Order and Change: The Modern West

Matthew N. Vosmeier (163J at 9:00 a.m.)
Daniel P. Murphy (163K at 10:00 a.m.)

Winter 2011

866-7211          vosmeier@hanover.edu
866-7222          murphy@hanover.edu

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Course description and required texts:

This LADR course is a survey of the broad themes that characterized the history of the West, emphasizing the time since the Renaissance. Students will analyze primary sources, consider the importance of historical context and perspective, discuss their ideas with colleagues, and interpret the sources in light of broader themes of modern European and American history.

LADR Objectives:
1. By exploring the ideas, themes, events, and personalities that have shaped the history of the West, students will be able to describe important characteristics of modern society and how those characteristics shape our lives.
2. Reading and analyzing background texts and primary sources as historians do helps students to understand one of the "key ways of knowing and of evaluating evidence in the social sciences."
3. By considering change over time, and similarities and differences between past and present, students will place modern society in its historical context.
4. History concerns the analysis and interpretation of social, cultural, religious, and political evidence of the past. Through consideration of that evidence, students will be able to "expand their abilities to view things from alternative perspectives" and to "explain causes for human behavior in ways that account for the complexity of social forces and of human motivation."
5. Students will hone their ability to "reflect systematically and meaningfully on ethical dilemmas and issues that face citizens in modern society" by thinking about the problems, debates, and conflicts people have faced in the course of the history of Western society
6. Through class discussion and through course exams and papers, students construct interpretations of evidence and support them with effective speaking and writing.

Required Texts:

1. Thomas H. Greer and Gavin Lewis, A Brief History of the Western World.
2. Online Materials accessed through this web page
3. Materials on reserve at Duggan Library
There is an online Study Guide for Primary Sources to print out.

The final course grade will be calculated from the following:

1. Two exams: A midterm exam (25%) and a final exam (25%). These consist of identification terms and essays. Students are expected to take the exams on the days scheduled. In cases of necessity, requests for make-ups should be made before the day of the exam.

2. Two papers (each 20%). Each paper will be about four pages long. Details will be found on the assignment handout.

3. Class participation (10%). Class participation includes collegial involvement in class discussions and completion of brief assignments.

Topics and Reading Assignments:



Renaissance and Reformation Continued

Jan. 17:

Jan. 19: Review of the Renaissance

Jan. 21: The Renaissance. Writing History Papers. Greer & Lewis, 307-313, 335-342, 344-356
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, "Oration on the Dignity of Man" (1486).
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (1513).


Jan. 24: The Reformation. Greer & Lewis, 364-380, 384-387
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (1545).

Jan. 26: Individualism and Community in Early Modern Society.

Jan. 28: The English Reformation and English Puritanism. Greer & Lewis, 380-384.
John Winthrop, "A Modell of Christian Charity" (1630).


The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Absolutism, Enlightenment, and Lockean Liberalism

Jan. 31: Absolutism. Greer & Lewis,408-411, 416-418.
Jacques Bossuet, On the Nature and Properties of Royal Authority (1678).
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651).

Feb. 2: The English Revolution, Greer & Lewis, 446-451.
John Locke, Second Treatise on Government (1690).

Feb. 4: Writing Workshop.
Bring Paper Drafts to class.


Feb. 7: The Enlightenment, Greer & Lewis, 425-431.
John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690).
Voltaire, The Philosophical Dictionary (1764).
Olaudah EquianoThe Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789).

Feb. 9: The Enlightenment.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, (1763).

Feb. 11: Classical Republicanism and the Whig Opposition.
John Trenchard, Cato's Letters, No. 18
Thomas Gordon, Cato's Letters, No. 33
John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, Cato's Letters, No. 94
First Paper Due


The American and French Revolutions.

Feb. 14: The American Revolution and the Early Republic. Greer & Lewis, 451-456
Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence (1776).
Abigail Adams, "Remember the Ladies" Letter (1776).
James Madison, Federalist #10 (1787).

Feb. 16: The French Revolution and Empire. Greer & Lewis, 445-446, 456-471.
Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789).
Olympe de Gouges, Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791)
Maximilien de Robespierre, Speech of February 5, 1794 (1794).

Feb. 18: Midterm Review


Feb. 21: Midterm Exam

Feb. 23: Romanticism. Greer & Lewis, 439-442,480-490

The Nineteenth Century

Feb. 25: Conservative Reaction. Greer & Lewis, 473-478.
Klemens von Metternich, Political Confession of Faith (1820).

(Winter Break begins at the close of class day, Friday, Feb. 25. Class resumes Monday, Mar. 7)


Mar. 7: Music of the Western World. Greer & Lewis, 439-442, 490-491, 672-673

Mar. 9: Liberalism. Greer & Lewis, 491-497.
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859) and John Stuart Mill, "Utilitarianism" (1861).

Mar. 11: Nationalism. Greer & Lewis, 497-501.
Joseph Mazzini,An Essay On the Duties of Man (1844-1858).


Mar. 14: American Individualism.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The American Scholar" (1837)
Seneca Falls Convention, Declaration of Sentiments (1848)

Mar. 16: American Slavery, Sectionalism, and Civil War
Frederick Douglass, "The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro" (1852)
Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address (1863)

Mar. 18: Socialism. Greer & Lewis, 517-523.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Communist Manifesto (1848).


Mar. 21: Late Nineteenth-Century Social Thought. Greer & Lewis, 528-530.
Andrew Carnegie, "The Gospel of Wealth" (1889).
Thomas Huxley, Evolution and Ethics (1893).

Imperialism, Racism, Statism

Mar. 23: Race and Racism in the Progressive Era.
Booker T. Washington, "The Atlanta Exposition Address" (1895).
W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903).

Mar. 25: Writing Workshop.
Bring Paper Drafts to class.


Mar. 28: The New Imperialism and World War I. Greer & Lewis, 548-567.
World War I Poetry

Mar. 30: The Russian Revolution, Statist Regimes and World War II. Greer & Lewis, 568-582, 585-591.
Benito Mussolini, "The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism" (1932)

Apr. 1: TBA
Second Paper Due


American Society and the World since 1945

Apr. 4: The Cold War. Greer & Lewis, 595-612, 614-624, 626-637.
The Cold War in Film.

Apr. 6: Civil Rights. Greer & Lewis, 612-614.
Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from the Birmingham Jail" (1963)
Black Panther Party Platform (1966)

Apr. 8: Late Twentieth-Century & Contemporary American Society. Greer & Lewis, 732-739.
The Port Huron Statement (1962).
National Organization for Women Statement of Purpose (1966).


Apr. 11: Contemporary Society
David Brooks, Bobos in Paradise (2004), chapter 2, on reserve

Apr. 13: Global Society and Conflict. Greer & Lewis, 720-730.
Reading TBA

Apr. 15: Conclusion and Review for Final Exam

Apr. 18-22 Final Exam Week