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Course Number:


School: Grant High School
Instructor: David Lickey

Contact information: dlickey@pps.net (503) 841-2223

Subject: Advanced Placement European History

Days of week offered:

M-F


Hours offered:

Periods 1, 3, 4



Prerequisites:

Modern World History and Recommendation of Instructor



Course description (forecast guide): This course is the equivalent in scope and academic rigor to an introductory college course in modern European history. Students are expected to take the College Board Advanced Placement [AP] exam in European History as a culminating activity. This class and the AP exam will focus on events from 1450 AD to the present day. This course will consider themes of intellectual and cultural history, political history, diplomatic and military history, economic and technological history, and social history (yes and her-story) as we explore how and why the Europeans: explored, then conquered, and lost the rest of the world; replaced a static and conservative medieval worldview based on authority and superstition with science and technology; replaced the patchwork of feudal kingdoms with powerful centralized nation states; how and why those nation states absolutism would yield to democracy; industrialization made the world we live in and gave rise to two great competing economic systems – communism and capitalism; and why the Europeans would fight two suicidal world wars only to become the prize between two outlying superpowers during the Cold War. Along the way we will always look back to historiography, or how people have interpreted these events in the past. But more importantly, we will look forward to how the ethical, social, economic, and intellectual inheritance of the West organizes and gives direction to our own lives. Far from being a story of dead white men, I will argue that this is the great story that arms all people with voice and reason with which to struggle for a better and more just life. Maybe you will come to agree with me.



Learning objectives:

  • Students will develop a framework of factual knowledge of important intellectual, , cultural, political, diplomatic, social, and economic developments in Europe from 1450 AD to the present with equal attention given to the periods 1450-1648, 1648-1815, 1815-1914, and 1914-Present.

  • Students will – in every period of study – explore and expand upon themes of European interactions with the broader world, poverty and prosperity, historical tensions between objective knowledge and subjective visions, the roles of states and other institutions of power in Western life, and the relationship of the individual within society.

  • Students will hone the historian’s skills of Chronological reasoning, comparison and contextualization, crafting historical arguments from historical evidence, and historical interpretation and synthesis.

  • Students will develop an appreciation for past historiography and an understanding of the historian’s craft.

  • Students will develop a habit of rational thinking and discourse that will allow them to exercise their duties as citizens and scholars responsibly and with greater insight and wisdom.



References, text book(s), resources:

Coffin, Judith, Robert Stacey, Robert Lerner, and Standish Meacham. Western Civilizations. 15th ed. Norton,

2005.

Cole, Joshua, and Carol Symes. Western Civilizations. 18th ed. Norton, 2014. (Chapter 29 “A World Without



Walls: Globalization & the West” provided as a handout supplement.)

Perry, Marvin, Joseph Peden, and Theodore Von Laue. Sources of the Western Tradition, 6th ed, vol. I & II.

Houghton Mifflin, 2006.

Merriman, John. Modern Europe, 2nd Ed..Norton, 2004.

Merriman, John. Modern Europe, 3rd Ed. Norton, 2010. (Updated Chapter 30, “Global Challenges: “Fortress

Europe”, European Cooperation, and the Uncertainties of a New Age” provided as a handout)



Audio- Lectures by distinguished University Professors on selected topics aired in class or as pod casts.


Assessment/evaluation/grading policy: There are four main assignments on which your grade will be based:

Formative assignments:

  1. Assignments that demonstrate mastery of the basal texts and proficiency in the analysis of historical documents. These assignments include: outlines, graphic notes, terms, timelines, illustrations, note-cards, annotated maps, and interpretive graphs. These assignments will develop the breadth of factual knowledge and develop facility with the historical thinking skills necessary to do well on the AP exam. [Less than 25% of grade]

  2. Primary source document analysis and interpretive essays. You will read sets of primary source documents from the Sources of the Western Tradition reader and prepare structured notes and short essays. A standing assignment referred to as APPARTS will be frequently assigned as a protocol for analyzing primary source documents. APPARTS assignments are always an exercise in periodization of historical material, using evidence to support historical assertions, and the synthesis of historical claims; but the assignment takes the form of notes perhaps presented in a tale form that are used by the student as a resource in class discussions and to develop into longer Free Response Essays. APPARTS is an acronym that stands for author, place and time, prior knowledge (context), audience, reason or purpose of the document, the documents main ideas, and the documents significance (synthasis). Commonly students will be asked to write essays that combine their APPARTS analysis of several documents around a single claim of significance. These essays are refered to as “document response essays” [DRE]. These assignments develop skills particularly useful on the DBQ portion of the AP exam. Expect-two or three such assignments a week and to discus your writing in class most days. (25% of grade)

