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HIST2320 Essay Prep

Western Civilization II
HIST 2320 Examination-for-Credit
Preparing for the Supplemental Essay Exam

Eligible students can earn credit for History 2320 by means of the College Board’s College-Level Examination in Western Civilization II: 1648 to the present, plus an essay portion devised and graded by the Texas State University Department of History. Essays will be graded by a qualified member of the Department of History staff. The CLEP examination tests one’s knowledge of factual data while the essay tests one’s understanding of major movements in western civilization.

The following major historical developments will form the subject matter of the essay portion of the examination. Students are expected to describe and explain specific historical events as well as provide an overall interpretation of these major topics. Students must pass the essay portion of the examination to earn credit for the course.

1. Be able to describe and analyze the character of Old Regime Europe (1648-1789) including the organization of society and the institutions and practices of government. Be able to describe the nature and privilege as it related to the various social classes and the character of absolute government in France, Prussia, and Russia. Be able to explain the differences and similarities between the English government of the era and the absolute monarchies on the European continent.

2. Be able to describe the basic character of the European Enlightenment. Be able to explain the relationship of the Enlightenment to the Scientific Revolution. Be able to describe enlightened thought regarding the religion, the nature of government, and the organization of the economy. Be able to describe specifically the political ideas of Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau.

3. Be able to describe and explain the long-term and short-term causes of the French Revolution and the changes this revolution brought to French government and society. Be able to describe its most basic reforms, its most serious challenges, and its basic failures. Be able to describe the final outcome of the revolution.

4. Be able to describe and explain the relationship of Napoleon Bonaparte to the French Revolution, the nature of his government in France, and the impact of his conquests on Europe.

5. Be able to describe the development and character of the Industrial Revolution and its impact on European society and politics during the nineteenth century. Be able to describe the technological advances that allowed industry to develop, the character of the factory system, the nature of factory labor, and the social, economic, and political consequences of industrialization. Be able to explain the reasons that the industrial laborers were attracted to Marxism.

6. Be able to define and describe the concept of nationalism as it developed in the nineteenth-century Europe. Be able to describe and analyze the threat that nationalism posed to many European states in the nineteenth century. Be able to explain the problems and failures of Italian and German nationalists seeking to create a united Italy and Germany during the 1848 Revolutions. Be able to describe in detail how Cavour and Bismarck brought about the national unifications of Italy and Germany in the decades after 1848.

7. Be able to describe and explain the phenomenon of European Imperialism after 1870. Be able to describe the goals of the imperialists, the nature of colonial government, the attitudes of the Europeans toward their colonial subjects, and the impact of imperialism on international political rivalries.

8. Be able to describe and explain the origins of World War I. Be able to describe the European Alliance system in place before the outbreak of the war and the foreign policy goals of Germany, Austria, Russia, France, and England. Be able to describe and explain the specific crises that ultimately led to war. Be able to explain why the final crisis at Sarajevo lead to war. Be able to explain which country or countries were most responsible for the outbreak of war.

9. Be able to describe the character of totalitarian states in the twentieth century. Be able to explain how and why totalitarian governments developed in Russia, Italy, and Germany after World War I, and describe the features of such government in each state. In what ways did the governments in these states resemble one another and in what ways did they differ?

10. Be able to describe and analyze the origins of World War II. Be able to provide a detailed explanation of the policies, goals, and actions of Adolph Hitler and their relationship to the outbreak of war. Be able to describe and explain the reactions of the democratic states of France and England to Hitler’s policies.

11. Be able to describe the origins, development, character, and fate of the Cold War. Be able to explain the goals of Soviet Russia and the United States. Be able to describe specific events that shaped the Cold War, and be able to explain what brought about the end of this era of history.