Charles Lipson
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E-mail: [email protected]

 

Charles Lipson

Peter B. Ritzma Professor

Political Science Department

University of Chicago

5828 S. University Ave.

Chicago, IL 60637

 

World Politics from the 1490s to 1815: A History

Political Science 213 & 323
Charles Lipson

University of Chicago
Syllabus, Autumn 1997 modified

Course: 1:30-2:50 Monday, Wednesday
Prof. Lipson's office is Pick 418b
E-mail: [email protected]

Course Description

This course aims to provide basic historical background for the study of international politics. Its main focus is on Europe from the 1490s through the Napoleonic Wars. (The course will not cover the period after 1815. I offer separate courses on that period, the Nineteenth Century from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to World War I, on the first half of the Twentieth Century and on the Cold War period.)

This course covers the rise of the European state system and European interactions--military, economic, and cultural--with the wider world. It provides a survey of major wars, the development of states' military and financial capacity, the course of imperial expansion, diplomatic alignments and alliances, and arrangements for international trade, including the slave trade. In short, it surveys the history of modern inter-state relations from the 1490s when Columbus sailed the Atlantic, da Gama reached India, and the French invaded Italy. It concludes with the wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon. The course is intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in the social sciences, particularly those working on international relations. One important goal of the course is to provide historical grounding for theorizing about international relations.

To cover so much material, even in a survey fashion, requires intensive reading. This is a heavy reading course, and, I hope, an equally rewarding one.

This course uses multimedia extensively. Class presentations feature computerized maps, historical photos and paintings, and newspapers from the period. I also show my lecture notes in class (although not online). To give a flavor of the historic periods we cover, the class presentations include propaganda posters and political cartoons. In this online syllabus, I have included links to appropriate collections of online documents.

Basic Course Requirements

There are four course requirements, in addition to the heavy list of assigned readings.
  1. timeline: chronology of events in one selected period
  2. dictionary: annotated list of people, places, and events related to your timeline
  3. major paper: review of historical writings about one major period, country, or event
  4. annotated bibliography: list of works related to your major paper and your brief evaluation of them

Pick one time period or issue and create (1) a timeline of major events and (2) a dictionary of key people and events for that period, with brief descriptions. If possible, please put the exact day of an event.

Pick one time period or topic and then write (3) a major paper discussing how different historians look at that period and (4) an annotated bibliography, listing the major works on that period with brief (one paragraph) discussions of each work. If you wish, the major paper + bibliography may cover the same period (or subject) as the timeline + dictionary

The timeline and dictionary may be done as small group projects, if you wish.

The major paper and annotated bibliography should be done individually. Before writing your historiographic essay, please write a one-page precis and get approval of the topic from Mr. Lipson or your teaching assistant.

This course will not go beyond the Napoleonic Wars. All papers should reflect the time period of the course. Because this course is designed to cover earlier history and because alternative courses are available for more recent events, the written material cannot focus on events after 1815. On the other hand, you may include some post-1815 events in papers or timelines that focus mainly on earlier periods but continue into the present.

Goals of this Course

1. Provide a concise, general history of international and diplomatic events and sequences, especially those bearing on Great Power relationships;

2. Draw connections, where possible, between the historical materials and analytic questions of interest to IR theorists;

3. Incorporate international economic issues, which are too often slighted in political and diplomatic histories. They should be included for two reasons. They should be included for two reasons.

a. They are often a central object of state policy, especially since states were charged with political responsibility for the performance of their economies.

b. They are a source of countries' rise to great power status. Germany became a great power not only because the Prussian military was so efficient or because Bismarck unified it under Prussian leadership, but also because northern Germany was the largest and most dynamic industrial power of the late 19th century. Spain disappeared as a Great Power because of its economic decline.

