Major Essay (involves locating your own primary sources and analysing them with reference to several secondary sources; emphasis on independent research skills and extensive argumentation). Answer one of the fifteen questions listed here, in 2500 words. Your essay should include analysis of at least two primary sources. It should also reference at least six secondary sources. You can use more than 6 secondary sources.

The referencing format is Chicago style footnote. There is a rubric, essay writing and referencing guide uploaded.

1. What was the role of Enlightenment thought in the French Revolution? Do you think the Enlightenment philosophes would have found the French Revolution to be what Immanuel Kant called “an enlightened age” [Kant, What is Enlightenment, 1784]? Discuss the work of at least two Enlightenment philosophes.

2. In 1794, Maximilien Robespierre argued, “Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible … The government in a revolution is the despotism of liberty against tyranny.” [On the Moral and Political Principles of Domestic Policy]. Was the Reign of Terror a necessary phase of the French Revolution? Discuss the causes, events, and outcomes of the Reign of Terror.

3. “I have closed the gaping abyss of anarchy, and I have unscrambled chaos. I have cleansed the Revolution, ennobled the common people, and restored the authority of kings … Is there any point on which I could be attacked and which a historian could not take up my defense?” So asked Napoleon Bonaparte in 1816. In what ways could Napoleon be attacked? Were his actions instead defensible? Discuss Napoleon’s overall contribution to the French Revolution.

4. The English historian, E. P. Thompson, once wrote that “By 1840 most people were ‘better off’ than their forebears had been fifty years before, but they suffered and continued to suffer this slight improvement as a catastrophic experience.” [The Making of the English Working Class (1963), p. 231.] How should we evaluate the Industrial Revolution in history? Was it more an improvement in people’s lives or more a catastrophe?

5. “People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.” Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). Who were the conservatives in Europe after 1815? What did they see when they looked back, and what did they wish to see looking forward? Discuss with reference to at least two European regions.

6. “In liberalism, the middle class found an economic and political theory that echoed the way they viewed the world.” [John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe, p. 532.] How did middle-class liberals view their world after 1815? Specifically, what role did they want governments to take in Europe in the future? Discuss with reference to at least two European regions.

7. “The bourgeoisie is not a class, it is a position … Work, thrift, and ability confer it; vice, dissipation, and idleness mean it is lost.” Journal des Débats, 1847. Was the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie defined by hard work, thriftiness, and merit, or by some other attributes? Was it as straightforward as the Journal suggests to become bourgeois in the nineteenth century? Discuss with reference to at least two European regions.

8. “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of all countries unite!” Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, Communist Manifesto, 1848, last words. What were the differing ways in which working-class people united through the 19th century, and what were the differing worlds they wished to win? Discuss with reference to at least two different modes of working-class protest.

9. “Of what does a revolt consist?” asked Victor Hugo after 1848; he answered: “outraged convictions, embittered enthusiasms, hot indignation … the vanity that believes that fate is against us.” Of what did the revolts of 1848 primarily consist? Who were the key protagonists and why did they behave in the way that they did? Discuss with reference to at least two European regions.

10. In 1852 Karl Marx wrote that “all facts and personages of great importance in world history occur, as it were, twice … the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” [The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852), p. 1]. Was the failure of the 1848 uprisings a farcical rerun of the end of the French Revolution? Was it instead more or less comparable to the rise of the Napoleonic dictatorship?

11. “The decline of religious practice in Europe was neither linear nor did it occur everywhere.” [John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe, p. 777.] Where and in what ways did religion survive in the nineteenth century? Discuss with reference to at least two European regions.

12. “Nothing is more remarkable than the spread of scepticism or rationalism during the latter half of my life.” Charles Darwin, 1876. Was the spread of scepticism in Europe since mid-century unlikely or should Darwin have been less surprised? Discuss with reference to at least two European regions.

13. The famous novelist Honore de Balzac wrote in 1829 that a woman “is a slave whom we must know how to place on a pedestal.” [The Physiology of Marriage, 1829]. Does this statement represent the position of middle-class women in the nineteenth century? How does it relate to the position of working-class women?

14. “Feminism failed in [the 19th century] because it came too early, burned itself out, and produced a conservative reaction.” Theodore Zeldin, historian, 1956. Before World War One, how successful was feminism as a movement in Europe? What were its highs and lows? Discuss its aims, methods, problems, and effects with reference to at least two European regions.

15. “A nation does not normally come to complete self-consciousness except under pressure of the foreigner … Thus did France create Germany.” Ernest Renan, philosopher, 1870. To what extent were new nations in the nineteenth century forged through conflict with others? To what extent were they forged by other factors? Discuss with reference to at least two European regions.

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