Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States, or the Founding Fathers, were a group of philosophers and writers who led the American Revolution against the Kingdom of Great Britain. Most were descendants of colonists settled in the Thirteen Colonies in North America. Historian Richard B. Morris in 1973 identified the following seven figures as the key Founding Fathers: Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison. Adams and Franklin were members of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Hamilton and Jay were authors of The Federalist Papers, advocating ratification of the Constitution; the constitutions drafted by Jay and Adams for their respective states of New York and Massachusetts were relied upon when creating language for the U. S. Constitution. Jay and Franklin negotiated the Treaty of Paris that would end the American Revolutionary War. Washington was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and was President of the Constitutional Convention.
All held additional important roles in the early government of the United States, with Washington, Adams and Madison serving as President. Jay was the nation's first Chief Justice, Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury, Franklin was America's most senior diplomat, the governmental leader of Pennsylvania; the term Founding Fathers is sometimes used to refer to the Signers of the embossed version of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Signers should not be confused with the term Framers. Of the 55 Framers, only 39 were signers of the Constitution. Two further groupings of Founding Fathers include: 1) those who signed the Continental Association, a trade ban and one of the colonists' first collective volleys protesting British control and the Intolerable Acts in 1774, or 2) those who signed the Articles of Confederation, the first U. S. constitutional document. The phrase "Founding Fathers" is a 20th-century appellation, coined by Warren G. Harding in 1916. Prior to, during the 19th century, they were referred to as the "Fathers".
The term has been used to describe first settlers of the original royal colonies. The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1774, consisting of 56 delegates from all thirteen American colonies except Georgia. Among them was George Washington, who would soon be drawn out of military retirement to command the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. In attendance was Patrick Henry, John Adams, who like all delegates were elected by their respective colonial assemblies. Other delegates included Samuel Adams from Massachusetts, John Dickinson from Pennsylvania and New York's John Jay; this congress in addition to formulating appeals to the British crown, established the Continental Association to administer boycott actions against Britain. When the Second Continental Congress convened on May 10, 1775, it reconstituted the First Congress. Many of the same 56 delegates who attended the first meeting participated in the second. New arrivals included Benjamin Franklin and Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, John Hancock of Massachusetts, John Witherspoon of New Jersey.
Hancock was elected Congress President two weeks into the session when Peyton Randolph was recalled to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses. Thomas Jefferson replaced Randolph in the Virginia congressional delegation; the second Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. Witherspoon was the only active clergyman to sign the Declaration, he signed the Articles of Confederation and attended the New Jersey convention that ratified the Federal Constitution. The newly founded country of the United States had to create a new government to replace the British Parliament; the U. S. adopted the Articles of Confederation, a declaration that established a national government with a one-house legislature. Its ratification by all thirteen colonies gave the second Congress a new name: the Congress of the Confederation, which met from 1781 to 1789; the Constitutional Convention took place in Philadelphia. Although the Convention was called to revise the Articles of Confederation, the intention from the outset for some including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton was to create a new frame of government rather than amending the existing one.
The delegates elected George Washington to preside over the Convention. The result of the Convention was the United States Constitution and the replacement of the Continental Congress with the United States Congress; the Founding Fathers represented a cross-section of 18th-century U. S. leadership. According to a study of the biographies by Caroline Robbins: The Signers came for the most part from an educated elite, were residents of older settlements, belonged with a few exceptions to a moderately well-to-do class representing only a fraction of the population. Native or born overseas, they were of the Protestant faith. All of them were leaders in their communities. Many were prominent in national affairs; every one had taken part in the American Revolution. Scholars have examined the collective biography of them as well as the signers of the Declaration and the Constitution. Many of the Founding Fathers attended or held degrees from the colonial colleges, most notably Columbia known at the time as "King's College", Princeton or
Jean-Baptiste Colbert was a French politician who served as the Minister of Finances of France from 1661 to 1683 under the rule of King Louis XIV. Colbert worked to increase France's colonial holdings. Colbert worked to develop the domestic economy by raising tariffs and by encouraging major public works projects, to ensure that the French East India Company had access to foreign markets, so that they could always obtain coffee, dyewoods, fur and sugar. In addition, Colbert founded the French merchant marine. Colbert's market reforms included the foundation of the Manufacture royale de glaces de miroirs in 1665 to supplant the importation of Venetian glass and to encourage the technical expertise of Flemish cloth manufacturing in France, he founded royal tapestry works at Gobelins and supported those at Beauvais. Colbert issued more than 150 edicts to regulate the guilds. Colbert's father and grandfather were merchants in his birthplace of France, he claimed to have Scottish ancestry. A general belief exists that he spent his early youth at a Jesuit college, working for a Parisian banker.
