HIST 122: Western Civilization II
Part 7: Absolutism and Enlightenment
- Describe the political geography of Europe in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries and be able to identify the more important
rulers and their achievements.
- Explain absolutism by reference to political theorists such
as Hobbes and Bossuet and to the policies of kings and ministers.
Compare the absolutism of the seventeenth century with enlightened
absolutism of the eighteenth. Show how Locke's political thought
relates to England's peculiar political development.
- Show how the European states of the eighteenth century strove
to balance each other's military powers. What forces threatened
balance? How did diplomacy and warfare redress imbalance?
- Be sensitive to the distinctive political development of different
states and try to explain the unique situations in, eg, England
and Russia. Contrast absolutism and parliamentarianism in England,
France, Austria, and Russia.
- What are the general characteristics of the Scientific Revolution?
Describe some of the innovations in ideas and methods of its more
- What are the general characteristics of the Enlightenment?
Who are some of its thinkers and what are their contributions?
What impact did their ideas have on historical developments in
the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries?
- Know the principal artists of the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries and some of their works. Be able to illustrate by reference
to specific works the general characteristics of the Baroque,
Rococo, and Classicism and Neoclassicism.
Part 8: The Age of Revolutions
- Know the causes of the American Revolution. Place that revolution
in the context of European politics and ideas.
- Know the causes of the French Revolution. Describe the social
and economic conditions in France in 1789.
- Describe the stages of the French Revolution. Who was in power
in each stage, what were the programs of the leaders, and how
successful were they?
- What was the European response to the French Revolution? Consider
political (eg, the Declaration of Pillnitz) as well as intellectual
responses (eg, by Burke, Paine).
- Explain how Napoleon came to power, his success, and his failure.
- Explain the settlement of Europe by the Congress of Vienna.
How was it successful? How a failure?
- What are the general characteristics of the Industrial Revolution?
Explain its origins in England. What changes did it cause in urban
life, class and class consciousness, and economic theory?
Part 9: A Century of Ideas
- Describe the political geography of Europe in the nineteenth
century and the internal political development of Britain, Russia,
Germany, and France.
- Know the origins and characteristics of liberalism. Describe
its particular manifestations in Britain. Note the trend toward
universal suffrage and relate this trend to liberalism.
- Know the origins and characteristics of nationalism. Why did
nationalism pose an unusually difficult problem for the Austrian
empire? What role did romanticism play in thedevelopment of nationalism?
- Describe the revolutions of 1848. Know the general pan-European
causes and also specific causes and the course of events in each
- Know the origins and characteristics of socialism in its various
guises (cf Part VIII), particularly Marxism. Be able to explain
the class struggle, economic determinism, and dialectical materialism
with reference to Marx's theories. Explain the difference between
socialism and communism in the years after Marx.
- Be familiar with such new trends in thought, literature, art,
and science as Freudian psychology, positivism, realism, impressionism,
anti-semitism and Zionism, and Darwinism (evolution and Social
Darwinism). Describe the response of the Catholic Church to the
- Define imperialism. Account for the motives for imperialism
in the nineteenth century. Use the case of Africa as an example
to describe imperialism.
Part 10: Turn of the Century
- Describe the stages of the unification of Germany. What was
the role of Bismarck. What is Realpolitik?
- Describe the political institutions of the German Empire.
Know the general outlines of the foreign policy of Bismarck and
William II, particularly with reference to the Balkans.
- Explain the contributing and immediate causes of World War
I. Describe the course and characteristics of the war (eg, failure
of the Schlieffen Plan, trench and submarine warfare, entry of
United States and withdrawal of Russia). Account for Germany's
- Identify the Big Three at Paris and the respective interests
and agendas they represented. Be familiar with the general terms
of the Peace of Paris. Describe the immediate and long term consequences
of WW I for Germany, Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and for the economy
and psychology of Europe and the United States.
- Identify the forces of reaction and revolution in Russia.
Describe the outbreak of revolution in 1905 and 1917. How did
Lenin and the Bolsheviks take control of the revolution in 1917?
Know the organization of the Communist Party and the Soviet government;
identify the sources and channels of power.
- Define totalitarianism. Account for its appeal in the 1920s
and 1930s. Describe the careers of Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin,
and show how they manipulated ideas for fascist or communist ends.
- Be able to identify the major styles of art in the early twentieth
century. How did the experience of WW I influence new trends in
art and literature?
Part 11: The Twentieth Century
- Be familiar with the chronology of the main political developments
of the twentieth century.
- Explain the outbreak of World War II, describe the general
course of the war in Europe and in the Pacific, and suggest its
short-term and long-term consequences.
- Explain the shift from a multi-polar to a bi-polar world in
the early and middle twentieth century. What are the origins and
characteristics of the Cold War? Describe the changes in superpower
diplomacy from the forties to the eighties.
- Define the term "Third World." Show how the recent
history of India, the African states, and the Middle East illustrates
such general problems in the Third World as Westernization, nationalism,
regionalism, resentment of foreigners, overpopulation, and inefficient
governments. Does the absence of "civil societies" in
these countries help explain their internal problems? Why do the
First and Second Worlds need to be concerned with the Third?
- Know about recent trends in art and thought. What is Post-modernism?
Can this art-critical term be applied informatively to the world
of our time in general?