English History 1715 to 1867 Spring 2008, t r 5: 00 pm to 6: 15 pm ph 0312 Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

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English History 1715 to 1867

Spring 2008, T R 5:00 PM to 6:15 PM PH 0312

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

John A. Taylor, Professor of History

Office hours TR 3:30–4:30 PM Office Peck Hall 3216 Telephone 618 650 2836

History 408b SYLLABUS


Hyeck, The Peoples of the British Isles

other books:

Disraeli, Sybil

Foreman, Georgiana

Porter, English Society in the 18th Century

Smith, The Reason Why

General Remarks

Our course will begin on January 15. Spring break will occupy the week of March 10-16. The final exam will be on Thursday May 8 at 12:00 – 1:40 PM in PH 0413.

During the eighteenth century and the nineteenth century, Britain rose to supreme power in the world. England was a lucky country, jammy as the British now say. We will focus on three questions. First, what was the role of blind luck?  Second, how much did individual British men and women contribute to the national success? Third, was Britain's decline after 1945 due to bad luck, or was it foreshadowed by factors that we can identify in eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century history?

All students will take a midterm exam and a final exam; there will also be an occasional pop quiz on assigned reading. All submissions must be written in dark ink. Pencil submissions will not be acceptable. In addition, each student will make an oral presentation in class. This presentation must be scheduled in advance for a specific date, and it must be presented on the scheduled date or else it will not count for credit in the course.  Graduate students will also write research papers on the topics of their presentations. In each case, topics will be selected in consultation with the instructor. Topics listed in bold in the course schedule are suitable for class reports. In the cases of graduate students, first drafts of their essays, with all notes and sources, are to be submitted to the instructor, and then second drafts are to incorporate suggested revisions. Again, no pencil submission will be accepted. Class attendance, quiz scores, class participation, and, in the case of graduate students, essays, will all be taken into account. Grades for the course will be based on an average of these major items, and each of them will have an equal weight. The worst test or quiz grade can be dropped, except for the final exam grade, but no test may be omitted.

Students will adhere to conventional rules of academic procedure. Attendance and class participation are very important, and excessive absence (more than four class sessions) will not be tolerated. Students are not to come to class late, nor are they to interrupt class by departure previous to the scheduled end of the day's session. Turn off all pagers and mobile phones during class. Plagiarism will not be tolerated, and all work submitted in the course must be original compositions with quotations properly noted.

The reading assignments are challenging. Begin reading at once.

Course Schedule

Jan. 15 and 17.  Introduction. Reading: Heyck.

Jan. 22 and 24. Peace of Paris of 1763. Reading: Porter

Jan. 29 and 31. George III. Reading: Porter and Heyck.

Feb. 5 and 7. French Revolution. Reading: Foreman

Feb. 12 and 14. Economics and demography. Reading: Gregory King


Feb. 26 and 28. Economics and demography, continued. Reading: Heyck. Topics: Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, Duke of Wellington, George IV, William IV, Catholic emancipation, slavery, Reform of Parliament 1832.

March 4 and 6. Literature. Topics: Edinburgh Review, William Godwin, Thomas Carlyle, Lyrical Ballads, Sir Walter Scott, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Blake, Lord Byron, Dickens, Tennyson.


March 18 and 20. Early nineteenth-century politics. Reading: Heyck. Topics: Poor law, Sir Robert Peel, corn laws, Ireland.

March 25 and 27. Women in Victorian England. Topics: Separate spheres, Mary Wollstonecraft, Queen Caroline, Queen Victoria.

April 1 and 3. Crimean War. Reading Smith. Topics: Lord Aberdeen, Palmerston, Russell, Napoleon III, Nightingale.

April 8 and 10. Gladstone and Disraeli. Reading: Disraeli.

April 15 and 17. Science and technology. Topics: Faraday, Darwin, post office, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, gas lights, railway, telegraph, steel industry, Matthew Arnold.

April 22 and 24.   Review for Final Exam


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