Before the age of 20, Colbert had a post in the war office, a position attributed to the marriage of an uncle to the sister of Secretary of War Michel le Tellier. Colbert spent some time as an inspector of troops becoming the personal secretary of Le Tellier. In 1647, through unknown means, Colbert acquired the confiscated goods of Pussort. In 1648, he and his wife Marie Charron, received 40,000 crowns from an unknown source. In 1657, he purchased the Barony of Seignelay. Colbert was recommended to King Louis XIV by Mazarin. While Cardinal Mazarin was in exile, Louis' trust in Colbert grew. In 1652 Colbert was asked to manage the affairs of the Cardinal; this new responsibility would detach Colbert from his other responsibility as commissaire des guerres. Although Colbert was not a supporter of Mazarin in principle, he would defend the cardinal's interests with unflagging devotion. Colbert's earliest recorded attempt at tax reform came in the form of a mémoire to Mazarin, showing that of the taxes paid by the people, not one-half reached the King.
The paper contained an attack upon the Superintendent Fouquet. The postmaster of Paris, a spy of Fouquet's, read the letter, leading to a dispute which Mazarin attempted to suppress. In 1661, Mazarin died and Colbert "made sure of the King's favour" by revealing the location of some of Mazarin's hidden wealth. In January 1664 Colbert became the Superintendent of buildings. In short, Colbert acquired power in every department except that of war. A great financial and fiscal reform at once claimed all his energies. Not only the nobility, but many others who had no legal claim to exemption, paid no taxes. Supported by the young king Louis XIV, Colbert aimed the first blow at the man accused of being the greatest of the royal embezzlers, the superintendent Nicolas Fouquet. Fouquet's fall secured Colbert's own advancement. With the abolition of the office of superintendent and of many other offices dependent upon it, the supreme control of the finances became vested in a royal council; the sovereign functioned as its president.
His ruthlessness in this case, dangerous precedent though it gave, seemed necessary. When he had punished guilty officials, he turned his attention to the fraudulent creditors of the government. Colbert had a simple method of operation, he repudiated some of the public loans and cut off from others a percentage, which varied, at first according to his own decision, afterwards according to that of the council that he established to examine all claims against the state. Much more serious difficulties met his attempts to introduce equality in the pressure of the taxes on the various classes. To diminish the number of the privileged proved impossible, but Colbert resisted false claims for exemption, lightened the unjust direct taxation by increasing the indirect taxes, from which the privileged could not escape. At the same time he immensely improved the mode of collection on his own, his relentless hard work and thrift made him an esteemed minister. He achieved a reputation for his work of improving the state of French manufacturing and bringing the economy back from the brink of bankruptcy.