Assessments:

  1. Multiple choice tests and quick writes: each of the units described in the “Schedule of Topics” section below will include several short multiple choice tests over assigned readings and lecture material. Formative assignments may be used as an aid on multiple choice tests and quick writes. (more than 25% of grade)

  2. Free Response Essay [FRQ] Questions: each of the units described in the “Schedule of Topics” will include two or three Free response questions. Together with your work with documents, FRQ’s are the means by which you will develop your historical thinking and writing skills. These questions will develop writing skills relevant to the FRQ and DBQ portion of the AP exam.(25% of grade)



Behavioral expectations: Students are expected to be punctual, kind, to come to class prepared, and to generally conduct themselves in a mature and responsible manor as befitting the subject matter and nature of this class. All Grant High School and Portland Public Schools disciplinary policies and regulations will be strictly observed in my class.




Effective date of syllabus: 08-27-2015 School year: 2015-2016

Student Accommodation(s)1 and support available: (e.g., tutoring, differentiated instruction):

All instruction will be modified according to students’ IEP and 504 plans.




Schedule of Topics/ Units Covered: Readings: (Dates)

  • Course Introduction Guns, Germs, & Steel, Jared Diamond, (Sept.)

  • Structure of the AP exam “The Future of History As A Science”

  • Historiography Europe’s “Optimal Fragmentation”

  • Geography of Europe

2. Prologue: The Making of the Medieval Mind(Sept.) Western Civilizations, Ch 1-12[recommended) Contributions of the Hebrews, Greeks, & Romans summer reading]

