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What the Past Shows Us

People often say that history has a tendency to repeat itself. Often times this is the truth. The past is an invaluable way of learning how to do things in the future. With a culture and planet that is constantly evolving it is obvious how with each step into furthering our world we run in to situations that have happen millions of times over the years. One that is evident, especially in our 2020 elections is the problem with student loans. The issue with student loans and the path that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is taking with it is very similar to the stance of Solon in the seisachteia. I believe the good that Bernie Sanders is trying to do will have the same outcome of Solon’s program.

            Solon’s ideas became evident during a time stasis. This was a time of civil strife, internal discord, and moral wrong doings. During this time Solon came up with, “reform law, known as the seisachtheia, or “shaking-off the burdens,” cancelled all debts, freed the hektēmoroi, destroyed the horoi, and restored land to its constitutional holders. Solon also prohibited the mortgaging of land or of personal freedom on account of debt.”(Cite). Even though, Solon was attempting to do good to the people that were in debt it did the exact opposite. The people that Solon was attempting to help were honestly worse off. They were unable to receive loans from the rich because the rich believed they would not be paid back.  Solon’s laws went against that infrastructure that was there for millions of years and it back fired against the people he was trying to help.

Bernie Sanders is one of the 2020 presidential candidates that has promised a lot to college students. College debt has been a serious issue amongst college students, precisely. College students are forced to take out massive loans in order to attend many colleges and often times find themselves unable to pay them off. As of June 24th, 2019, Bernie Sanders plans to, “cancel all $1.6 trillion of U.S. student loan debt “ as well as,” Four-year public colleges and community colleges should be free – including tuition and fees – for everyone.” According to Forbes. I believe that colleges will never and should never be free. I believe that if colleges become free they will lose the prestige that each carry’s. As well, cancelling debts to all student loans will do the exact thing is did in Solon’s case. Schools will go into debt and lose funding for sports teams and students that go there. Also, colleges are going to be less likely to accept people from lower financial backgrounds because they will not risk not getting paid. People in lower classes will now be even at a bigger disadvantage with the cancelling of debts.

Solon’s reforms proved to no good for the people that he was specifically trying to help. It is evident that history repeats itself and is important to learn from mistakes of the past. Bernie Sanders is attempting to a very similar thing to what Solon did over two thousand years ago. Bernie’s attempt to good for people in student loan debt will follow the same path of the people that Solon tried to relieve of debt. It is important to learn from the past in order to grow in the future.


By: Ryan Magnuson

Word Count: 534

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