Course Syllabus and Writing Assignments
Red Hook High School
AP European History
This AP course is an introductory college course; It is not easy, but neither is it impossibly difficult. Compared with Level 2 high school courses, AP European History will be more demanding, but also more rewarding. AP courses require more work, but they allow greater opportunity to master the subject and to explore it in greater depth. Graduating seniors with an AP score of 3 or higher will have an opportunity to receive college credit. The course is a logical culmination for those gifted and hard working students seeking preparation for those colleges and universities cited as more competitive. The course follows a basically chronological approach emphasizing the relevance of history to today’s world, with an added emphasis on developing study habits. All historical issues are examined by a multi-causal approach revolving around the following three broad themes : (1) Social / Economic (2) Political / Diplomatic
and (3) Cultural / Intellectual. The course also refocuses on the changing views of humans, God, science, and politics from the Renaissance to the present.
The course grades will be derived from two sources :
(1) AP - Style exams, administered monthly
(2) Multiple 300 word write-ups of the Italicized Questions
contained in each unit’s outline. These written responses will
be handed in the day of the unit exam they apply to. If the
written responses are not complete and brought to the exam
then the student will not be able to take the exam or receive
the necessary credit to pass the course.
**** . ALL REQUIRED WRITING RESPONSES ARE IN YELLOW
Topic / Unit Outlines
Required Reading : A History of Western Society , McKay, et al
10th Edition : pages 372-405
11th Edition : pages 356-389
Petrarch, “The Father of Humanism”
Leonardo Bruni, “The Study of Greek
Literature and a Humanist Education”
Pico della Mirandola, “Oration on the Dignity
Niccolo Machiavelli, “The Prince”
I. Renaissance Civilization : To what extent was the
Renaissance a break with its medieval past ?
A) How did the commercial revolution of the 1400s affect
the development of Europe ?
B) The emergence of the Italian City States
C) The “New Monarchies” in Northern Europe : How do
we measure power in the 1500s ?
1. Tudors in England
2. Valois family in France
3. Ferdinand and Isabella in Spain
4. The Holy Roman Empire
D) Renaissance Humanism : To what extent was
Humanism a strength and threat to the Catholic
1. Compare and contrast Italian and Northern
2. Humanism and Renaissance Art
E) Italy’s “Time of Troubles”
1. Realpolitik in European diplomacy
2. Analysis & Significance of Machiavelli’s, The
F) The Renaissance Papacy
1. A series of crises:
a) Babylonian Captivity
b) Great Schism
c) Conciliar Movement
2. The Pope as Renaissance Despot
3. The Pope as Humanist
4. Papal Abuse : The Borgias
G) How did art reflect new Renaissance ideals?
Required Reading : 11th Edition McKay, pages 390-423 (CHAPTER 13)
10th Edition McKay, pages 406-438 (CHAPTER 14)
Martin Luther, “On Papal Power,
Justification by Faith, The Interpretation
of the Bible, and The Nature of the
Film: Age of Empires Series (PBS)
“Martin Luther: Reluctant Revolutionary”
The Protestant Reformation: progressive and modern ?
A) Martin Luther: Conservative or Radical?
1. Why was Luther successful?
2. Luther’s Belief System: political, economic and
B) The varieties of Protestantism and their impact on
C) How significant was the Protestant Reformation in
the development of capitalism and democracy in
Western Europe? (opposing viewpoints)
D) Reformation, impact on:
1. Intellectual freedom
E) The Catholic Counter Reformation
F) What were the major factors accounting for the
subordination of women in western culture?
1. Biological and Anthropological factors
2. Greek and Roman tradition
3. Hebraic tradition
4. Celtic / German tradition
5. Christian Tradition
6. Legacy of Renaissance and Reformation
7. “Querelles des Femmes”
(‘The Debate over Women’)
Required reading: McKay, pages 426-461
Film: National Geographic, Jared Diamond
“Guns, Germs and Steel”
The Rise and Fall of Nations : The 1500s
Are there recurring patterns in the rise and decline
in world powers?
How does art reflect the political, social, and cultural
characteristics of a people and nation?
Universalism vs. Raison D’etat:
Is there room for
principles in foreign affairs?
