World History Since 1775 - Part 1
This course traces world history—Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States—from the pivotal year 1775 to the present in two roughly equally balanced halves. It incorporates the “Four Pillars” of American Exceptionalism, or, more accurately, the absence of these and the effects this absence had, on other parts of the world. It includes culture, politics, and economics of the major parts of the world.
This course traces World History since 1775 (including the American and French Revolutions) to the present. It incorporates a discussion of the “Four Pillars” of American exceptionalism and why these did not develop in other countries. Lessons address Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Latin America, China, and Africa as well as the United States.
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Included in the lessons are discussions of the origins of the modern world and their components of the scientific revolution, the notions of religious toleration, and of constraints on monarchs. Then we will examine the nature and character of the American Revolution, its influence on the French Revolution and how the two were different; the rise of Napoleon and how his conquests shaped not only Europe but Latin America and Africa in a way different from the development of the United States.
You’ll see how the Industrial Revolution in England, then America, then Europe set the Europeans and the Americans apart in their economic growth from much of the rest of the world. A unit on Africa, Asia, and India will explain how geographical hurdles retarded the growth of those regions.
Then, starting with the 1820s, we see the rise of democracies in Europe as monarchs slowly give way to more representative governments. Nevertheless, both France and Germany have difficulty establishing any kind of democratic government, and find themselves at war.
Finally, we will see how the Industrial Revolution gave the Europeans such an advantage when in conflict with Africans or Asians that it made the conquest of much of the world relatively easy for the Europeans. America finds itself a part of this expansion with the Philippines and Hawaii.
Lesson 1: Origins Of The Modern World (800-1800)
Europe’s distinct character rose from a combination of Christian restraints on monarchs, combined with the appearance of “Enlightenment” ideas and notions of common law, private property, and a free market. This wide-ranging lesson includes discussions of religious toleration and Adam Smith.
Lesson 2: Age Of Revolutions (1570-1789)
Beginning with the rise of “nation states,” this lesson examines the importance of the economic theory called mercantilism and its role in both the American and French Revolutions. In America mercantilism is a source of conflict with England, even as France was driven from the New World. At the time of the American Revolution, mercantilism gives way to capitalism. The French Revolution, caused by the indebtedness of the monarchy and the need for more taxes from non-nobles, soon eliminates the King and many others in the “Reign of Terror,” paving the way for Napoleon.
TEST: Lessons 1 & 2
Test understanding of lessons 1 and 2 using these questions. Remember that these tests are important for the learning process as they create opportunities to practice recall of information. This practice helps to make information stick!
Lesson 3: The Napoleonizing Of The World (1798-1840)
With the collapse of the French Revolution, one of the most important figures in human history, Napoleon Bonaparte, comes to power and quickly defeats several alliances of other European powers to spread French influence as far as Russia. This lesson examines Napoleon as a person, his military genius, and his impact far beyond mere conquest. Although defeated and exiled, Napoleon’s influence lived on it Latin America and then in his relative, Louis Napoleon, for decades.
Lesson 4: The Industrial Revolution (1780-1850)
Europe, for geographic reasons but also mainly due to approaches to scientific and mechanical inquiry leaps far ahead of the rest of the world with the application of steam power which makes energy portable for the first time in human history. An examination of the flawed term “Dark Ages” gives way to a review of a host of exceptional inventors including James Watt, John Fitch, Eli Whitney, Sam Colt, as well as to new forms of business organization unseen anywhere else in the world, such as the corporate form and “Preemption.” The legal structures for the West proved as important as the inventions themselves. Critics of the Industrial Revolution, including Thomas Malthus and, later, Karl Marx are included along with modern scholarship criticizing the critics.
TEST: Lessons 3 & 4
Test understanding of lessons 3 and 4 using these questions. Remember that these tests are important for the learning process as they create opportunities to practice recall of information. This practice helps to make information stick!
Lesson 5: Africa, Asia, and Latin America To 1900 (1400 - 1900)
This lesson includes a great deal of analysis of geographic limitations to national growth, especially in Latin America and Africa. The rise of the slave trade in Africa, European conquest of many parts of these continents, and the internal difficulties of any group assuming power over large regions are examined. China’s history from the “Golden Fleet” to the Mongols to the Mahchu is included, along with a discussion of the Opium War and the Boxer Rebellion. In Latin America, Europe’s grip over the Latin American countries is affected deeply by Napoleon’s conquest of Spain, opening the door for revolutions under Edward San Martin and Simon Boulivar.
Lesson 6: Markets, Monarchs, and Mobs (1800-1890)
We return to Europe to look at the spread of democracy, the widespread influence of the free market, and the response by mobs when they feel they are being denied their role in politics. Special attention is given to Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone, William Wilberforce, and Charles Gordon in this lesson. We see the failure of France as it is divided among monarchists, republicans, and Bonapartists, a struggle ended by the rise to power of Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III). The rise of Germany and the Franco-Prussian War close out this unit.
Lesson 7: The Era of Global European Dominance (1800-1914)
We return to Africa and Asia as the Europeans and, toward the end, the Americans, exert control over much of the globe due to the “tools of imperialism”: steam power, advanced firearms, medicine, and the “western way of war.” This lesson also examines the construction of the Panama Canal and the Spanish-American War. What explains Europeans’ desire to control other regions? A variety of answers are examined including racism, perceived benevolence, and plain old “balance of power politics.”
TEST: Lessons 5, 6 & 7
Test understanding of lessons 5 - 7 using these questions. Remember that these tests are important for the learning process as they create opportunities to practice recall of information. This practice helps to make information stick!