Mid-term review sheet

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\Western Civilization II

Spring 2008

Professor Knight


The mid-term exam will consist of five sections for a total of 80 points: a chronology (10 points), identifications (20pts), quotation analysis (10 pts) short answers (20 points) and a short essay (20 points).

The exam will cover everything we have gone over so far in the semester – chapters 14 through 21 in your textbook. As a general rule, I will tend to focus more on the material that I went over in class, but material covered only in the textbook still provides useful context and relevant factual information. Therefore I recommend that you read the entire textbook at least once through and then review in more detail themes that I emphasized in class. Also be sure to look over the documents on the course web site paying particular attention to the ones that I discussed in class. Use the lecture outlines on the web site as study guides for specific topics. I will only choose terms for identifications that are listed on the outlines.
The following should give you some idea what to expect in the individual sections:
I. Chronology. I will give you a list of 10 terms. Your task is to number them in chronological order from earliest to latest. Keep an eye out for causal relations. For example, if we accept that the Enlightenment was a significant factor contributing to the French Revolution, then any event relating to the Enlightenment would tend to come before the French Revolution. Here is a sample of the sort of thing you might expect:
_____Storming of the Bastille _____First railroad opened

_____Charles I of England beheaded _____Frankfurt Parliament convenes

_____Diderot's Encyclopedia _____Chartist Movements peaks

_____The American Revolution _____Napoleon invades Russia

II. Identifications. (20 points) Out of a list of 8-10 possibilities, you will choose four terms to identify.  Each identification will be worth five points for a total of 20 points.  I expect each identification to consist of 3-4 complete sentences addressing the basic questions—“who, what, where and when?”  You should also give some indication of the overall historical significance of the term: why was it important? If you don’t remember exact dates, at least give a general indication of the time period and link the subject to the larger historical trends (i.e. scientific revolution, enlightenment, etc.)

Samples: Rene Descartes                      Deism               Seven Year’s War

III. Quotations: (10 points) In this section, you will be required to analyze a short passage from one of the texts we have read and discussed.  You will have two or three texts from which to choose.  First state briefly in your own words the essence of the text--what is the author saying?  Then contextualize these ideas--what is their significance? How do they fit into the overall trends we have been discussing?  Thirdly, identify the text and its author. 


“The end of government is the good of mankind; and which is best for mankind, that the people should be always exposed to the boundless will of tyranny, or that the rulers should sometimes be liable to be opposed when they grow exorbitant in the use of their power, and employ it for the destruction and not the preservation of the properties of their people.”

Sample response:

“The author is saying here that people should have the right to stand up in opposition to a government that no longer serves their interests. Governments should work for the good of the people, not the other way around. Opposition to tyranny is necessary and legitimate. These ideas reflect the development of English political theory around the time of the Glorious Revolution and later the American Revolution. In both these cases a ruler who seemed to be violating the rights and interests of the people was rejected. The author is John Locke and the text is Second Treatise on Civil Government.”

IV. Short Answers (Factual essays) 20 points

You will choose two out of a list of four or five questions.  The questions will be more or less factual in nature and you should be able to provide a thorough answer in a few concise sentences. Be sure to read the question carefully and answer as specifically and concretely as possible. Answer the question you actually have, not the one you wish you had been given.

Example: How did Galileo defend himself from accusations that his scientific methods and teachings contradicted the bible?

Sample Answer: Galileo addressed the criticisms against him most directly in his “Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany.” Here he argued that while the bible can never truly be wrong, it must be properly understood. God did not intend the bible to serve as a science textbook but rather to save souls. To understand the workings of the natural world, God gave us our powers of observation and reason which he intended us to use. Galileo may have thought that his arguments were persuasive, but the Church was not convinced.

V. Essay question: (15 points) Choose one question out of a list of three. Your essay should be well written and well-organized.  Take time to jot down initial ideas, draw up an outline, reread the question and then begin to write your answer.  I expect you to show both a mastery of the historical facts and the ability to argue in support of a particular interpretation. Here is a typical question:

"Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries European powers struggled to build vast colonial empires, but for all the lives lost and money spent colonial empires had very little impact on the way of life of ordinary people in Europe and served merely to make the rich even richer."

Discuss this thesis.  State clearly whether you agree or disagree and use as much concrete historical evidence as possible to justify your position.

Sample response:

“It is certainly true that the European colonial empires of the 17th and 18th centuries served to make the rich even richer. But the notion that European colonial expansion did not touch the lives of the lower classes is simply not true. The impact of colonial empires on ordinary people can be seen among other things in the appearance of new crops and commodities, the rise of immigration and the heavier burden of war and taxation.

Colonial Empires in the 17th and 18th century generated profits for investors through the expansion of trade. For this to take place they needed new products to sell both in the colonies and at home. The plantation system was aimed at producing these commodities. Sugar, coffee, tea, molasses and other products were imported from the colonies back to Europe where they revolutionized patterns of consumption for rich and poor alike. The potato, which was imported from the new world, had a particularly powerful impact as a staple crop in some of the poorest parts of Europe such as Ireland.

For the poor and middle classes, the colonies also represented opportunity and hope. Many thousands of people immigrated to North America and other regions in search of a better life. It may be that the possibility of immigration helped the European countries cope to some extent with the burden of a rapidly growing population.

The empires in the 18th century were in fierce competition with one another, and over the course of the century a series of wars were fought involving the colonies. The Seven Years War (1756-1763) was particularly important in this regard in that it established the preeminence of the British Empire and the relative decline of France as a colonial power. These wars were extremely expensive. All of the states involved incurred major debts which could only be paid by increasing the burden on the taxpaying population. Fiscal problems stemming from the cost of war were a major factor sparking the outbreak of both the French and American revolutions.

One could argue at great length about whether the impact of colonial empires on the lower and middle classes of Europe was positive or negative. But the fact of this impact, it seems to me, can not be disputed.

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