European History I Tutorials

Groups 7 and 5

University of Edinburgh, Autumn semester 2009

Spring semester 2010 -->


Name: Sveinbjorn Thordarson ("Bjorn")
Email: sveinbjornt at gmail dot com
Tel. no: 07913775738 (emergencies only)

Tutorial website

Essential documents

General reading and reference works

The Times Atlas of World History
New Cambridge Modern History, vol. xiii
Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
F. Braudel, A History of Civilizations (ch. 16-19)
Norman Davies, Europe: A History
E. Cameron (ed.), Early Modern Europe
H. Kamen, European Society, 1500-1700
M. Greengrass, The Longman Companion to the European Reformation
Richard Mackenney, Sixteenth-Century Europe
Thomas Munck, Seventeenth-Century Europe
R. Bonney, The European Dynastic States
William Doyle, The Old European Order
M. Wiesner-Hanks, Early-Modern Europe 1450-1789

Tutorial programme

Week 2 - October 1: Introduction

No assigned reading.

Week 3 - October 8: The Reformation


Luther's 95 theses,
Luther's Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants
Hugh Trevor-Roper, Religion, the Reformation and Social Change"
Bob Scribner, The German Reformation
E. Cameron (ed.), Early Modern Europe, ch. 2
Euan Cameron, The European Reformation (esp. ch. 1-10)


What religious and institutional changes did Luther wish to effect? Why is the Reformation an important episode in European history? What were the political effects of the Reformation? Why did Luther succeed where others had previously failed? To what extent was the Counter-Reformation successful?

Week 4 - October 15: The Renaissance


John Hale, The Civilization of Europe in the Renaissance
J. Burkhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
P. Burke, The Uropean Renaissance: Centres and Peripheries
K. Gouwens, The Italian Renaissance: The Essential Sources
C. Nauert, Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (book + introduction)
Full text of Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince
SEP entry on Machiavelli
Isaiah Berlin on interpreting Machiavelli


What kind of changes did the Renaissance inaugurate? What was Renaissance humanism and who were its principal figures? Why did the Renaissance start in Italy and not elsewhere? What was it about Machiavelli's writings that so shocked his contemporaries? Why is Machiavelli often seen as the first truly modern political thinker and how may conditions in Italy have affected his view of politics?

Week 5 - October 22: The Scientific Revolution


John Henry, The Origins of the Scientific Revolution
Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, Book II
Steve Shapin, The Scientific Revolution
Peter Dear, Revolutionizing the Sciences
Paolo Rossi, The Birth of Modern Science
E. Cameron (ed.), Early Modern Europe (ch. 5) M. Osler (ed.) Rethinking the Scientific Revolution


What was the Scientific Revolution? What methodological changes, if any, took place in the practice of science during the 17th century? What, if anything, made the Scientific Revolution 'revolutionary'? Who are the most important figures in the new sciences of the 17th century, and why?

Week 6 - October 29: Discourse on essay writing and primary sources

How to write a history essay

George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

Bjorn's essay writing guidelines

Sample distinction essay from last semester

Sample distinction source commentary from last semester

Week 7 - November 5: The Enlightenment


Dorinda Outram, The Enlightenment (esp. ch. 1, 2, 7 8)
R. Porter, The Enlightenment: An Historical Introduction
Immanuel Kant, What is Enlightenment?
U. Im Hof, The Enlightenment: An Historical Introduction
N. Hampson, The Enlightenment
J. van Horn Melton, The Rise of the Public Sphere in Enlightenment Europe
Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Paganism
Thomas Munck, The Enlightenment: a comparative social history, 1721 - 1794
Condorcet, Outline of an Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind, 10th epoch
Voltaire, Candide
J. Israel, Radical Enlightenment and Enlightenment Contested (advanced)


What was the Enlightenment? Is it correct to view the Enlightenment as a unified historical phenomenon? What were the common characteristics, if any, of 'enlightened' philosophy? Was the 18th-century an age of increasing secularism and/or atheism? To what extent were enlightened ideas put into practice by European rulers?

Week 8 - November 12: Eighteenth-century France


J. H. Shennan, France Before the Revolution
W. Doyle, The Ancien Régime
P. Goubert, The Ancien Régime: French Society 1600-1750
O. Hufton, The Poor of Eighteenth-century France
Voltaire, Letters on the English
R. Chartier, The Cultural Origins of the French Revolution
R. Darnton, The Literary Underground of the Old Régime
D. Roche, The People of Paris: An Essay in Popular Culture in the Eighteenth Century


What is meant by "ancien régime"? Did French power and influence decline in 18th century, and if so, why? Was Britain's increasing cultural and political influence at the expense of France? What were the effects of French involvement in the American struggle for independence? Did the ideas of the philosophes undermine the ancien régime? What broader social changes were taking place in France in the 18th century?

16 November: ESSAY DEADLINE, 12:00 PM

Week 9 - November 19: The French Revolution


La Marseillaise
Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789
W. Doyle, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction
A. Forrest, The French Revolution
J. M. Roberts, The French Revolution
W. Doyle, Origins of the French Revolution
H. Gough, The Terror in the French Revolution

If none of these is available at the library, then use your discretion in picking another of the great many books on the topic. A classic text perhaps worth looking at is Tocqueville's The Ancien Régime and the French Revolution.


What caused the French Revolution? What kind of ideologies motivated the Revolutionary authorities? What repercussions did the Revolution have throughout Europe? Who were the Jacobins, and why did the lofty ideals of the Revolution end in the Terror?

Week 10 - November 26: Napoleon and Europe


Napoleon's Account of the Internal Situation of France in 1804
Eric Hobsbawm, Age of Revolution
G. Rude, Revolutionary Europe, 1789 - 1815
M. Lyons, Napoleon Bonaparte and the Legacy of the French Revolution
M. Broers, Europe under Napoleon
G. Ellis, The Napoleonic Empire
R. Gildea, Barricades and Borders
Steven Englund, Napoleon: A Political Life


How did Napoleon rise to power, and how was his rise connected to the Revolution? Did Napoleon betray the legacy of the Revolution? What were the implications of Napoleon's rise to power for Europe's elites? Was it "business as usual" in Europe after 1815?

Week 11 - December 3: Nationalism


Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Address to the German Nation, 1806
E. Kedourie, Nationalism
E. Gellner, Nations and Nationalism
E. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780
A. D. Smith Nationalism : theory, ideology, history
P. Lawrence Nationalism : history and theory
P. Spencer Nationalism : a critical introduction
E. Kamenka, Nationalism : the nature and evolution of an idea


What was the relationship between the rise of nationalism and the French Revolutionary/Napoleonic Wars? What was romanticism, and how was it related to nationalism? What factors were used to delimit the nation-state? Is nationalism a peculiarly modern phenomenon, completely divorced from the ancien régime, and if so, why? What is the relationship between mass media, literacy and nationalism?