This course is intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in the social sciences, particularly those working on international relations. Its goal is to provide historical grounding for theorizing about international relations. There is no prerequisite for this course. This is one of four related courses on the history of international politics, each of which can be taken independently:

   
Undergrad & Grad     

World Politics from the 1490s to 1815: A History

Political Science 213 & 323
World Politics in the Nineteenth Century: A History Political Science 214 & 324
World Politics in the Twentieth Century, 1914-45: A History Political Science 215 & 325
World Politics in the Twentieth Century, 1945-91: A History Political Science 216 & 326
Big Wars: Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Political Science 291 & 392

Administrative Details

Books are available at UC/Barnes & Noble Bookstore and the Seminary Cooperative Bookstore.
Books are also on reserve at the Regenstein Library.
Undergraduates normally enroll in PS 213.
Graduate students enroll in PS 323.
Students have weekly discussion sections, which will be assigned in Week 2.

When Are the Papers Due?

Week 5 Dictionary and Timeline are due at Wednesday lecture; give to your TA.
For a detailed discussion of the timeline and dictionary click here
Week 7 A brief description of your proposed major paper is due at your section meeting. The description should be 100-200 words, plus a list of 2 or 3 books and articles you intend to use in the paper.
Week 11
Exam Week
Major paper is due Tuesday of exam week, 3pm, Pick 418 (Lipson office).
For a detailed discussion of the historiographic essay, click here

All papers must have a title and must include your name, phone, and e-mail address. Please staple.

Extensions: In unusual or difficult circumstances, students may request an extension for the major paper. The request must be in writing (by letter or e-mail) and should give specific reasons why the extension is needed. All requests are subject to approval by Mr. Lipson. If any special extension is granted, then the paper must be turned in by Friday, 4 p.m., on the first week of the winter quarter.

Required Books

The readings rely on several books. You should purchase all of them.

Larry H. Addington, The Patterns of War Through the Eighteenth Century (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1990).

Rondo Cameron, A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present (2nd ed.; New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).

William Doyle, The Old European Order, 1660-1800, 2nd ed. (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992).

If available: The Times Atlas of European History (London: Times Books, a division of HarperCollins, 1994).

Main Topics and Readings

Overview: Modern European History

Two well-written, upper-level texts--read in sequence--provide an excellent background and general setting for the events discussed in this class. I strongly recommend them both. Koenigsberger starts at roughly the same time as this course and ends with the French Revolution. The Fox book essentially begins with the French Revolution (he has a little material on the earlier period) and goes up through the Cold War. The Doyle book (required) is dry but covers the period in considerable depth.

Another required book, by the distinguished economic historian Rondo Cameron, provides an excellent companion overview of economic history for the entire modern period.

An excellent survey by Larry H. Addington (required) provide a basic background on war-fighting. William McNeill's book can be read as an alternative or supplement to Addington.

The Times Atlas of European History not only provides excellent maps, it has brief essays on the major events of European history. It is a wonderful reference work, and well worth owning. The only problem is that it is sometimes out of print.

Finally, I have provided links to a valuable (but optional) set of documents and articles online.

H. G. Koenigsberger, Early Modern Europe 1500-1789 (London: Longman, 1987).
        
D208.K640 Gen Harp

William Doyle, The Old European Order, 1660-1800, 2nd ed. (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992).

Edward Whiting Fox, The Emergence of the Modern World (Cambridge, MA and Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell, 1991).
        
D102.F690 Gen Harp

Rondo Cameron, A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present 2nd ed. (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).
       HC21.C330 1993 (2nd ed.)
       HC21.C332 1989 Harp

Larry H. Addington, The Patterns of War Through the Eighteenth Century (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1990).
      
U27.A2940 1990

 

The Times Atlas of European History (London: Times Books, division of HarperCollins, 1994), relevant sections
       
U37.M380 Law

Optional: an excellent collection of online documents and articles

Readings: 1490s to the Defeat of Napoleon, 1815

H. G. Koenigsberger, Early Modern Europe 1500-1789 (London: Longman, 1987).

Rondo Cameron, A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present 2nd ed. (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).

pp. 93-188 (in 1st edition, 1989) HC21.C330 1989
pp. (in 2nd edition, 1993) HC21.C330 1993

Larry H. Addington, The Patterns of War Through the Eighteenth Century (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1990).      U27.A2940 1990

William Doyle, The Old European Order, 1660-1800, 2nd ed. (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 5-70; 219-378.       D273.D690 Harper

The Times Atlas of European History (London: Times Books, division of HarperCollins, 1994), relevant sections

Optional: an excellent collection of online documents and articles covering the entire era.

