who come to inspect the bull to be slaughtered for Christmas had no kind words for Lee, not even those he thought were impartial judges. They describe the bull as deathly thin, scrawny, old and not fit for a Christmas occasion.

A different kind of Christmas in Kalahari 

The idea of a Christmas feast is not known to the Kalahari Bushmen, but luckily it coincides with their custom of “trance dance feasting” held every December. While Lee thought that his choice would make the Bushmen happy and fill up their stomachs, Bushmen complained that the offer was below their expectations. This leaves Lee depressed and helpless.

Unknown to Lee, irony speaking is part of Bushmen’s culture. It is Bushmen “tactic of enforcing humility”. It is only after the Christmas that Lee comes to understand Bushmen’s ironical speech. Consistent with Lee’s estimation, the ox turns out to be fat and enough for everyone. But why then did the Bushmen describe it as deathly thin, scrawny and old? It is their way of life. They “always like to fool people”. It is their “tactic of enforcing humility”.

As hunters and gatherers, as Lee later comes to understand, the Bushmen have their way of enforcing humility. Attacking the hunters catch in all negative manners is a way of checking their pride and preventing their ego from going over the roof. A hunter must not come home bragging that he has “killed a big one in the bush” (Lee 1969: 4). Similarly, when Lee decided to surprise the locals with his big business offer, it was Bushmen turn of cutting him into shape.

The real meaning of humility in Kalahari 

Lee had assumed a larger than life character with his frequent offer of tobacco and other goodies but when the time of the feast came, bushmen had to teach him what they meant by humility. In addition, Bushmen had to teach Lee that sharing is a year around exercise and not restricted to Christmas festivals only. Unlike the stingy and hard-heartedness character of the white people of keeping a large reserve for themselves, Bushmen are used to sharing whatever they get on a daily basis.

The humiliation brings Lee to a significant conclusion: that among the Bushmen, “there are no totally generous acts” –“All acts have an element of calculation”. This gesture reinforces the theory of psychological egoism, which retorts that each individual is selfish.

Psychological hedonism

The Bushmen also understand “psychological hedonism” –the view that each individual seeks his own pleasure. They know that if they don’t ridicule a young man’s catch, he will “think of himself as a chief or big man, and will come to think the rest of us as his servant” (Lee, 1969:4).

The turn of event brings Lee to a realization that as an ethnographer, you cannot claim to understand a community’s culture simply by observing, you must also seek an explanation of certain action. For instance, when Lee asks Tomazo, ‘but why didn’t you tell me this before”. Tomazo replies, “Because you never asked me”. This shows that ethnographers must go beyond studying to seeking interpretation from local people what certain action really means.


On May 10th, 2018, Posted by admin

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