How do you account for the decline and collapse of
the Spanish economy while the Dutch and English
A) The Rise and Decline of the Spanish dynastic state
1. Domestic strengths and weaknesses
2. Philip II’s foreign policy
3. The Price Revolution
B) The Dutch Republic
C) Dutch contributions to European art
D) Elizabeth I of England Order - Harmony -Nationalism
E) The Religious Wars in France
F) The Thirty Years War and the Treaty of Westphalia
Required Reading: McKay, pages 462-501
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan chp. 1
Bishop Bossuet, “Politics Drawn From
The Very Words of Holy Scripture”
The ENGLISH DECLARATION of RIGHTS
How can we assess the reasons for the failure of royal
absolutism in England and its success in France?
Does history really repeat itself ? Where do you draw
the line between patterns and the “human element?”
Was royal absolutism the best form of government
for the 17th century?
A) Parliament vs. the Crown in England
1. Stuart England
2. Civil War and Commonwealth
3. Restoration and Glorious Revolution
4. Anatomy of Revolution : Craine Brinton’s Theory of Rev.
B) French Absolutism Triumphs
1. Raison d’état of Cardinal Richelieu
2. Mercantilism of Jean-Baptiste Colbert
3. The Absolutism of Louis XIV
4. The Wars of Louis XIV
Required Reading : McKay, pages 502-573
Nicolaus Copernicus, “On the
Revolutions of the Heavenly
Cardinal Bellarmine, “Attack on the
Galileo Galilei, “Letter to the Grand
Duchess Christina” and “Dialogue
Concerning the Two Chief Systems -
Ptolemaic and Copernican”
Francis Bacon, “ Attack on Authority
and Advocacy of Experimental
Rene’ Descartes, “Discourse on
How important is the role of science in affecting society?
In what ways did science and technology most effect
Was science and technology the most important factor in
western Europe’s drive towards world dominance?
A) The Scientific Revolution: Know the significant impacts
of the following :
1. Plato, Aristotle, and Ptolemy
2. Scientific method of Bacon and Descartes
B) How did the Age of Genius affect the following:
1. View of God
2. View of Nature
3. View of Man
4. View of Politics (Hobbes and Locke)
C) Explain the economic path from Manorialism, to the Guild
System of Mercantilism, to the Putting - out System
(Cottage Industry) to the early Factory System.
STUDENT PRESENTATIONS :
* presentations are based on
social history (chapter 18)
Perry, Sources of the Western
Tradition, chapter 3 pages 50-89
McKay, pages 610-647
The 18th Century: An Enlightened Age?
Primary Document Analysis sheets:
One for each reading :
1) Immanuel Kant, “What is Enlightenment?”
2) John Locke, “Second Treatise on Government”
3) Voltaire, “A Plea for Tolerance and Reason”
4) Thomas Paine, “The Age of Reason”
5) Baron d’Holbach, “Good Sense”
6) Denis Diderot, excerpts from ENCYLOPEDIA
7) Jean Jacques Rousseau, “The Social Contract”
The French Revolution & the Napoleonic Empire
A) What are the major causes of the French
B) French Revolution : Chronology of Events
C) Napoleon as Enlightened Despot ?
D) Analyze the major reasons for the fall of the
Napoleonic Empire: Are there lessons to be
learned for future hegemonic powers?
E) The Congress of Vienna: results and legacy.
Is it a model for diplomacy today?
F) The Age of Metternich
Required reading: McKay 648-715
Adam Smith, “The Division of Labor”
“The Wealth of Nations”
Thomas Malthus, “Essay on Population”
* The Sadler Commission Report
Robert Owen, “A New View on Society”
19th Century Economic Theory and the Industrial Revolution
The common core of liberalism: “The proper government is to promote the liberty and well-being of individuals.” How has modern concepts of liberalism changed since the 18th century?
What roles do morality and character play in the construction of a fair and just society? How would the following philosophers answer this question : Malthus, Bentham, Burke, Wollstoncraft, and John Stuart Mill?
A) Major impact on political, military, social, economic,
cultural, and intellectual development of Europe
1. Why was Britain the first great industrial power ?
Are the same factors necessary for all nations
2. Classical Liberalism and Adam Smith
3. The Dismal Science : Ricardo and Malthus
4. Utilitarianism and Jeremy Bentham
5. John Stuart Mill and Humanitarian Liberalism
6. The Utopian Socialists
7. Karl Marx and Scientific Socialism
a) Economic Determinism
b) Dialectic Materialism
c) Inevitability of Communism
B) Romanticism: To what extent did Romanticism spark
Conservatism as well as revolution?
