Final Review - Summaries
Lecture 13: Parliamentary matters: Civil war in Britain
What are the religious and political divisions within England? How do these line up with
England is divided by those who view Parliament as the true source of legitimacy
in England due to its representation of the nation while supporters of King
Charles see the monarchy as deriving its authority from God. Added to this is the
division between Puritans and HighAnglicans creating a volatile
political/religious mixture in the kingdom.
How does King Charles alienate his opponents both politically and religiously?
By dissolving Parliament and refusing to recall it, Charles alienates many people.
He exacerbates this by pushing through religious reforms that threaten the
Elizabethan Religious Settlement and therefore fuses political differences with
How does Oliver Cromwell’s radical political position leave him with little legitimacy
other than force? What are the political ramifications of this fact?
By encouraging the execution of the King, Cromwell cuts himself off from one
strand of English political tradition, monarchy. By refusing to allow free and fair
elections for Parliament, Cromwell cuts himself off from the other. He therefore
has no institutional legitimacy and relies on the strength of the army. This means
his political experiment cannot survive his death.
Lecture 14: L’état, c’est nous! The Glorious Revolution in Britain
How did the uneasy political foundations of the Restoration Monarchy dictate relations
between the King and Parliament?
Despite attempting to build a broad base of support, the Restoration Monarchy was
built on shaky foundations. The Stuarts continued claim to Divine-Right Monarchy
was supported by a small but important section of English and British society. This
group was loyal to the king, but also loyal to their HighAnglican religious views
which they expected the king to protect.
How did King James II alienate his supporters and thereby doom Absolutist, Divine-
Right Monarchy in Britain?
James II alienated this loyal base by attempting to push through religious toleration
reform. He also alienated everyone else by superseding the authority of Parliament.
He therefore achieved what few other English/British leaders could; he unified the
different factions of society into a common political cause. Unfortunately for
James, that cause was getting rid of him.
How did Parliament’s decision to invite William and Mary to become king and queen lay
a new foundation for political order in Britain? By calling itself into being, the Convention Parliament established its authority.
By inviting William and Mary to be co-monarchs under the condition that they
uphold the Bill of Rights, Parliament established the principle of a limited
monarchy whose role was to uphold the rights and liberties of the people.
Lecture 15: L’état, c’est moi! Louis XIV and French absolutism
How was Absolutism a response to the chronic political instability of the 17 Century?
The chronic regionalism and religious factionalism that wracked Europe
throughout the 17 Century led to a drive for greater centralized state control.
This was particularly true in France where a weak monarchy had been subjected
to repeated attacks. Numerous officials worked towards the goal of creating a
strong Absolute Monarchy that would prevent such instability from ever occurring
How did Louis XIV fulfill the long-standing goal of creating an Absolute Monarchy in
Louis the XIV built upon the foundations of Richelieu and Mazarin and brought
the nobility under control through a mixture of bribes, patronage and
manipulation. He solved the religious issue by forcing most of the Huguenots to
flee France. He therefore unified power in his hands like no ruler had done
How did Louis’Absolutist project as well as the Glorious Revolution in England both
strengthen the power of the state?
Both the Glorious Revolution and Louis’drive towardsAbsolutism consolidated
power on a firm and legitimate foundation. The state in both England and France
faced war and the management of empires and therefore grew in strength and
Lecture 16: TheAtlantic World: the movement of goods, ideas and people
How did the Columbian Exchange reshape the ecology and the cultures of both sides of
The transfer of flora and fauna reshaped cuisine, eating habits and even ways of
life. New food sources allowed for major population growth in Europe andAsia
but transfers of disease decimated populations in theAmericas. Those indigenous
peoples that did survive saw their ways of life altered sometimes by force and
sometimes by choice.
How did the movement of goods impact the societies of Europe, Africa and the Americas?
The movements of goods via the Triangle Trade reshaped all its points of contact.
In Africa, the wealth and power brought by the trade increased the strength of
coastal groups but threw traditional ways of life and traditional balances of power
out of whack. In theAmericas the necessities of powering this trade dictated the
economic relations of each of the colonies towards one another and towards the
mother country. In Europe new goods and products changed consumption
patterns while new wealth altered the political balance. How did the exchange of ideas and people both connect and divide the Americas from
Europe and Africa?
TheAtlantic served as a conduit for the movement of people and ideas as well.
Far from being isolated, the colonies were well connected to the ideas of Europe
andAfrica. But far from simply receiving these ideas, the people of theAmericas
formulated their own thoughts and took their own political actions as well.
Lecture 17: Some sugar with your tea? Slavery and the building of theAtlantic
How is the profitability of slavery tied to moral complicity?
The immense profitability of slavery undergirded the entire economy of the
Atlantic world. This made it incredibly difficult to challenge on a moral basis.
Much of the economic activity was at least touched in some way by the slave
trade and therefore few people could legitimately claim to be free from its tainting
How did the racial element of slavery develop over time in North America?
Early slavery in NorthAmerica was more akin to indentured servitude. It was
only over time that a more racial view of slavery developed. But once race and
slavery had been linked this process accelerated.
Why did these changes occur?
The rationale for this racial view of slavery was economic. When the economics
of indentured servitude broke down, plantation owners needed to find a cheaper
and more stable source of labor. African slaves provided such a labor force. That
they were different and “other” made it all the easier to build up justifications for
Lecture 18: Europeans in Asia: New lands, new wealth, new ideas
How and why did Europeans expand their influence into the Indian Ocean and eastern
Europeans were lured toAsia by the promise of great wealth generated through
trade. By gaining mastery of the seas the various European powers made
themselves indispensable to the local rulers.
What role did local rulers and native peoples play in the rise and fall of the various
European powers in the region?
These local rulers both used and were used by the Europeans in a constant shifting
of alliances in order to maximize both wealth and power. They were essential
partners but were often played off against one another by the dominant European
power. But should one European power grow too powerful these local rulers were
adept at switching their allegiance in order to restore a greater balance.
How did the European experience in the Indian Ocean and east Asia help shape new
classes and new ideas back in Europe?
The interactions with native peoples inAsia and the tremendous wealth the trade
there brought in helped shift attitudes in Europe. Much of this wealth accrued to a new class of people who did not fit comfortably in the old social structure. It also
caused people to question the nature of their society and the religion used to back
Lecture 19: Reason for everything: the Dawn of the Enlightenment
How did the great quest for stability in Europe create a status quo that left many
The hard won stability in Europe resulted in regimes and societies which
cemented political and economic power with a small band of elites, usually
backed by a state church. The problem was that there were now many groups and
interests that did not fit comfortably into this rigid structure causing many to seek
prescriptions for change and progress.
How did thinkers like Voltaire challenge that status quo?
This led creative thinkers like Voltaire to embrace the ideology of using reason to
understand the laws of nature first used by the practitioners of the Scientific
Revolution and to appropriate it towards social critique. Using this approach,
Voltaire and others, criticized the pillars of power throughout his society and
sought to create a more rational system that would advance human society.
What criticisms and prescriptions did Enlightenment thinkers level against the religious,
social, political and economic order of the day?
These goals were applied to all aspects of life. Philosophes attacked organized
religion as being dogmatic and unreasonable. They attacked the aristocracy as
having no legitimate purpose and therefore superfluous. They attacked absolute
rule and divine right monarchy and took to task Mercantilist economic philosophy
seeking to replace it with a free market system based on the “invisible hand.”
Lecture 20: Is nothing sacred? The spread of Enlightenment
How do the ideals of the Enlightenment spread? How does the way in which is spreads
both protect its proponents and make it unstoppable?