Historians note that, despite Colbert's efforts, France became impoverished because of the King's excessive spending on wars. Having thus introduced a measure of order and economy into the workings of the government, Colbert now called for the enrichment of the country by commerce; the state, through Colbert's dirigiste policies, fostered manufacturing enterprises in a wide variety of fields. The authorities established new industries, protected inv
The Federalist Party, referred to as the Pro-Administration party until the 3rd United States Congress as opposed to their opponents in the Anti-Administration party, was the first American political party. It existed from the early 1790s to the 1820s, with their last presidential candidate being fielded in 1816, they appealed to business and to conservatives who favored banks, national over state government and preferred Britain and opposed the French Revolution. The Federalists called for a strong national government that promoted economic growth and fostered friendly relationships with Great Britain as well as opposition to Revolutionary France; the party controlled the federal government until 1801, when it was overwhelmed by the Democratic-Republican opposition led by Thomas Jefferson. The Federalist Party came into being between 1792 and 1794 as a national coalition of bankers and businessmen in support of Alexander Hamilton's fiscal policies; these supporters developed into the organized Federalist Party, committed to a fiscally sound and nationalistic government.
The only Federalist President was John Adams. George Washington was broadly sympathetic to the Federalist program, but he remained non-partisan during his entire presidency. Federalist policies called for a national bank and good relations with Great Britain as expressed in the Jay Treaty negotiated in 1794. Hamilton developed the concept of implied powers and argued the adoption of that interpretation of the United States Constitution, their political opponents, the Democratic-Republicans led by Thomas Jefferson, denounced most of the Federalist policies the bank and implied powers. The Jay Treaty passed and the Federalists won most of the major legislative battles in the 1790s, they held a strong base in New England. After the Democratic-Republicans, whose base was in the rural South, won the hard-fought presidential election of 1800, the Federalists never returned to power, they recovered some strength through their intense opposition to the War of 1812, but they vanished during the Era of Good Feelings that followed the end of the war in 1815.
The Federalists left a lasting legacy in the form of a strong Federal government with a sound financial base. After losing executive power, they decisively shaped Supreme Court policy for another three decades through the person of Chief Justice John Marshall. On taking office in 1789, President Washington nominated New York lawyer Alexander Hamilton to the office of Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton wanted a strong national government with financial credibility. Hamilton proposed the ambitious Hamiltonian economic program that involved assumption of the state debts incurred during the American Revolution, creating a national debt and the means to pay it off and setting up a national bank, along with creating tariffs. James Madison was Hamilton's ally in the fight to ratify the new Constitution, but Madison and Thomas Jefferson opposed Hamilton's programs by 1791. Political parties had not been anticipated when the Constitution was drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1788 though both Hamilton and Madison played major roles.
Parties were considered to be harmful to republicanism. No similar parties existed anywhere in the world. By 1790, Hamilton started building a nationwide coalition. Realizing the need for vocal political support in the states, he formed connections with like-minded nationalists and used his network of treasury agents to link together friends of the government merchants and bankers, in the new nation's dozen major cities, his attempts to manage politics in the national capital to get his plans through Congress "brought strong" responses across the country. In the process, what began as a capital faction soon assumed status as a national faction and as the new Federalist Party; the Federalist Party supported Hamilton's vision of a strong centralized government and agreed with his proposals for a national bank and heavy government subsidies. In foreign affairs, they supported neutrality in the war between Great Britain; the majority of the Founding Fathers were Federalists. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and many others can all be considered Federalists.
These Federalists felt that the Articles of Confederation had been too weak to sustain a working government and had decided that a new form of government was needed. Hamilton was made Secretary of the Treasury and when he came up with the idea of funding the debt he created a split in the original Federalist group. Madison disagreed with Hamilton not just on this issue, but on many others as well and he and John J. Beckley created the Anti-Federalist faction; these men would form the Republican party under Thomas Jefferson. By the early 1790s, newspapers started calling Hamilton supporters "Federalists" and their opponents "Democrats", "Republicans", "Jeffersonians", or—much later—"Democratic-Republicans". Jefferson's supporters called themselves "Republicans" and their party the "Republican Party"; the Federalist Party became popular with businessmen and New Englanders as Republicans were farmers who opposed a strong central government. Cities were Federalist strongholds whereas frontier regions were Republican.
