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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mary R O'Neil
HSTEU 302
Seattle Campus

Modern European History: 1648-1815

Political, social, economic, and cultural history from the Peace of Westphalia to the fall of Napoleon.

Class description

This course surveys European history in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, from the Thirty Years’ War and English Civil War (or Puritan Revolution) through the French Revolution of 1789. It will provide a broad overview of these centuries and a solid introduction to central issues and themes in the history of Europe. Major currents in intellectual history, the from Scientific Revolution to Enlightenment and Romanticism, will be examined in relation to political and social developments. Political theory, starting with John Locke, and institutional structures associated with absolutist governments on the continent, and with constitutional monarchy in England, provide a central focus. The course concludes with the revolutionary decade in France, the career of Napoleon and the restoration of monarchies after 1815.

Student learning goals

Understanding the rise of the modern European state system, from the chaos of the 30 Years' War to the French Revolution.

Knowledge of crucial events in European history, such as the English Civil War; French reigns of Louis XIII and XIV, including the court culture of Versailles; eastern European monarchies in Austria, Prussia, Russia; the French Revolution.

Intellectual history from Scientific Revolution of 17th C. and political theory from Hobbes and Locke, to the French Enlightenment and Rousseau; impact of these ideas on French Revolution.

Close reading of political treatises crucial to the European tradition, especially John Locke, Second Treatise of Government and Rousseau's Discourse on the Origins of Inequality

Visual aspect of the course includes slide shows on major events, such as Thirty Years' War, English Civil War, French Revoluation and major individuals such as Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette.

Transition of European society from its traditional social and political forms to its modern era.

General method of instruction

Lecture, using slides at times. Once or twice a week there will be in-class discussion of assigned readings (since there are no sections). A few one page response papers will be assigned during the quarter.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites, but any background in European history is useful.

Class assignments and grading

Requirements: Midterm, Final exam, two short papers (3-4 and 4-5 pages) also a few short response papers on certain assigned readings.

First paper: topics on Locke’s Second Treatise of Government Second paper: topics on Enlightenment, Rousseau or French Revolution

Books: Textbook: To be determined. In the past I've used Palmer& Colton History of the Modern World Vol. I. To 1815 Note on this book: UBS has ordered the most recent edition which is the 10th edition, and costs $78 new. Earlier editions, especially the 8th and 9th editions, are available for sale on-line and are OK to use in the course. John Locke, Second Treatise of Government Descartes, Discourse on Method Margaret Jacob, The Enlightenment: A Brief History with Documents Voltaire, Candide (edited by Daniel Gordon) Rousseau, Discourse on Origins of Inequality Lynn Hunt & Jack Censer, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution

Grading of the above assignments, with credit for discussion participation


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Mary R O'Neil
Date: 05/13/2010