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Renaissance to Revolution Final

To be clear only two of the questions below should be selected…
Voltaire would like you to write the best of all possible essays about early modern Europe. As you know he is eager to learn about the world around him, and he believes that you are well placed to inform him about it. He wants to know what you have learned from the course materials found in the lessons, the text by Beat Kümin, and the other assigned readings, websites and videos. In order to achieve this aim Voltaire asks that you write two essays based on the topics listed below.
Voltaire, as you know, enjoys witty and informative essays written in clear prose. Voltaire will smile with delight if your essays include a clearly stated thesis that is supported with specific evidence drawn from the course texts. However he will suffer from indigestion if he encounters too many typographical and/or grammatical errors. Voltaire asks that each essay be 500 to 750 words in length, or two to three pages when typed and double-spaced (slightly longer is fine but no less than 500 words).
Again it is critical that your arguments reflect the course materials from the lessons, texts and other sources. In other words your work should show that you understand the concepts from the course.
Please select two essay topics from the following list. Each essay is worth one-half of the grade for the final. It is important to use different material in the two essays (overlapping material could result in a deduction).
1. By 1800 Europe had emerged “as the major driving force behind global developments.” (Kümin, 2nd ed, p 362) In what specific ways was Europe a driving force in the world by 1800? What were the limitations on European influence? How had Europe come to play this role?
2. Beat Kümin states in his book that one of his goals is “to portray the early modern period in its own right.” (See the introduction and epilogue). What does he mean by this, and how does this approach help us better understand the history of Europe in this period? What is gained by viewing a period “in its own right?” Be as precise as possible.
3. What is ‘modern’ about early modern Europe? Be sure to define ‘modernity’ as precisely as possible.You can find a discussion of the concept of modernity in the first two lessons, and you can use the index from Kümin to find out more. It would not be helpful to say it is like today, without being very specific about it. (Please note that in some ways this question contradicts the aims of question two.)
4. How comparable were the lives of Europeans of similar status in 1500 and 1800? What were the most important aspects of people’s lives that had changed? What were the most important that remained similar?
5. Early modern Europe witnessed a series of transformations including the advent of oceanic exploration and encounters, the emergence of Renaissance humanism, the rise of capitalism, the movements of religious reform and the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment. Which of these transformations do you think had the greatest impact on the development of Europe, and why? Be as specific as possible.
6. In many ways early modern Europe was a paradox. Some scholars see early modern Europe as a time of new and positive ideas and ideals emerging from humanism, the expansion of religious tolerance, and the Enlightenment. Others emphasize religious intolerance, imperialism, colonization, and slavery. Which view do you think best characterizes early modern Europe? Or is it a combination of these? This is not an opportunity for a rant, but for a measured and well reasoned discussion, based on evidence and reason (Enlightenment values!).
7. What was not modern about early modern Europe? Some scholars view the period from roughly 1400 to 1800 as marking the beginning of modernity, hence the period is called early modern. Others believe it is more useful to think of the period as an extension of earlier history, and that industrialization marks the real break toward modernity. The period did witness many changes but these do not necessarily mark out a linear movement toward modernity. So write about the ways the period was not modern. In other words in what ways did humanism, exploration, religious reform, the Scientific Revolution, etc, develop out of the preceding centuries.

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