Modern World History


Modern World History

Course Description:

Modern History surveys world events from the Renaissance to the present. The major
focus is on Western civilization. Political and cultural events associated with the
Renaissance, the rise of nation-states, war and diplomacy, changing economic
systems, and revolutions. The course will end with an in-depth study of World War I
and II. Historical fiction, biographies, films, and other audio-visual materials are part of
the classroom experience. A variety of approaches – chronological, thematic,
historiographic, and biographical – are possible.

Course Objectives:

Students will:

  • Read maps and predict the effects of geography on human cultures and societies
  • Use primary and secondary sources to construct valid answers to the essential
  • Defend premises and arguments with valid support from primary and secondary
  • Debate historical issues and interpretations using precise language and supporting
  • Write persuasive paragraphs and papers with strong theses and support from primary
    and secondary sources
  • Develop and apply terms for analyzing religions, and social, political, and economic
  • Comprehend and apply elements of art criticism to historical works of art
  • Prepare for and argue in debates or discussion
  • Apply refined historical skills (construction of written and oral arguments, use of valid
    primary and secondary sources to defend arguments, drawing valid inferences, use of
    precise language, analysis of maps, charts, and graphs)

Scope and Sequence:

Unit 1: Renaissance and Reformation

  • Renaissance art
  • Renaissance humanism
  • Martin Luther and his ideas
  • Calvinism and Anglicanism
  • Propaganda in the Protestant Reformation
  • The Catholic Reformation and Counter Reformation


Unit 2: Early Modern Europe and the Old Regime

  • The Price Revolution and changes to daily life in early modern Europe
  • Social Hierarchy and daily life in early modern Europe
  • Early modern European women and witchcraft
  • English Constitutionalism- Elizabeth to William and Mary
  • Henry IV and Louis XIII
  • Louis XIV as a model of absolutism


Unit 3: The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment

  • Galileo
  • Scientific method and discoveries
  • Isaac Newton- a scientific view of the universe
  • The Enlightenment- Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire


Unit 4: The French Revolution and Conservative Reaction

  • Enlightenment Ideas
  • Social and Economic Background to The French Revolution
  • The Summoning of the Estates General
  • The Role of Women and Working Classes
  • The Liberal Constitution of 1791
  • The Radical Phase and the Reign of Terror
  • Napoleon
  • The lasting effects of the French Revolution
  • The Congress of Vienna


Unit 5: The Industrial Revolution and Early Industrial Europe

  • From the cottage system to the Factory system
  • Factory Life
  • Worker responses to the Factory system
  • Social ranking – middle class and working class
  • The Growth of Industrial cities


Unit 6: Nationalism and Imperialism

  • Nationalism
  • The new Imperialism
  • Motives and Methods of European Imperialism
  • Reactions to European Imperialism


Unit 7: World War I

  • Long and short term causes of World War I
  • Political Geography of Europe in 1914
  • The Schlieffen Plan
  • Trench Warfare