However, these are generalizations as there are special cases such as the Presbyterians of upland North Carolina, who had immigrated just before the Revolution and been Tories, became Federalists. The Congregationalists of New England and the Episcopalians in the larger cities supported the Federalists while other minority denominations tended toward the Republican camp. Catholics
Protectionism in the United States
Protectionism in the United States is protectionist economic policy that erected tariff and other barriers to trade with other nations. This policy was most prevalent in the 19th century, it attempted to restrain imports to protect Northern industries. It was opposed by Southern states that wanted free trade to expand cotton and other agricultural exports. Protectionist measures included tariffs and quotas on imported goods, along with subsidies and other means, to ensure fair competition between imported goods and local goods. In today's age the US is still protectionist, according to Global Trade Alert the US has adopted over 1000 protectionist measures since the Global Economic Crisis in 2008, more than any other country since. Britain was the first country to use a large-scale infant industry promotion strategy. However, its most ardent user was the U. S.. Britain did not want to industrialize the American colonies, implemented policies to that effect. Thus, the American Revolution was, to some extent, a war against this policy, in which the commercial elite of the colonies rebelled against being forced to play a lesser role in the emerging Atlantic economy.
This explains why, after independence, the Tariff Act of 1789 was the second bill of the Republic signed by President Washington allowing Congress to impose a fixed tariff of 5% on all imports, with a few exceptions. Most American intellectuals and politicians during the country's catching-up period felt that the free trade theory advocated by British classical economists was not suited to their country, it was against the advice of economists like Adam Smith and Jean Baptiste Say that the United States were protecting their industries. Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States and economist Daniel Raymond were the first theorists to present the argument of the emerging industry, not the German economist Friedrich List. Indeed, List started out as a free trade advocate and only converted to the infant industry argument following his exile in the U. S. Hamilton feared that Britain's policy towards the colonies would condemn the United States to be only producers of agricultural products and raw materials.
Washington and Hamilton believed that political independence was predicated upon economic independence. Increasing the domestic supply of manufactured goods war materials, was seen as an issue of national security. In his Reports, Hamilton argued that the competition from abroad and the "forces of habit" would mean that new industries that could soon become internationally competitive would not be started in the United States, unless the initial losses were guaranteed by government aid. According to him, this aid could take the form of import duties or, in rare cases, prohibition of imports, he called for customs barriers to allow American industrial development and to help protect infant industries, including bounties derived in part from those tariffs. He believed that duties on raw materials should be low. Hamilton explained that despite an initial "increase of price" caused by regulations that control foreign competition, once a "domestic manufacture has attained to perfection... it invariably becomes cheaper".
The Congress passed a tariff act, imposing a 5% flat rate tariff on all imports.. Between 1792 and the war with Britain in 1812, the average tariff level remained around 12.5%. In 1812 all tariffs were doubled to an average of 25% in order to cope with the increase in public expenditure due to the war. A significant shift in policy occurred in 1816, when a new law was introduced to keep the tariff level close to the wartime level—especially protected were cotton and iron goods; the American industrial interests that had blossomed because of the tariff lobbied to keep it, had it raised to 35 percent in 1816. The public approved, by 1820, America's average tariff was up to 40 percent. According to Michael Lind, protectionism was America's de facto policy from the passage of the Tariff of 1816 to World War II, "switching to free trade only in 1945", it has been argued that one of the underlying motivations for the American Revolution itself was a desire to industrialize, reverse the trade deficit with Britain, which had grown by a factor of ten in the space of a few decades, from £67,000 to £739,000.