Main Topics

1. The Dawn of European Dominance

2. The Search for Gold and Spices: Portuguese Journeys to Africa and Asia

3. The Search for Gold and Spices: The Spanish in the New World

4. The Italian Wars, 1494-1559

5. The Protestant Reformation and the Contest for Germany

6. The Rise of the Netherlands and the Decline of Spain

7. Thirty Years' War

8. Peace of Westphalia

9. French Expansion in the Age of Richelieu and Louis XIV

10. Great Northern War

11. Rise of Prussia, War of Austrian Succession

12. Seven Years' War

13. American Revolution

14. French Revolution

15. Napoleonic Wars

Course Requirements Explained in Greater Detail

1. Produce a chronology (or timeline) of key events in one historical period. This might be the classical balance-of-power in the 18th century, the Concert of Europe in the first half of the 19th century, from the Napoleonic Wars to Crimean War; or the expansion of European Empires in the second half of the 19th century; or the Cold War, East Asia in the 20th century, or a number of others. Pick a period or theme that interests you. If you are uncertain what constitutes an appropriate time period, please consult Professor Lipson or your teaching assistant. Because of this course's focus, the paper, dictionary, or timeline may not concentrate on the period after 1918. Some post-1918 material may be included to complete a paper or timeline that concentrates on an earlier period.

What a timeline should do? A timeline should list the major events in proper sequence, with dates given for each. It should provide a few essential details to clarify the event; the dictionary entry should offer more detail. Here, for example, is the beginning of a timeline:

Sample Timeline: French Expansion in the Age of Richelieu and Louis XIV

1589-1610

Henry IV (ruled 1589-1610), founder of the Bourbon dynasty, he was Henry of Navarre;

Duke of Sully served as his great finance minister

 

1598

Edict of Nantes (13 April 1598) issued by Henry IV. Henry, a Protestant who converted to Catholicism to become king, grants religious toleration to French Huguenots

 

1610

Henry IV assassinated by a Catholic fanatic, François Ravaillac (14 May 1610).

Marie de' Médicis served as regent, governing France for her ten-year-old son, King Louis XIII; she dismissed Sully, arranged Louis XIII's marriage to the Spanish princess, Anne of Austria (daughter of Philip III of Spain)

 

1610-43

Louis XIII (king, 1610-43; ruled 1614-43). Louis XIII was declared of age in 1614, but was always a weak figure, controlled by others

 

1622

Edict of Nantes is reconfirmed by the Treaty of Montpelier (18 October 1622); the treaty leaves La Rochelle and Montauban to the Huguenots.

 

1624-42

Cardinal Richelieu (Armand-Jean du Plessis, the Cardinal-Duke of Richelieu) as chief minister of France, under Louis XIII; later, he trained Cardinal (Jules) Mazarin as his protege

 

2. Produce a brief dictionary covering 20 or more key events and people during the same period covered by the chronology. Dictionary entries should range between 10 and 50 words, providing brief definitions and discussions for each entry. Dictionary entries should provide key dates and briefly explain the significance of major events, people, and places. Your total list of entries should, therefore, run roughly between 3 and 8 pages.

What do dictionary lists include? Let me give some examples. A list covering the first half of the nineteenth century would certainly include the "Congress of Vienna," "Holy Alliance," "Quadruple Alliance," "Metternich," "Castlereagh," "Talleyrand," "Napoleon," and "Revolutions of 1848," among others. It might (or it might not) include the repeal of the English "Corn Laws" in 1846, which marked the advent of free trade in England by eliminating tariffs on imported wheat. Some entries, like the Revolutions of 1848, might be longer and should include the major countries where outbreaks took place. On the other hand, it is a dictionary entry, not a monograph, so be concise. When individuals are mentioned, the entry should include their full name, years of birth and death, and years in high office: Lord [Edward] Boofer, 1834-1910; Foreign Minister 1862-64, 1866-67.

You can, if you wish, produce a chronology and dictionary covering a theme, rather than a time period. For example, you might cover "major issues in international trade" (listing the biggest treaties, disputes, etc.) or "developments in applied military technology" or "the breakdown of the Ottoman Empire" or "the expansion and breakdown of Bourbon France." These themes might cover a longer period, say, 1800 to 1914, or 1517 to 1648 (for religious conflicts in early modern Europe), depending on the theme.

