CORE 131
Western Civilization, Part III

Study Questions for Final Exam

Held on Friday, Dec 15 at 8 a.m. in the Burke Auditorium, McGowan

Remember, your exams you will be asked to write a clear, legible essay, using complete sentences and paragraphs.  You should plan your essay in advance.  You should use specific details in your essay, such as proper names, dates and terminology.


  1. How did the First Scientific Revolution energize economics and society?
  2. How did Enlightenment thinkers conceive of improvements to human society?
  3. How did absolutism assert itself in Europe before 1800? 
  4. How did democratic forms of government spread in the West before 1800? 
  5. How did the revolutionaries in France execute political changes through the Napoleonic Empire and then fail?
  6. How did competing political ideologies offer alternatives in the 19th Century?
  7. How did inventions and capitalism produce the Industrial Revolution and how did Socialists address its problems? 
  8. How did naturalistic science generate new and unsettling knowledge in the 19th Century? 
  9. How did the Europeans come to dominate Africa and Asia? 
  10. How did the United States of America become a world power?
  11. How did various nationalisms change the political structures of the West and help push Western Civilization toward war?

  1. Discuss how modern science has changed Western Society's view of the world. You might consider the following questions:  How did astronomy first destroy the medieval view of the universe, and what replaced it in the 17th century? What 19th century advances, especially in physics and biology, in turn brought further change, and how do these affect our view of ourselves and the world?
  2. Discuss the political changes in Western states since 1648. You might consider the following questions:  What were the two competing forms of government before the French Revolution and how did they work in various states? How did the French Revolution change political action? What conflicts, reforms and expansions of political power took place in Europe in the 19th century, and the rest of the world?
  3. Discuss the many changes taking place in Western Society during the Early Modern period (1648-1815). You might consider the following questions:  What were the competing political systems? How did the economy and social status change as a result of the commercial revolution? What new cultural developments provided new ways to look at life? What new developments in science made people question their position in the world? How were these ideas applied to people in the Enlightenment? What did the French Revolution do to change things?
  4. Discuss the changes taking place in Western Society during the Nineteenth Century (1815-1914). You might consider the following questions:  What were the competing political ideologies, and what changed in the relations both between European states after 1815 and then Europe and the rest of the world? How did the economy and social status change as a result of industrial revolutions? What new cultural developments provided new ways to look at life? What new developments in science made people question their position in the world?

1st Comprehensive Question:
Examine how ideas and beliefs have transformed the history of the West.  How did intellectual revolutions, like the great philosophers of ancient Greece, the founding of medieval universities, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the rise of social sciences and new sciences in the 19th Century support the role of reason?  How did the religions of the ancient world become replaced by Christianity, and then how did Christianity sustain and direct Western peoples through the Middle Ages, the Reformation and through the challenges of modernity up to 1914?   

2nd Comprehensive Question:
Examine the role of materialistic revolutions in the history of the West.  You might consider the following questions:  How did the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution, Commercial Revolution, Scientific Revolution, Scientific Agricultural Revolution, and Industrial Revolutions change material culture?  How did political revolutions, whether successful or failed, in city-states and empires of the ancient world, with towns and peasants in Medieval Europe, or in modern England, America, France, and throughout Europe in 1830 and 1848 offer alternative ways of governance?

3rd Comprehensive Question:
Examine the role of warfare and empire in the History of the West.  You might consider the following questions:  How did the achievements of the Greeks and Romans depend on successful warfare, conquest, and imperial rule?  How was the Middle Ages shaped around military conflict and what innovations ended its unique political and economic structures?  How did Western states in modern times conduct war for political, nationalistic and imperial goals to change the course of World history?


link to Kings College link to history dept.

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