Between 1816 and the end of the Second World War, the U. S. had one of the highest average tariff rates on manufacturing imports in the world. Given that the country enjoyed an exceptionally high degree of "natural" protection due to high transportation costs at least until the 1870s, we can say that the U. S. industries were the most protected in the world until 1945. There was a brief episode of free trade from 1846, coinciding with the zenith of classical liberalism in Europe, during which American tariffs were lowered, but this was followed by a series of recessions and the panic of 1857, which led to higher tariff demands than President James Buchanan, signed in 1861. In the 19th century, statesmen such as Senator Henry Clay continued Hamilton's themes within the Whig Party under the name "American System (Abraham Lin
A tariff is a tax on imports or exports between sovereign states. It is a form of regulation of foreign trade and a policy that taxes foreign products to encourage or protect domestic industry; the tariff is used to protect infant industries and to allow import substitution industrialization. Paul Bairoch argues that until the early 1960s, developed countries' international trade was characterized by an era of protectionism rather than a "golden era" of free trade, that in fact, periods of economic growth in the Western world were linked to protectionist policy, he explained that during the 19th century, European countries that were subject to higher tariffs had experienced faster growth. According to Paul Bairoch, the industrialized world of 1913 is similar to that of 1815: "An ocean of protectionism surrounding a few liberal islets", with the exception of a short free trade interlude in Europe between 1860 and 1892. Only two islands of liberalism emerged in the developed part: the Netherlands.
On the other hand, "the Third World was an ocean of liberalism", with Western countries imposing so-called "unequal" treaties on colonized and politically independent countries that required the lowering of customs barriers. Bairoch write that the "Third World" has in fact become underdeveloped because of the imposition of free trade while North America and Western Europe have been able to develop because they have rejected trade liberalism in their history, he notes that:in history, free trade is the exception and protectionism the rule. Trade liberalisation in the United Kingdom from 1846 onwards was the first example of large-scale liberalisation after the Industrial Revolution and was initiated by the dominant economy. However, it is the only country where over a specific period, free trade coincided with an increase in growth. Bairoch explains this by the fact that the country had a significant lead over the other countries in 1846, given that the country had emerged from at least half a century of protectionism.
It was in 1860 that free trade made a real breakthrough in continental Europe with the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty signed by Napoleon III. The agreement was considered in France as a coup d'état, since the parliament was opposed to it, the agreement was established by means of secret negotiations between Napoleon Ill's envoy Michel Chevalier and Britain's Richard Cobden; that agreement was the first of a series which Britain would establish with several European countries, known as the "Cobden agreements": the Franco-Belgian treaty was signed in 1861 and between 1861 and 1866 all European countries joined the Cobden treaty. Only a few countries on the continent had adopted a liberal trade policy before 1860: the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and Belgium; the decades that followed were not a period of growth and prosperity, but on the contrary they were likened to "the Great Depression". Paul Bairoch notes in Myths and Paradoxes of Economic History that the Great European Depression began around 1870-1872 at the height of free trade in Europe between 1866 and 1877 and ended with the return to protectionism around 1892: The important point is not only that the crisis started at the height of free trade, but that it ended around 1892-1894, just as the return to protectionism became effective in continental EuropeIt is certain that free trade coincided with the depression for which it was the cause, while protectionism was at the origin of growth and development in most of the current developed countrie.
In Europe, the slowdown in GNP growth was the result of the decline in agricultural production growth. This agricultural crisis in continental Europe can be explained exclusively by the influx of foreign cereals, which became possible thanks to the abolition of tariff protection on cereals in continental Europe between 1866 and 1872, it was the farmers who suffered because cheap imports led to the collapse of agricultural commodity prices. But it affected overall demand for industrial goods and the construction sector. In France, an agrarian economy, wheat imports, which reached 0.3% of national production in 1851/1860, rose to 19% in 1888/1892. In Belgium, this percentage rose from 6% around 1850 to more than 100% around 1890. During the 1870s and 1880s, the United States was Europe's largest supplier of cereals. There was an increasing trade imbalance between Europe and the United States until the 1900s, given that the United States had higher tariffs. In the early 1860s, Europe and the United States pursued different trade policies.