1) View of God
2) View of Nature
3) View of Humanity
4) View of Politics
5) Romanticism in the Arts
C) Metternich and the Concert of Europe : Was
Metternich driven by pragmatism or principle?
1) Political Spectrum: 1820s-1848
2) What patterns or lessons can be learned from
the revolutions of the 1820s and 30s?
3) 1848: Revolutions: What were the legacies of
these revolutions for the future?
Required Reading : McKay, 682-751
Metternich, “The Odious
Ideas of the Philosophes”
Giuseppe Mazzini, “Young Italy”
Vissarion Belinsky, “The Poetry of
Charles Darwin, “Natural Selection”
Herbert Spencer, “Man vs. the
Marx and Engels, “The Communist
FILM : A&E Biography, Darwin: The Voice of Evolution
Identify and analyze the factors causing the spread of democracy
in France and Britain during the 19th century?
What factors account for the rise of a welfare state in
Britain (the home of Adam Smith’s laissez-faire
capitalism!) by 1914?
A) Great Britain
1) Years of Violence and Reaction
2) Reform Movement (1820-1832)
3) Chartist Movement
4) Repeal the Corn Laws and the rise of Liberalism
5) Gladstone and Disraeli: The Rise of Modern
6) Formation of the Labour Party : 1900
7) The Revolution in British Politics: 1911-1914
B) A Divided France Moves Towards Democracy
1) The Second Republic and Second Empire :
The Age of Louis Napoleon
2) The Siege of Paris and the Paris Commune
3) The Crisis-torn Third Republic
a) Boulanger Crisis
b) Panama Crisis
c) Dreyfus Affair
Required Reading McKay, pages 752-821
John Stuart Mill, “The Subjection
Emmeline Pankhurst, “Why We
Cecil Rhodes, “Confession of Faith”
Edmund Morel, “The Black Man’s
How do nationalism and the fervent belief in the sanctity of
one’s nation contribute to both progress and degeneration?
A) The Risorgimento: Italian Unification (1848-1870)
1) Nationalist Movement to 1859
2) Cavour: A Study in Realpolitik (War of 1859)
3) Garibaldi’s Conquest of Southern Italy
4) Papal State 1860
5) Rome 1870
B) Italian Domestic and Foreign Policies 1870-1914
C) The Rise of a powerful Germany in Central Europe
1) Bismarck and the Unification of Germany
2) Domestic Policy 1870-1890
3) Evaluate the impact of Bismarck on German
and European History
4) Evaluate the Domestic Policies of Kaiser
Wilhelm II (1890-1914)
D) The Last Century of the Russian Empire: Could
Revolution have been averted?
1) The Russian revolutionary tradition
2) Reaction, Industrialization, and Reform
E) Science, Culture and Economics during the
1) How do scientific and philosophical ideas
often become distorted to justify society’s
goals and values?
2) The Evolutionary World
a) Charles Darwin
b) Impact of Darwin’s Theories on Society:
Racism and Ethnocentrism
War and Extermination
Impact on Fascism - Capitalism - Communism
c) Significance of Friedrich Nietzsche on
European Culture and Arts
d) Sigmund Freud and his world
The Age of European Imperialism: Was the “new
imperialism” of the 19th century that different from
the imperialism of the 15th -18th centuries?
Is imperialism and nationalism a process that inherently carries the
seeds of genocide ?
A) John Hobson’s Theory of Imperialism
B) Justifications for Imperialism
1) Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden”
2) Alfred T. Mahon - Looking Outward
3) U.S. Senator Beveridge’s speech
C) 19th century Feminist Movement in
1) Victorian Views of Family, Marriage & Sex
2) Discrimination of Women in Victorian Age
3) The fight for Suffrage
Required Reading : McKay, pages 822-895
Nietzsche, “The Will to Power and
Freud, “A note on the Unconscious”
Filippo Marinetti, “Manifest of Futurism”
Novel: Erich Remarque, All Quiet on
the Western Front
Georges Clemenceau, “French
Demands for Security and Revenge”
Key text excerpt : Individuals in Society:
Gustav Stressemann (pg.884)
Causes and Effects of World War I
A) Major long term and immediate causes of
World War I (1878-1914) : Who was
B) the Impact of World War I on Western Civilization
C) Evaluation of Versailles Treaty: Was it really that
D) The Russian Revolution : “Dark horse victory”
What were the critical factors which enabled the
Bolsheviks to seize and maintain power?
