King's College History Department

HIST 376
Early Modern Europe: 1500-1815


Dr. Pavlac
Hafey-Marian 307
Tel: (570) 208-5900, ext. # 5748
Office Hours: MWF 10-11
TT 10:50-11:50
and by appointment

I. Description

This course focuses chiefly on the political developments of the European states from the end of the Middle Ages to end of the French Revolution, within the context of other economic, social and cultural relationships. You will learn how new technologies and methods of rule led to a competition between states for control of, first, Renaissance Italy and, from there, the world. The religious Reformation and the subsequent religious wars led to a precarious balance of power internationally and the assertion of absolutist rule domestically. Meanwhile, representative government, which limited the rule of princes through legislatures or constitutions, gained ground. The ideological and material competition between Absolutism and Republicanism culminated in the French Revolution.

II. Purpose

This is a History Major, European Sequence course.

Objectives for the student:

  1. To identify the major events, persons and ideas of the history of 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century Europe and the West.
  2. To develop concepts and methods which give an understanding of what influenced the attitudes and behavior of major participants in political situations.
  3. To read modern editions of primary sources and explain their significance to relevant historical problems.
  4. To practice critical and analytical skills on historical problems.
  5. To identify and analyze significant problems and situations as they relate to the current issues and the investigation of history.

Goals for the student:

  1. To develop a wider perspective which recognizes the political, economic and cultural interdependence of differing societies and people, and which encourages a more inclusive view of the human experience.
  2. To heighten awareness of the specific contributions and perspectives of diverse members of society.
  3. To appreciate the social, economic, cultural and religious developments of Early Modern Europe to our present culture and World History.
  4. To understand the influence of the past on contemporary events and problems, or, in other words, to develop "Historical Mindedness."

General Learning Outcomes for the student:

In addition to the more content related objectives described above, this course has some general liberal learning goals. Successful completion of this course is expected to help improve your ability

  1. To manage information, which involves such things as sorting data, ranking data for significance, and synthesizing facts, concepts and principles.
  2. To understand and use organizing principles or key concepts against which miscellaneous data can be evaluated.
  3. To differentiate between facts, opinions and inferences.
  4. To frame questions so as to more clearly clarify a problem topic or issue.
  5. To compare and contrast the relative merits of opposing arguments and interpretations, moving between the main points of each position.
  6. To organize your thoughts and communicate them clearly and concisely in a written form and oral presentations.
  7. To obtain practice in selecting and presenting information and arguments within a restricted environment, especially the limitations of time in exams.

III. General Requirements

1. Readings:

The Merriman book is intended both to provide you with important factual and background information before class and to be used as a review and reference work afterwards. Before class, you will read in this textbook the chapters or pages according to the class schedule. Not all topics in this textbook will be covered in class, but you are responsible for them on the exam and in class discussion.
As for Machiavelli and Voltaire, you are to prepare them for class discussion and written assignments, described below. The instructor may give quizzes and/or assign questions and brief writing assignments to test your reading and comprehension.

2. Class Participation & Attendance:

Participation and attendance are necessary because lecture and discussion provide the essentials for achieving class goals and objectives. Thus a portion of your grade (about 20%) will depend on your in-class performance. You are required to attend each class, arrive on time, remain attentive, respond to questions, ask questions and participate in any in-class projects.

Absences due to college activities, emergency or extended illness may be excused by the appropriate director or dean. Other absences are unexcused and will lower the class participation portion of your grade. After any absence, you are responsible for making up missed work, requesting hand-outs, picking up already returned assignments, and/or borrowing notes from other students. Whether absences are excused or not, you cannot get a higher grade than the percentage of classes attended.

All students who have a learning disability, physical handicap and/or any other possible impediment to class participation and requirements should schedule an appointment with the instructor during the first week of class to discuss available accommodations. For general information about expected academic honesy, click here.

3. Exams:

You will take one midterm exam and a final exam, which is comprehensive, as assigned during finals week.

Both exams will consist of short identifications quizzing knowledge of detail and significance, and essays testing your understanding of the course material through logical presentation of facts and explanation of historical trends.

You may take a missed exam, which may be an oral exam, at the discretion of the instructor.

4. Written Assignments:

You will have two written assignments of 4-6 pages of text each about Machiavelli and Voltaire. You will also have a annotated bibliography connected to your oral report, explained below.

Papers should be handed in, in person, at the beginning of class on the due dates assigned.

The grade of any paper you turn in late will lose at least 10% after the beginning of the first class, 20% after the second, and 35% after the third.

No late papers will be accepted after the last day of class. For general information about presentation and writing of papers click here.

5. Women's History Research Site Internet Project:

You are to help build and expand upon the Women's History World Wide Web site. In particular you will chose one woman or history topic from the list provided by the instructor. Then you will

  1. write a brief biography or description of the topic;
  2. compile a thorough annotated bibliography;
  3. find links to sources of information on the internet;
  4. and build a site related to your information.

IV. Grades:

For general grading policy, click here.

Your final grade will be based on a percentage (above 91%=A, 89%=B+, 81%=B, etc.) of the sum of the following points: 50 for each book essay; 10-20 for each quiz or in-class project; 100 for the women's web site; 50 for its annotated bibliography; 100 for the midterm exam, 150 for the final exam; and 200 for your overall class performance and attendance.

Some General Questions:

V. Class Topics:


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Last Revision: 2000 December 12
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