This course aims to give you a basic understanding of the political, economic and intellectual development of Europe (mainly Western Europe) between 1400 and 1800. During these centuries the medieval church split irrevocably into Catholic and Protestant camps; European governments became more powerful than ever before; European mariners ventured into the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, making possible conquest and commercial profit on an unprecedented scale; and heated debates took place about the form of government and the role of religion in life. The course will touch on all of these topics.
Professor: Steve Muhlberger
Office: H 312
Office Phone: 474-3461 ext. 4458
Home Phone: 776-1247 (before 9 p.m.)
Personal Home Page: /muhlberger/muhlberg.htm
Course Home Page: /muhlberger/2155/earlymod.htm
Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism : The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900
Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France
Nabil Matar, ed. and trans., In the Lands of the Christians: Arabic Travel Writing in the Seventeenth Century
The Portable Machiavelli
Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, A Short Residence in Sweden and Memoirs of the Author of "The Rights of Woman."
Suggested writing manuals:
Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History
Any writing manual you may own may be perfectly adequate for guidance on footnoting, bibliography, etc. If you have any doubts, please show the manual to me.
The course grade will be based on 2 papers, a midterm exam, and the final exam.
Each paper will be 8-10 pages. Detailed assignments will be distributed later, and will be linked to the electronic version of this document.
In addition, you will be reading excerpts from primary sources (documents written during ancient times) throughout the year. The excerpts will be distributed to you via the Internet, which is by far the most flexible and cheapest way. All students have Internet access through the university, but if you foresee a problem, please let me know.
1. First Paper -- due Oct. 21 -- 25%
2. Midterm exam -- Dec. 6 -- 20%
3. Second Paper -- due Mar. 2 -- 25%
4. Final examination -- 30%
Sept. 8 Introduction to the Course
Sept. 13 The Discontents of the Later Middle Ages
Identify the two groups whose "discontents" these documents represent. What are their complaints? How do they strike at the foundations of late medieval society?
Sept. 15 Politics in the Fifteenth Century
Sept. 20 The Turks
(The second document proper seems to start with the 3rd paragraph)
Sept. 22 History That Stands Still
Each of these documents shows an aspect of Ottoman society that differed from that of Christian Europe. In what way does Ottoman society seem to have advantages over European society?
Sept. 27 Economic Life and the "Common People"
What population movements seem to be revealed by these population estimates? What is significant about this information?
Sept. 29 Traditional Christianity, Schism, and Religious Revolt
Oct. 4 Renaissance Thought and Politics in Italy
What do these stories tell you about the aims of the preachers who wrote them down? What do they reveal about the audience for sermons, and how?
Why does Petrarch see himself battling logicians? What values is he fighting for?
Oct. 6 Two Northern Kingdoms -- France and England and the 100 Years War
Oct 11 & 13 Study Week
What do these three documents, in combination, tell you about France in the period of the Hundred Years War?
Oct. 18 Germany and the Towns of the North in the 15th c.
Oct. 20 Exploration, Trade and Conquest
Oct. 21 -- First essay due
What does Columbus' journal tell you about his motivations?
Oct. 25 Italy in the Time of Machiavelli
Oct. 27 Charles V and Great Power Politics in the Early 16th Century
"Machiavellian" is used to describe cynical, deceitful powerbrokers. Was there something more to the man than that?
Nov. 1 Luther
Speculate on the nature of the empire, and the challenges facing its emperor, based on its geography.
Nov. 3 The Reformation Continued
Based on this document, what was the young Martin Luther like? (Take into account not only his story, but how he tells it.)
The "Address" can be seen as advertising for the Reformation aimed at the princes of Germany. Why might they care about this particular issue?
Nov. 8 The Counter Reformation
Nov. 10 England under Henry VIII and After
What are Loyola's principles? Why might they be attractive to members of his new order? To others?
Nov. 15 The Witch Hunt
What does this reading tell us about the implementation of the Reformation?
Nov. 17 War in the 16th Century
What motives seem to lie behind these documents?
Nov. 22 Religious Warfare in France
Nov. 24 The Dutch Revolt
What does this document tell you about the atmosphere of France in the late 16th century?
Nov. 29 The Year of the Armada and After
How does this document justify the Dutch revolt? What issues are de-emphasized? Why? Is this a radical or a conservative argument?
Dec. 1 The Dutch Miracle
(1) React to Elizabeth's statement; (2) What does the "English Mercurie" tell us about the period?
What do these paintings tell you about Dutch culture of the 17th century?
Jan. 10 England, Scotland and Ireland under Elizabeth and James
Jan. 12 Origins of the English Civil War
Pick a document and analyze. What, according to it, were the issues of the Civil War era?
Jan. 17 England Divided
Jan. 19 Commonwealth and Restoration
Each of these documents reflect feeling within the "Parliamentary" party. How do they differ?
Jan. 24 The Last Valley I
This is the deal offered by a would-be king. Why was it accepted?
Jan. 26 The Last Valley II
Jan. 31 Overcoming a Crisis? Warfare, Witchcraft, and Domestic Peace
Feb. 2 Theory of Absolutism -- Louis XIV and Versailles
How does this show the danger posed by Galileo and his approach? The appeal Galileo had for contemporaries?
Feb. 7 17th C. Imperialism
Pick a document and analyze. What, according to it, were the important characteristics of the French monarchy of the 17th c.?
Feb. 9 The Glorious Revolution
Feb. 14 The Wars of Louis XIV
What does this tell you about the tensions within English political society?
Feb. 16 Parties and Parliaments in Early 18th C. Britain
Reconstruct the Gazette's audience and its interests.
Why, besides simple "rottenness" did Rotten Boroughs exist?
Feb. 28 Enlightenment Thought
Mar. 2 Enlightened Despots
Voltaire is often seen as a tolerant skeptic. What do these excerpts tell you about him and his later popularity?
What does this excerpt tell us about "reform" and "modernization?"
Mar 2 Second essay dueMar. 7 Prussian Absolutism
Mar. 9 Imperial Wars of the 18th C.
What do you learn about 18th century Prussia from these excerpts?
Mar. 14 Economic Growth and the Industrial Revolution
Why does Burke see India as a test for the English system?
Mar. 16 France and the Ancien Regime
How do these documents reflect important changes of the 18th century?
Mar. 21 Revolutionary Thinkers
What flaws does Arthur Young see in French customs and institutions? What are his own values?
Mar. 23 Causes of the French Revolution
What is radical about Paine's analysis of government? Why was it so effective in stirring up support for American independence?
Mar. 28 The French Revolution in the Early Stages
What are Sieyes' underlying principles? What other documents read so far might be seen as precursors to this one?
Mar. 30 From Constitutional Monarchy to Republic
What are the underlying principles of this declaration? What, in your opinion, is not there but should be? Why isn't it?
Apr. 4 The Reign of Terror and the Reaction
How do these documents portend political instability in the wake of the revolution of 1789?
Apr. 6 Review for Exam
What does this document tell you about the nature and influence of the French Revolution?