The 1860s were a period of growing protectionism in the United States, while the European free trade phase lasted from 1860 to 1892. The tariff average rate on imports of manufactured goods was in 1875 from 40% to 50% in the United States against 9% to 12% in continental Europe at the height of free trade, it experienced a period of strong growth. Around 1870, Europe's trade deficit with America represented 5% to 6% of the region's imports, it reached 32% in 1890 and 59% around 1900. Germany was the first major European country to change its trade policy by adopting a new tariff in July 1879; this new German tariff meant the end of the period of free trade on the continent. Thus, the period 1879-1892 saw the gradual return of protectionism
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States. The GOP was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which had expanded slavery into U. S. territories. The party subscribed to classical liberalism and took ideological stands that were anti-slavery and pro-economic reform. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president in the history of the United States; the Party was dominant over the Democrats during the Third Party System and Fourth Party System. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt formed the Progressive Party after being rejected by the GOP and ran unsuccessfully as a third-party presidential candidate calling for social reforms. After the 1912 election, many Roosevelt supporters left the Party, the Party underwent an ideological shift to the right; the liberal Republican element in the GOP was overwhelmed by a conservative surge begun by Barry Goldwater in 1964 that continued during the Reagan Era in the 1980s. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party's core base shifted, with the Southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics and the Northeastern states becoming more reliably Democratic.
White voters identified with the Republican Party after the 1960s. Following the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party made opposition to abortion a key plank of its national party platform and grew its support among evangelicals. By 2000, the Republican Party was aligned with Christian conservatism; the Party's core support since the 1990s comes chiefly from the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and rural areas in the North. The 21st century Republican Party ideology is American conservatism, which contrasts with the Democrats' liberal platform and progressive wing; the GOP supports lower taxes, free market capitalism, a strong national defense, gun rights and restrictions on labor unions. The GOP was committed to protectionism and tariffs from its founding until the 1930s when it was based in the industrial Northeast and Midwest, but has grown more supportive of free trade since 1952. In addition to advocating for conservative economic policies, the Republican Party is conservative.
Founded in the Northern states in 1854 by abolitionists, modernizers, ex-Whigs and ex-Free Soilers, the Republican Party became the principal opposition to the dominant Democratic Party and the popular Know Nothing Party. The party grew out of opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and opened Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory to slavery and future admission as slave states; the Northern Republicans saw the expansion of slavery as a great evil. The first public meeting of the general anti-Nebraska movement, at which the name Republican was suggested for a new anti-slavery party, was held on March 20, 1854 in a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin; the name was chosen to pay homage to Thomas Jefferson's Republican Party. The first official party convention was held on July 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. At the 1856 Republican National Convention, the party adopted a national platform emphasizing opposition to the expansion of slavery into U. S. territories. While Republican candidate John C.
Frémont lost the 1856 United States presidential election to James Buchanan, he did win 11 of the 16 northern states. The Republican Party first came to power in the elections of 1860 when it won control of both houses of Congress and its candidate, former congressman Abraham Lincoln, was elected President. In the election of 1864, it united with War Democrats to nominate Lincoln on the National Union Party ticket. Under Republican congressional leadership, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution—which banned slavery in the United States—passed the Senate in 1864 and the House in 1865; the party's success created factionalism within the party in the 1870s. Those who felt that Reconstruction had been accomplished, was continued to promote the large-scale corruption tolerated by President Ulysses S. Grant, ran Horace Greeley for the presidency; the Stalwart faction defended Grant and the spoils system, whereas the Half-Breeds pushed for reform of the civil service. The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was passed in 1883.
The Republican Party supported hard money, high tariffs to promote economic growth, high wages and high profits, generous pensions for Union veterans, the annexation of Hawaii. The Republicans had strong support from pietistic Protestants, but they resisted demands for Prohibition; as the Northern postwar economy boomed with heavy and light industry, mines, fast-growing cities, prosperous agriculture, the Republicans took credit and promoted policies to sustain the fast growth. The GOP was dominant over the Democrats during the Third Party System. However, by 1890 the Republicans had agreed to the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Interstate Commerce Commission in response to complaints from owners of small businesses and farmers; the high McKinley Tariff of 1890 hurt the party and the Democrats swept to a landslide in the off-year elections defeating McKinley himself. The Democrats elected Grover Cleveland in 1884 and 1892; the election of William McKinley in 1896 was marked by a resurgence of Republican dominance that lasted until 1932.
