When Did the Decline of the West Begin?

1066?
William the Conqueror’s invasion: violence breeds violence.

1415?
Introduction of Longbow Arches at the Battle of Agincourt begins a dangerous arms race.

1492?
Expulsion of the Jews from Spain creates fatal precedent.

1517?
Martin Luther ends Roman Catholic hegemony.

1677?
Spinoza’s publication of Ethics substitutes pantheism for monotheism.

1776?
George III bungles American file.

1793?
French Reign of Terror gives democracy a bad name.

1861?
Nietzsche announces the death of God.

1871?
Bismarck’s unification of Germany: first step in road to ruin.

1877?
Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee – beginning of the end of the British Empire.

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7 responses to “When Did the Decline of the West Begin?

  1. Alan Pearson

    Before you can identify the decline you must first identify the apogee. Please do so.

    • presumably the year before any of the above choices, but not necessarily marked by a memorable achievement.

      Surely the Golden Jubilee was in 1887, and the decline of the Empire started in the Boer War, so perhaps Eric should have said the Diamond Jubilee.

      • Alan Pearson

        I guess that accounts for the British Empire. But the area in question is The West. Surely, the USA was not in decline at that point? So, was the Boer War the apogee of “western civilization” as a whole, in your view? (Or is that not The West, either?)

  2. Curmudgeon/Pedant

    See http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-south-korea-crossbow-20120309,0,7117040.story
    “…the entire South Korean judiciary system is under siege…” from attacks by crossbow.

  3. Richard Nielsen

    1946 When the Gouzenko Affair initiated the Cold War, or if you prefer 1947 and Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech in Missouri. But I like it having a Canadian angle.

  4. Fred Langan

    The English longbow first gained dominance at Crecy 100 years earlier, but then Henry V was made famous by Shakespeare so everyone remembers Agincourt.

  5. Elisabeth Ecker

    Historically a country declines when the disparity between the rich and the poor gets too large, which destroys the domestic economy and with it the tax base. A war exasperates this. The rich than move their money to the next growing country. It happened to Spain the Dutch etc. Could it happen to America?