  • The Church in Late Antiquity Modern Europe, Ch. 1

  • Politics, Culture, and Society during the Middle Ages Sources, Chapters 1-8

  • Mediterranean and Atlantic colonialism Sources, Ch. 11

  • Discovery & Conquest of the Americas

  • Columbian Exchange

4. Renaissance and Reformation(Sept./Oct.) Western Civilizations, Ch 13-14

  • Renaissance Humanism Sources, Ch 9-10

  • High Renaissance in the Italian City Modern Europe, Ch 2-3

  • Machiavelli and the Renaissance Prince

  • Northern Humanism

  • Martin Luther’s Upheaval

  • Calvin and the Spread of Protestantism

  • Catholic Reformation/Counter Reformation

  • Baroque Art

5. Religious War and the Rise of the State(Oct.) Western Civilizations, Ch 15

  • Religious Conflict in France and England Sources, Ch.11

  • English Civil War Modern Europe, Ch. 4

  • Religious War in Germany and the Low Countries

  • Religious War and the Search for Certainty

6. Age of Absolutism, 1660-1789(Nov.) Western Civilizations, Ch16-17

  • Demographic Patterns in Early Mod. Europe Sources, Ch. 11

  • Commerce and Colonization Modern Europe, 5-7,11

  • Life in a Society of Orders

  • Louis XIV

  • Prussia and the Rise of the Hohenzollerns

  • Absolutism in Russia

  • England & the Dutch, Alternatives to Absolutism

  • Mercantilism & War in the Early Modern State System

7. Intellectual Revolution: Science and the Enlightenment(Nov.) Western Civilizations, Ch. 18-19

  • Astronomy, Math, and a new Cosmology Sources, Ch. 12-13

  • Bacon and Descartes and the New Philosophy Modern Europe, 8-10

  • Nature, Reason, & Progress: Foundations and Themes of the Enlightenment

  • The Philosophes and the Cultural Context of Enlightenment

8. The French and Industrial Revolutions (Dec./Jan.) Western Civilizations, Ch. 20-23

  • Causes and Course of the French Revolution Sources, v.II, Ch.4,5,&7

  • Napoleon and Imperial France Modern Europe, 13-15

  • Industrial Revolution in Britain

  • Patterns of Industrialization on the Continent

  • Rise of the Middle Class World View: Political Economy and its Critics

    • Liberalism

    • Socialism

  • Life in a City of Classes

9. Restoration Europe from Metternich to Bismarck(Feb.) Western Civilizations, Ch. 23-24

  • Congress of Vienna and the Concert of Europe Sources v. II, Ch 6 & 8

  • Conservatism, Romanticism, and Nationalism Modern Europe, 15-18

  • Liberalism in France and Britain

  • 1848 and the Failure of Liberal Revolution

  • Nationalism and Nation Building in Germany and Italy

  • Nationalism in Ireland and the Austrian Empire

  • Franco Prussian War

10. On Top of the World: Europe ca. 1900(Feb.) Western Civilizations, Ch. 25-26

  • Theories of Imperialism Sources v. II, Ch10

  • Imperialism in South Asia and China Modern Europe, 19-21

  • Scramble for Africa

  • Imperial Culture and Thought

  • The Second Industrial Revolution

  • The Mass Politics and the Challenge of Socialism

  • Darwin, Freud and Nietzsche: Science and Philosophy

  • Gender in the Late Victorian Era

11. World Wars I & II (Mar./April) Western Civilizations, Ch. 27-29

  • Background and Causes of WWI Sources v. II, Ch 11-13

  • Trench Warfare: the Great Battles Modern Europe, 22-26

  • The Russian Revolution

  • The Collapse of Wilheminian Germany

  • Versailles

  • Weimar Germany

  • Hitler and the Rise of the Nazis

  • Fascist Italy

  • USSR Under Stalin

  • Interwar Artists and Intellectuals

  • Causes of WWII, the Continuation of WWI

  • Appeasement and the “Dishonest Decade”

  • Outbreak of War to the Fall of France

  • The Rise and Ruin of the Nazi Empire

  • The Holocaust

  • Post-War Efforts for International Security

Postwar Europe(April/May) Western Civilizations, Ch. 30-32

  • The Cold War Divides the Continent Sources v. II, Ch. 14-15

  • Economic Renaissance Modern Europe, 27-29

  • Postwar Politics Labor, de Gaulle, and Social Democrats

  • Social and Cultural Change

  • Decolonization

  • Economic Stagnation

  • The Collapse of Communism

  • Contemporary Europe in the New World Order



AP European History Course Description from the College Board: this is an essential document that each student should familiarize themselves with. The Guide describes the AP European History Exam in detail with grading rubrics and sample questions.
https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-course-overviews/ap-european-history-course-overview.pdf

Unit #1: Making of the Medieval Mind

&

Other Topics



AP European History

Lickey
Intro: Because this class has as its focus the European experience since 1450 AD we will necessarily only touch briefly on the ancient, classical, and medieval antecedents to Early Modern Europe. If it is possible to have a single theme that runs from the Golden Age of Greece through the late Middle Ages; surely that theme must be continuity and change. In the next few weeks I invite you to explore how the philosophy and virtues of the Hellenistic world were adopted by the Practical Romans as the intellectual basis of empire; how the Roman empire evolved with Christianity and Germanic Kingdoms of the so called “Dark Ages”; and finally how the High and Late Middle Ages were marked, at least intellectually, by a desire to advance the reason, civil apparatus, and even worldly knowledge of the ancient Greeks with the spiritual commandments of Christendom. The 14th Century would see a string of really unmitigated disasters: plague and the much related; famine, peasant uprisings, war (fought now with gunpowder), and economic decline. These failures would challenge Europeans to embrace very dramatic change at the end of what we call the Medieval Era. In the first weeks I invite you to explore ideas that originate over two thousand years ago, but still animate our lives while also coming to appreciate how poised the West was for dramatic change by the middle of the 15th/C.


Required Readings:

Western Civilizations, Chapters 9-11 [Recommended]

Sources of the Western Tradition, Chapters 5-10 Chapter introductions and selected

readings


Merriman, Chapter #1
Terms for Notebook and Test: (From Merriman)

Jacob Fugger “Fragmentation of Europe” Sultan vs. Princes Common Law

Structure of Society King vs. Lord Feudalism Revolts of 14th C/.

Serfdom Diet Role of Christianity Marriage Growth of Trade

Municipal Liberties Sovereign States Holy Roman Empire Gunpowder

Printing Press Vasco Da Gama Conquistadores Columbian Exchange

Spanish & Portuguese Trading Patterns

FRQ’s:


  1. Compare and Contrast the historiography of Jarred Diamond offered in the epilogue to Guns Germs & Steel, “The Future of History as a Science” and Thucydides’ philosophy of History offered in History of the Peloponnesian War excreted in Sources. Are you more impressed by the similarity or the difference?