McKinley promised that high tariffs would end the severe hardship caused by the Pa
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3500 to 3000 BCE, their contributions to mathematics and medicine entered and shaped Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity, whereby formal attempts were made to explain events of the physical world based on natural causes. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, knowledge of Greek conceptions of the world deteriorated in Western Europe during the early centuries of the Middle Ages but was preserved in the Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age; the recovery and assimilation of Greek works and Islamic inquiries into Western Europe from the 10th to 13th century revived natural philosophy, transformed by the Scientific Revolution that began in the 16th century as new ideas and discoveries departed from previous Greek conceptions and traditions. The scientific method soon played a greater role in knowledge creation and it was not until the 19th century that many of the institutional and professional features of science began to take shape.
Modern science is divided into three major branches that consist of the natural sciences, which study nature in the broadest sense. There is disagreement, however, on whether the formal sciences constitute a science as they do not rely on empirical evidence. Disciplines that use existing scientific knowledge for practical purposes, such as engineering and medicine, are described as applied sciences. Science is based on research, conducted in academic and research institutions as well as in government agencies and companies; the practical impact of scientific research has led to the emergence of science policies that seek to influence the scientific enterprise by prioritizing the development of commercial products, health care, environmental protection. Science in a broad sense existed in many historical civilizations. Modern science is distinct in its approach and successful in its results, so it now defines what science is in the strictest sense of the term. Science in its original sense was a word for a type of knowledge, rather than a specialized word for the pursuit of such knowledge.
In particular, it was the type of knowledge which people can communicate to share. For example, knowledge about the working of natural things was gathered long before recorded history and led to the development of complex abstract thought; this is shown by the construction of complex calendars, techniques for making poisonous plants edible, public works at national scale, such as those which harnessed the floodplain of the Yangtse with reservoirs and dikes, buildings such as the Pyramids. However, no consistent conscious distinction was made between knowledge of such things, which are true in every community, other types of communal knowledge, such as mythologies and legal systems. Metallurgy was known in prehistory, the Vinča culture was the earliest known producer of bronze-like alloys, it is thought that early experimentation with heating and mixing of substances over time developed into alchemy. Neither the words nor the concepts "science" and "nature" were part of the conceptual landscape in the ancient near east.
The ancient Mesopotamians used knowledge about the properties of various natural chemicals for manufacturing pottery, glass, metals, lime plaster, waterproofing. The Mesopotamians had intense interest in medicine and the earliest medical prescriptions appear in Sumerian during the Third Dynasty of Ur. Nonetheless, the Mesopotamians seem to have had little interest in gathering information about the natural world for the mere sake of gathering information and only studied scientific subjects which had obvious practical applications or immediate relevance to their religious system. In the classical world, there is no real ancient analog of a modern scientist. Instead, well-educated upper-class, universally male individuals performed various investigations into nature whenever they could afford the time. Before the invention or discovery of the concept of "nature" by the Pre-Socratic philosophers, the same words tend to be used to describe the natural "way" in which a plant grows, the "way" in which, for example, one tribe worships a particular god.
For this reason, it is claimed these men were the first philosophers in the strict sense, the first people to distinguish "nature" and "convention." Natural philosophy, the precursor of natural science, was thereby distinguished as the knowledge of nature and things which are true for every community, the name of the specialized pursuit of such knowledge was philosophy – the realm of the first philosopher-physicists. They were speculators or theorists interested in astronomy. In contrast, trying to use knowledge of nature to imitate nature was seen by classical scientists as a more appropriate interest for lower class artisans; the early Greek philosophers of the Milesian school, founded by Thales of Miletus and continued by his successors A