E) Evaluation of Josef Stalin’s Rule
The Age of Anxiety (The inter-war years and the
coming of WWII)
A) The philosophical basis for 20th century
B) The Rise to power of Benito Mussolini
C) The Weimar Republic and the rise of Hitler
D) Analyze the similarities and differences of the
20th century dictators: Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin.
Do the differences outweigh the similarities?
E) France and Britain between the wars
F) Art, Science and Entertainment between the
wars (Great Strides or more Anxiety?)
Required reading : McKay, pages 896-931
Thomas Mann, “An Appeal to Reason”
David Buffum, “Kristallnacht”
Neville Chamberlain, “In Defense of
Winston Churchill, “A Disaster of the
Adolf Hitler, “Poland will be
depopulated and settled with
William Hoffman, “Diary of a German
Soldier” (account of Stalingrad)
World War II
A) The chronological march towards war : 1931-1939
B) Why did the Allies win World War II?
C) The impact of World War II on the postwar world
D) “Third World” Nationalism and the end of
Required Reading : McKay , pages 934-1005
Supplemental readings will be
announced / assigned ***
The Cold War and Challenges
A) The Cold War: Was it inevitable?
Where does the blame lie?
1) The Superpowers : 1943-1980s
a) Allies to enemies 1941-1945
b) post-war issues and crises
2) The containment policy: Eisenhower/Khrushchev/
3) Detente: Causes, Examples, Impact
4) end of Detente and Renewal of Cold War: 1980s
a) Soviet v. American interpretations of Detente
b) emergence of Mikhail Gorbachev
5) Analyze the major factors causing the fall of the
Soviet Union :1985-1991. To what extent were they
historical? To what extent did personalities play a
role? Would the Soviet Union have collapsed
without the impact of Gorbachev? Reagan?
B) Domestic Trends in Europe:
1945-1990s: Are there common trends or patterns
that affected Eastern as well as Western Europe?
1) Great Britain
5) Soviet Union and Boris Yeltsin’s Russia
C) Intellectual Movements in Europe after World War II
Are there absolute values or is everything relative?
1) How did Modernism affect the following?
2) Modern Art after World War II: “Shock of the New”
3) Relevant Intellectual Theories
d) net-orthodoxy of the 1950s
e) New Radicalism of the 1960s
f) post-modern and deconstruction
D) Feminism: Has Feminism brought women equality?
Has there been a backlash against women in
E) Are women still defined by western culture rather
than by themselves?
Into the 21st Century
Required Reading : McKay, 1006-1040
* current events assigned
A) Globalism: A threat or a panacea? Hasn’t
Globalism always been with us since the 18th
century? What’s different now?
B) European unification? What does history say?
1) Can east and west become one?
2) Could a unified Europe become a super
power in the 21st century?
C) Has the recent rise of Fascism changed the
future or is it merely a backlash?
AP EXAM : Wednesday May 6th PM Session
"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. "
-- Thomas Jefferson
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Read purposefully - demonstrated by:
* Identifying and extrapolating significant material from a variety of printed sources
* Recognizing arguments for and against an issue
* Identifying and using knowledge from common graphic features (charts, graphs, maps)
* Recognizing bias and point of view
* Reading and analyzing primary source material
Write effectively - demonstrated by:
* Well written and multi paragraph compositions that have clear topic development and organization
* Research reports based on standard endnote and bibliographical format (MLA-style)
* Document-based questions requiring analysis of primary sources
* Identifications stressing clear definitions and significance of terminology
Communicate effectively - demonstrated by:
* Oral presentations and debates
*. Media presentations and projects
* Interaction with peers in student-centered activities
* Analyzing and expressing ideas in the arts in historical context
* Following instructions
*. Effective note-taking skills in the form of answering complex historical questions
* Using technology to express historical concepts
Demonstrate self-respect and respect for others -
* Displaying academic integrity (includes an understanding of plagiarism)
* Showing curiosity, respect and appreciation for cultural diversity in the world and knowledge of the contributions of other cultures outside your own
* A tolerance for other’s opinions and points-of-view
* Participating constructively in group activities
*. An awareness of academic responsibilities
* An ability to make informed decisions on global issues