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HST 142: History of Western Civilization Since 1650

Course Prefix

Course Number

Course Title


Credit Hours



History of Western Civilization to 1650



Course Description

Continues HST 141. Commences with the emergence of modern times, i.e., the development of royal absolutism and the beginnings of the modern nation state and concludes with the 20th century and the modern world.

Topical Outline

  1. Royal Absolutism
    1. Introduction
    2. Theory and Practice of Absolutism #1 England to 1660
    3. Theory and Practice of Absolutism #2: England to 1789
    4. Royal Absolutism in France: to Louis XIV
    5. Royal Absolutism in France: Louis XIV to 1789
    6. Absolutism in Spain, Central Europe, and Russia
    7. Absolutism Concluded
  2. Intellectual and French Revolutions
    1. The Scientific Revolution and 17th Century Thought
    2. Eighteenth Century Intellectual Life
    3. The French Revolution #1
    4. The French Revolution #2
    5. The Jacobin Republic
    6. The Napoleonic Period
    7. Reaction at Vienna
  3. Early Nineteenth Century Europe
    1. The Romantic Impulse
    2. European Politics and Revolution to 1850 #1
    3. European Politics and Revolution to 1850 #2
    4. The Industrial Revolution
    5. Economic and Social Consequences of Industrialization
    6. Nineteenth Century Liberalism
  4. Late Nineteenth Century Europe
    1. England: 1850 - 1914
    2. France: From Empire to Republic
    3. France to World War I and the USA
    4. Italy: 1848 - 1914
    5. Germany: 1848 - 1914
    6. The Persistence of Conservatism in Russia
    7. Two Dying Empires: Austrian and Ottoman
    8. Darwinism and Social Darwinism
  5. World War I to the Present
    1. The New Imperialism and the Road to War
    2. World War I (A World Fit for Heroes)
    3. The Aftermath of World War I
    4. Dictatorship in Proletariat Russia
    5. Fascism and Nazism
    6. Democracy in the Wasteland; Democracy after World War I
    7. The Depression Threatens Democracy and Breeds Totalitarianism
    8. Aggression and Appeasement 2
    9. The World Divided
    10. Post-World War II Europe

Method of Presentation

  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion

Student Outcomes (The student should…)

  1. understand the ability (or lack thereof) of European kings to control their nations on the basis of the premise that they were accountable only to God. The student should also understand the significance of the wars which were waged among these kings. (I)
  2. learn about the effects of the scientific and intellectual revolutions of the 17th & 18th centuries and be able to relate them to the French Revolution. Also, a knowledge of the French Revolutionary period & its relationship to the birth of nationalism is also required. (II)
  3. become knowledgeable about the intellectual and political trends of post-Napoleonic Europe. Also, an understanding of the Industrial Revolution and its social, economic, political, & intellectual consequences will be necessary. (III)
  4. learn about the progress of democratization as it relates to European industrialization during the late 19th century. Knowledge about important nationalistic movements will also be necessary. Finally, the student should be aware of important intellectual currents of this period, especially Darwinism and Social Darwinism. (IV)
  5. learn about late 19th century imperialism, World War I and its aftermath, the growth of totalitarianism, the effects of the Great Depression, the causes and consequences of World War II, and the post-war period. (V)
  6. be required to write a paper on a subject which relates to this course. His/her ability to research, organize, analyze, and write will be taken into account.

Method of Evaluation

  1. Five (5) examinations (4 plus the final) which will involve a combination of essay and objective questions
  2. Three (3) required papers, 3-4 pages each
  3. A maximum of three (3) optional papers for extra credit
  4. Student participation

The student will have the option to select from a prepared list a total of up to three topics about which he/she may write for purposes of extra credit.


Chambers, Western Experience Vol 1, 9th ed., McGraw Hill, 2007.

Prepared by: Michael Harkins

Fall, 2008