The study of European history since 1450 introduces students to cultural, economic, political, and social developments that played a fundamental role in shaping the world in which they live. Without this knowledge, we would lack the context for understanding the development of contemporary institutions, the role of continuity and change in present-day society and politics, and the evolution of current forms of artistic expression and intellectual discourse. In addition to providing a basic narrative of events and movements, the goals of the AP program in European History are to develop (a) an understanding of some of the principal themes in modern European History, (b) an ability to analyze historical evidence and historical interpretation, and (c) an ability to express historical understanding in writing.

This course explores the following themes:

Intellectual and Cultural History

  • Changes in religious thought and institutions
  • Secularization of learning and culture
  • Scientific and technological developments and their consequences
  • Major trends in literature and the arts
  • Intellectual and cultural developments and their relationship to social values and political events
  • Developments in social, economic, and political thought
  • Developments in literacy, education, and communication
  • The diffusion of new intellectual concepts among different social groups
  • Changes in elite and popular culture, such as the development of new attitudes toward religion, the family, work, and ritual
  • Impact of global expansion on European culture

Political and Diplomatic History

  • The rise and functioning of the modern state in its various forms
  • Relations between Europe and other parts of the world: colonialism, imperialism, decolonization, and global interdependence
  • The evolution of political elites and the development of political parties, ideologies, and other forms of mass politics
  • The extension and limitation of rights and liberties (personal, civic, economic, and political); majority and minority political persecutions
  • The growth and changing forms of nationalism
  • Forms of political protest, reform, and revolution
  • Relationships between domestic and foreign policies
  • Efforts to restrain conflict: treaties, balance-of-power diplomacy, and international organizations
  • War and civil conflict: origins, developments, technology, and their consequences

Social and Economic History

  • The character of and changes in agricultural production and organization
  • The role of urbanization in transforming cultural values and social relationships
  • The shift in social structures from hierarchical orders to modern social classes: the changing distribution of wealth and poverty
  • The influence of sanitation and health care practices on society; food supply, diet, famine, disease, and their impact
  • The development of commercial practices, patterns of mass production and consumption, and their economic and social impact
  • Changing definitions of and attitudes toward mainstream groups and groups characterized as the "other"
  • The origins, development, and consequences of industrialization
  • Changes in the demographic structure and reproductive patterns of Europeans: causes and consequences
  • Gender roles and their influence on work, social structure, family structure, and interest group formation
  • The growth of competition and interdependence in national and world markets
  • Private and state roles in economic activity
  • Development and transformation of racial and ethnic group identities.

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