History 341

HIST 341

Early Modern Europe

Catalog Entry

HIST 341

Early Modern Europe

Credit Hours: (3)

Prerequisite: Three hours of History at 100 level.

A study of European history from 1300 to 1789  that explores the crisis of the late Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, revolt and revolution, constitutional development,  science and the Enlightenment.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

I. Introduction: Medieval Europe as Context

A.  The Flowering of the High Middle Ages

                B.  The Crisis of the Late Middle Ages                         

II. Italian Renaissance

                A. Socio-Economic Foundations

                B. Cultural Predecessors

C. The New Mentality: Petrarch and  Humanism

                D. The New Mentality: Art and Artists

 III.  Political Constellation of Italy in the Fifteenth Century                                          

                A. States: Venice, Florence, Milan, Rome

                B. Power Politics and Diplomacy

                C. Machiavelli and the Failure of Italy

 IV. States of Western Europe

                A. Strong Monarchies: Spain, France, England

                B. Early Reconnaissance of the World’s Oceans

                C. Central Europe: The Holy Roman Empire

 V. Northern Renaissance

                A. Spread of Humanist Thought

                B. Technology and the Economy

                C. Christian Humanism in Germany, France, England, Spain

                D. Thought of Desiderius Erasmus

VI. Roman Catholic Church on the Eve of the Reformation

                A. Review: The Avignon Papacy and the Great Schism

                B. Renaissance Popes

                C. Other Signs of Disorder in the Church circa 1500                         

VII. Martin Luther and the Beginning of the Reformation

                A. Luther's Early Life

                B.  The Spark: Indulgences

                C. Reaction to Luther’s Ideas

                D. Protestantism

                E. The Social Impact of Luther

                F. The German Peasants’ War

VIII. Holy Roman Empire

                A. Political Constitution

                B. Rise of the Habsburg Dynasty

                C. The Political Impact of Luther's Beliefs

                D. Charles V and the Reformation

IX. Other Protestant Directions

                A. Zwingli and the Swiss Reformed Church

                B. Radical Reformation: Anabaptistm

                C. Calvin and Calvinism

                D.  Henry VIII and the English Reformation

X. Catholic Response: The Counter-Reformation

                A. Delay of Institutional Reform

                B. The Council of Trent

                C. Inquisition and Censorship

                D. New Religious Orders             

XI. France and the Wars of Religion

                A. The Origins of Difficulties in France

                B. Religious Conflict and Civil War in France

XII. Britain in the Later Sixteenth Century

                A. Scotland and the Reformation

                B. England and Mary Tudor

                C. Reign of Elizabeth I                          

XIII. Habsburg Spain in the Sixteenth Century

                A. Reign of Charles V: Government and War

                B. Revolt of the Comuneros

                C. Spain in the New World

                D. Reign of Phillip II

                E. The Habsburg Netherlands

XIV. Revolt of the Netherlands

                A. Protestantism in the Netherlands

                B. Resistance to Spanish Rule

                C. The "Pacification" of the Netherlands

                D. The Birth of the United Provinces

                E. The Spanish Armada

                F. Spain’s Northern Failure

XV. The Seventeenth Century: Central Europe in Transition

                A. The Thirty Years' War

                B. The Creation of the Austrian Empire


XVI. Seventeenth-Century Constitutional Development 

                A. Origins of Absolutism and Constitutionalism

                B. French Absolutism at its Zenith: Louis XIV                 

                C. Constitutional Development and Civil War in England

                D. Absolutism in Central Europe and Russia

                E. Alternative Developments in Switzerland and Poland

XVII. Scientific Developments and the Enlightenment

                A. Astronomers and other Scientists

                B. Religious Reactions

                C. Rationalism

                D. The Enlightenment: Reaction and Impact

XVIII. System and Conflict: Status quo of the Ancien Regime

A. Socio-Economic Conditions in the Eighteenth Century

B. Seeds of Destruction, Seeds of Stability

C. Revolution in France


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The class meets three hours per week.  The course is taught primarily using a lecture format and includes time dedicated to the discussion of sources and concepts from lectures and readings.  Students are required to read extensively from textbooks and material distributed in class. Class discussion of assigned material is an important element of the course.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

a. Students will practice thinking critically and analytically about historical issues, acquire a broader knowledge and deeper understanding of pertinent historical events and processes, and cultivate a familiarity with the concepts of historical argument and interpretation.

b. Students will develop disciplinary research skills by designing strategies to locate and analyze primary and secondary source evidence, processing and organizing the resultant data, and composing proper citation and bibliographical entries.

c. Students will apply their critical thinking, research, and compositional skills to the creation and presentation of thesis driven essays that discuss, for example, historical social, economic, political, and/or cultural developments and that address issues such as the causes and consequences of historical change and continuity. 

d. Students will describe the physical and cultural geography of early modern Europe, study European civilization during a period of profound transformation, and develop an awareness of the depth of cultural continuity and change over historical time.  In particular, students will demonstrate an understanding of the nature of change and continuity by noting the role that early modern Europeans played in shaping modern western beliefs, ideas, and institutions

e. Students will discuss the relationship of the past to the present by pointing to the influences that early modern European civilization has had on the formation of today’s world.  Students will analyze terminology customarily used by historians and come to an understanding of how the use of modern concepts and constructs shapes our view of the past. 


Assessment Measures

Knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this course will be measured using an array of assessment tools that may include, among other things, class attendance and participation, written examinations, formal writing assignments of various types, and informal writing assignments. All exercises are designed to expand the student's ability to evaluate historical events and to develop his or her ability to compose persuasive arguments.


Other Course Information: None


Review and Approval

Date Action Reviewed by

October 2010 Reviewed and Approved by Sharon Roger Hepburn