  2. To What extent and in what ways did the metaphor of the “Great Chain of Being” capture the social, political, and intellectual realities of Europe in 1450?[CR3, OS-1, IS-1]

  3. Compare and Contrast the Empire Building in Portugal and Spain between 1450-1600. [CR3, INT-1,2,3,4,5,6,9,11]

  4. How were the forces of continuity and change influencing European life at the end of the medieval era – circa 1450- with respect to social, economic, and political developments?[CR8][CR3, OS-1,PP-1, INT-3,4,5,6]


Approximate Daily Schedule:
Lessons 1 Course Intro + Syllabus:

Activity: Discussion of summer assignments

Lesson: Geography is Destiny: Jared Diamond’s Opitimal Fragmentation Theory,

Read: Guns Germs & Steel. Jared Diamond, 1997, pp.405-426

Asn: FRQ#1

HW: Map


Lesson 2 Ancient Contributions to the Western Tradition: the Hebrews

Rd: Sources: Chapter 2;(Intro: p. 27) Genesis, p.28; Genesis, p. 37; Exodus The

Covenant, p.33

Asn: APPARTS/Fishbowl

Activity: Fishbowl discussion

Lesson 3 the Greeks – Discussion Group

Guest Lecture: (taped) Professor R. Kane, U. Texas – Austin: Plato on the State,

the Soul, and Democracy

Rd: Sources: Chapter3;(Intro, pp. 46-48) Thucydides – Methods of



Hist. p.55, Pindar: The Pursuit of Excellence, p.57; Sophocles: Antigone p.66;

Plato – Republic, p.81; Aristotle: History of Animals, Politics, and Nicomachean

Ethics, Epicurus; Self-Sufficiency

Western Civilizations: Chapters 4+5 (Recommended)

Asn: APPARTS/Fishbowl



FRQ #1

Lesson 4 The Romans – Discussion Group

Rd: Sources: Chapter 4+5; (Intros pp.101 & 125-26) Cicero- Advocate of Stoicism; Lucretius: Denunciation of Religion, p.108; Plutarch – Tiberius Gracchus, p. 119; Sallust-Moral Deterioration, p.121; Justinian-Corpus Iursis, p.141; (Aristides: Pax Romana, p.143 Recommended)

Western Civilizations: Chapter 6 (Recommended)

Asn: APPARTS/Fishbowl

Notes: They Were A Lot Like Us: Roman Contributions to the West:

Citizenship, Militarism, Law, Engineering, and pragmatism

Asn: Using common social studies catagories of analysis to explain the Classic

contribution to Western Civilization - Essay

Lesson 5 The Emergence of the Catholic Church: Fall of Rome? Lecture & Document

Inquiry


Rd: Sources Chapter 6: (Intro, p. 160), Gospel of St. Mathew, St. Paul-letter of

Paul to the Ephesians and Letter of Paul to the Corinthians(Pauline Letters),

Tertullian – “What has Jerusalem to do with Athens”, St. Benedict-

Benedictine Rule, St. Augustine – City of God

Western Civilizations: Chapter 7 (Recommended)

Asn: APPARTS/Fishbowl

Lesson 6 The Great Chain of Being: Social, Political, and Intellectual

Structure of Medieval Europe

Film: Faith and Fear

Rd: Sources: Teachings, Frederick II- Heretics, T. Aquinas, Summa Theologica,

Innocent III-Misery of the Human Condition, Dante-Divine Comedy, Magna

Carta, Sources: Innocent III-Misery of the Human Condition, Dante-Divine

Comedy

Asn: Levels of Questions, Film – Notes on Great Chain of Being –

APPARTS/Shared Inquiry Doc’s



FRQ #2

Lesson 8 The Crises of the 14th Century: Plague, Revolt, War, and Technology

Notes: Medieval Technologies: Gunpowder and the State (W/. Demo)

FRQ #3 [INT 3]


Exam FRQ #4

Renaissance, Reformations, & Religious War:

Breaking the Chain

AP European History – Lickey



2014-15
Intro: Having just studied the all-encompassing medieval metaphor of The Great Chain of Being; we will now turn our attention to three events that would permanently break the chain and leave the path open to the development of the modern world. We left off concluding that an epoch of change was well underway ca. 1500. Without minimizing the vital and evolving nature of European life in the “middle ages”; the Renaissance, Reformation, and a century of religious war that the latter unleashed are dramatic turning points that mark the collapse of certainty and stability that the medieval Church and monarchies provided. The development of nation states as the basis of security and science as the source of certainty are both shifts caused by the Renaissance and Reformation – or so I will argue. We will begin with a struggle to precisely define the Renaissance as a discrete epoch in human history. We will then take a look at many expressions of Renaissance Humanism, art, and the more courtly and explicitly Christian aspects of late Renaissance culture that spread outside of Italy in the early 16th/C. Next we’ll explore the religious schism led by Martin Luther that would occur in the early 16th/C while assessing the degree of relation between the Renaissance and Reformation. We’ll study the theology of Protestantism and the Catholic Church’s response as well as the ways that Protestantism spread across Western and Northern Europe. The Reformation was never strictly an ideological conflict, it also engaged the interests of secular rulers who would join one side or the other in a Century of fanatically charged jihad when they saw opportunities to defend or advance their power. By 1648 and a century of the most vicious war Europe would know until the 20th/C. drew to a close – how strange that these were blood baths fought over disagreements about the meaning of a loving God’s message. The Treaty of Westphalia would establish the principle of Cujus region, ejus religio. This agreement to live and let live is one of the cornerstones of modern liberal society. No surprise that after a century of fanatical violence and the collapse of all order and certainty that the next century would be known as the Age of Absolutism in politics and the Age of Reason in intellectual history!
Assigned Reading:

Merriman, Chapter 2,3,4

Sources of the Western Tradition: Chapter 9 & 10 (Selected Readings)

Western Civilizations, Chapters 12, 13, & 14 (Recommended Reading & Classwork)

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. Stephen Greenblatt, 2011, Norton, pp.1-13.

Recommended Viewing:

The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance [link is to the first of 4 episodes-see webpage for all links http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FFDJK8jmms&list=TL5pVs2Ybs9j8X-K7N3rj1ZMCLJYQOMWn8

Martin Luther: The Reluctant Revolutionary & Winds of Change https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni1gupkGAW0&list=PL88635D4D1C71B503

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRp8HPxGN7Y&list=PL88635D4D1C71B503
FRQ’s:
What defines Renaissance Humanism and how was it expressed in the period 1370-1550? Does the humanism of the Renaissance still animate our culture today?[CR3, OS-5,7,9,10,11]
Was Martin Luther one of the greatest liberation figures in human history? Discuss a positive and negative response. [CR3, OS-2]
Two years ago at an end of the year staff meeting the Principal asked us to share something that went well during the year. I shared with satisfaction that that I had taught the Treaty of Westphalia well. My colleagues looked at me with askance as if that didn’t seem like a thing to celebrate in the last staff meeting of the year. Who was right? [CR3, SP-15, OS-3]
Terms for Notes and Tests and Writings:
Terms for Chapter 12

City States of Italian Peninsula Oligarchic-Republic Medici Petrach Liberal Arts

Niccolo Machiavelli Castiglione Renaissance Painting Decline of the Italian City State
Terms for Chapter 13

Albert-Leo X-Johann Tetzel-Fuger-Luther(connect the dotes) Northern Renaissance Albrecht Durer

Erasmus’ Christian Humanism Heretical Movements(Wycliff/Hus/Conciliarism indulgences/simony

Faith Alone Diet of Worms Peasant Revolts 1524 Schmalkaldic League Peace of Augsburg 1555

Zwingli John Calvin Huguenot Henry VIII’s Break Act in Restraint of Appeals, 1533

Loyola & Jesuits Council of Trent Printing & the Reformation “Domestication of the Reformation”


Terms for Chapter 4

Defenestration of Prague St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre Edict of Nates Henry IV’s Statemaking Louis XIII Proto Absolutist 30 Years War Gustavus Adolphus Treaty of Westphalia


Schedule of Lessons:
Lesson #1 Lecture: Renaissance Problems/Renaissance Humanism

Rd: Merriman Chapter 2 (Note Cards)

Rd: Sources: Chapter 9 Intro (p.275), Petrarch: The Father of Humanism( p.278),

Bruni: Study of Greek Lit. & Humanist Ed (p.279), Pico della Mirandola:

Oration on Dignity of Man (p.282), Machiavelli: The Prince (p.284), Castiglione:

the Courtier (p.288)

Asn: APPARTS, Shared Inquiry, & DBE(In Class) & Note Cards/ How do these authors collectively define “Renaissance Humanism”?

Lesson #2 Presentations: The Periodization of the Renaissance

Asn: Student presentations

Rd: Western Civilizations Chapter 12

Asn: [CR1c] [CR3, OS5Quick Write, The Swerve: How the World Became



Modern. Stephen Greenblatt, 2011. From the NPR Interview and book excerpt pp.

1-13: How does Greenblatt argue that the discovery of Lucretius’ On the Nature

of Things a cause of the Renaissance and what would be the long term effects of

this work when it had found a broad audience upon the intellectual history of the

West? Secondly, how does Greenblatt define (periodize) the Renaissance and

establish its significance in the history of the West?