3. Produce an annotated bibliography of 1-3 doublespaced pages listing the key books and articles covering the same time period (or theme) as the timeline and dictionary. The bibliography should list the name of the work and citation information (for a book, the publisher, city, and date). Each listing should be annotated. That is, you should describe it briefly, saying something about its value to the reader and its relationship to other works. Let me offer a fictional example of an annotated bibliography:

 

PLEASE NOTE: The chronology, dictionary, and annotated bibliography may be either "group projects" or "individual projects." That is, 2-5 students may organize themselves to produce the timeline, dictionary, and bibliography as group projects. This is an excellent opportunity for group learning, not just on the written projects but on the assigned readings as well. By the same token, students are free to do the projects individually if they choose. If some students do decide to work as a group, then their dictionaries and timelines should be more extensive, covering 50 or 60 events (instead of 30) and a few more books in the annotated bibliography. The group should not only divide the work, they should review each other's efforts and produce a genuine joint product. Each group project will receive a single grade, which will apply equally to all participants. The grades for the timeline, dictionary, and annotated bibliography will constitute about 40 percent of your grade for the course. The remaining 60% comes from the historiographic essay, which you must write individually.

4. Write a historiographic essay, approximately 12-15 pages, double-spaced. This essay should be done individually, not in groups. It may cover any time period or theme in the course. It need not cover the same time period as the chronology and dictionary (although it can, if you wish).

The historiographic essay should examine a major topic and analyze the debates among historians, as well as giving your own considered view. It must cover at least three major books or articles, and will likely include more than that. The essay is not intended as original research. Its main point is to review (critically) the perspectives of major historians on some important theme or historical period. For example, you might choose to write about the origins of a major war, such as the US Revolution or the Seven Years' War. Or you might choose to write about the rise of mercantilism. Or you might choose to write about the continuities (or discontinuities) of British foreign policy (or French, or German, or Russian, etc.). You might want to discuss how economic growth affected Great Power relationships--as that is understood by major historians writing on the subject. Your job is not so much to explain the specific phenomenon but to describe and analyze the major schools of thought on the subject, their strengths and weaknesses, and the direction of recent historical research. In short, you should provide an informed, critical guide to the literature.

Most topics in this course are the subjects of vigorous historical debate. You may choose your own topic from among them.

Before writing your historiographic essay, please write a one-page precis and get approval of the topic from Mr. Lipson or your teaching assistant. The precis should list the topic of the essay, briefly outline some of the major historical debates on it, and then list some key books and articles to be included. The clearer your precis, the better chance we have to advise you. Remember: pre-1815.

Recommended Books and Online Documents

For a strong collection of modern history resources on the Web, please see my page
     Scholarly Resources-Modern History.

Edward Whiting Fox, The Emergence of the Modern World (Cambridge, MA and Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell, 1991).

William H. McNeill, The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1982), pp. 63-184.

Robert I. Rotberg and Theodore K. Rabb, eds., The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989).

J. M. Roberts, A History of Europe (New York: Allen Lane, 1996). D20.R645 1997 Harp

David S. Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor (New York: W. W. Norton, 1998), an excellent analysis of the economic development in historical perspective. HC240.Z9 W45 1998

Optional: collection of online documents and articles.

Other Supplementary Readings

For readings on the Nineeteenth Century, go to the syllabus for 19th c. World Politics
For readings on the Twentieth Century, go to 20th c. World Politics to 1945

Required Books

Available at U. of C./Barnes and Noble Bookstore, Seminary Coop and Regenstein Library Reserve.

The assigned projects might well require students to share books. If that proves difficult, please let us know. We will put these books on reserve for everyone to use. All required books will be put on reserve.

Larry H. Addington, The Patterns of War Through the Eighteenth Century (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1990).

Rondo Cameron, A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present (2nd ed.; New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).

William Doyle, The Old European Order, 1660-1800, 2nd ed. (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992).

If available: The Times Atlas of European History (London: Times Books, a division of HarperCollins, 1994).

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