Lesson #3 Renaissance Art: Review Gardner’s Art Through The Ages. 11th ed., Chapters 20

& 21. Look carefully at the presented works and the author’s descriptions. Choose

an piece that best captures the spirit of the Renaissance in your mind.

Project: Renaissance Portraits, Present the cultural figure and work that personify

Renaissance Humanism

FRQ #1

Lesson #3 Lecture: Origins of the Reformation & Lutheran Theology



Rd: Merriman Chapter 3 (Note Cards)

Rd: Sources: Chapter 10 Intro (p.295),Erasmus: In Praise of Folly(p.298),

Luther: On Papal Power…(p.301) Ulrich von Hutten: Resentment of Rome

(p.305)APPARTS/Fishbowl What complaints lay behind the need to reform the Church in the minds of these reformers? What do Luther and Erasmus have in common, how different?

FRQ #2

Lesson #4 Document Discussion: The Spread of the Reformation



Rd: Sources: 12 Articles (p.307) Luther: Against the Peasants (308), Calvin: The

Institutes (p.312), Cannons and Decrees of the Council of Trent

p.316)[APPARTS/Debrief] [West. Civ.’s pp. 483-85 on “The Dom. of Ref.”]

Asn: [CR 5]: Quick Write, Causes of the Reformation. Students write a short

essay citing each author that compare the contrasting claims and emphasis

of Euan Cameron in The European Reformation, 1991, to those of G.R. Elton in

The New Cambridge Modern History, vol. II, The Reformation. 1958, and R.R.

Palmer in A History of the Modern World, 6th ed., 1988. Was the

Reformation primarily religiously, politically, or economically motivated?

Lesson #5 Baroque Art:

Film: Art of the Western World: Realms of Light the Baroque

Asn: [CR8]Quick Write [Continuinty & Change] : In what ways

did Baroque Art continue to develop innovations in art that came out of the high

Renaissance and how did Baroque Art change from the Art of the High

Renaissance. Cite specific artists, works, and technics in your response.

Lesson #6 The Spread of Reformation, Religious War, & State Formation

Rd: Merriman Chapter 4 (Note Cards)

Project: Annotated Map: Religious War and Reformation

Lesson #7 Lecture: The Treaty of Westphalia and the Beginnings of The Early Modern Era

FRQ #3

Early Modern Europe, 1600 - 1800:



Commercial Revolution, Absolutism and its Alternatives, Science, & the Enlightenment

AP European History - Lickey


Intro: In this unit we will address many of the broad themes of European history during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. We will begin by analyzing the agricultural and commercial revolutions that fundamentally altered, or at a minimum challenged traditional social institutions and relations that had been stable from medieval times (more links of the chain to cut!). In particular, improvements in agriculture would lead to an expanded population that would occur alongside the expansion of global commercial empires. These developments would in turn see the growth of capitalist institutions and a new social class in the West: the bourgeoisie. Notionally this period of European history is known as the age of Absolutism. After one hundred years of religious war, political thought tended to embrace the concept of absolute monarchal authority as the only means of preserving order and security in Western life. We will examine the absolutist regimes of France, Prussia, and Russia as well as the ideologies that legitimated them. We will also investigate the alternatives to absolutism, most clearly identified with English constitutionalism. Ironically, the Age of Absolutism was also the age the commercial revolution that would make the absolute political authority of a landed aristocracy an anachronism. The contradictions of the modern proto-industrial capitalist state ruled by a feudal absolutist monarchy would explode in the French Revolution which is the subject of our next unit.

Intellectually, this period would be defined by sweeping changes in the way Westerners understood the world and their place in it known as the Scientific Revolution. The 17/C. & 18th/C.’s were also known as the “Age of Reason”. Broadly, this was defined by the belief that natural phenomena can be known using human reason. Among intellectual elites Galileo and Newton would become heroes, kind of demigods whose new natural philosophy would restore certainty and when applied to the social and moral realms of life by the so called enlightened philosophes would be an alternative basis for a secure ideal Western Civilization. We will examine the new natural science of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth century and the philosophy of the Enlightenment that would apply the principals of science to society. This intellectual project, know as the Enlightenment, provides the fundamental intellectual basis of modern life and ideology.


Required Reading:

Western Civilizations Chapters (14, pp.509-517) + 15, 16, 17

A History of Modern Europe Chapters 5-11(Selected passages – all other is recommended)

Sources of the Western Tradition: Vol.I, Ch.’s 12 & 13
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