1. What other period or periods of history that you have already studied offer parallels to Europe's "iron century"? What difference do you detect between the problems of the fourteenth century and those of the period 1560-1660?
  2. What were the causes of the "price revolution"? Why was inflation harder on the poor than on the rich?
  3. What was the impact of the price revolution on governments?
  4. Assess the validity of this statement about Europe's "iron century": "Given prevalent attitudes, newly arisen religious rivalries made wars inevitable."
  5. What made the religious wars of the latter half of the sixteenth century more brutal than those previously fought by Europeans, including the medieval crusades?
  6. What was the importance of the Peace of Augsburg? What were its weaknesses?
  7. Summarize the provisions of Henry IV's Edict of Nantes. In what ways did it advance religious freedom? In what ways was religious freedom still limited?
  8. Explain why antagonisms between Catholics and Protestants in the Netherlands led to a revolt against Spanish rule.
  9. Why was the defeat of the Spanish Armada "one of the most decisive battles of Western history"?
  10. How did religious disputes contribute to the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War? Why did religion become subordinated to other issues in the course of the conflict?
  11. Explain why access to huge quantities of American silver failed to prevent Spain's economic decline.
  12. What did each of the following contribute to the development of strong central government in France: Henry IV, the duke of Sully, Cardinal Richelieu?
  13. Why did the revolt known as the Fronde fail to check the growth of centralized absolutism in France?
  14. Louis XIV was "the most effective royal absolutist in all of French history." What made him so?
  15. "Compared to the civil disturbances of the 1640s in Spain and France, those in England proved the most momentous in their results for the history of limited government." Explain this statement.
  16. What were the reasons for the unpopularity of King James I among his English subjects? Did he fully deserve this unpopularity?
  17. Describe the part played by each of the following in causing the English Civil War: the Puritan religious movement, the Crown's struggle for increased revenue, the Stuart rulers' political doctrines, the Scottish war of 1640.
  18. The period of the Commonwealth and Protectorate constitutes England's only experiment with a republican form of government. Why was the experiment abandoned? Was it a complete failure?
  19. To what extent was the witchcraft hysteria of the period 1560-1660 a religious phenomenon? What other factors help account for it?
  20. Compare the political theories of Jean Bodin and Thomas Hobbes. Which of them was more absolutist in his point of view? Why was Hobbes generally unpopular with royalists in spite of his championing of absolutism?
  21. What is the social and psychological significance of Cervantes' greatest work?
  22. Describe briefly the characteristics of Shakespeare's plays from each of the three periods that mark his career as a dramatist.
  23. Both the Mannerist and the Baroque styles of painting reflected the influence of religion. What were the differences between the two styles?
  24. What baroque characteristics are found in the work of Rubens?
  25. What is the justification for claiming Rembrandt as the greatest of all Netherlandish painters?
  1. Why did absolutism decline in England at a time when it was rising on the Continent?
  2. Compare the political role of the Huguenots in France with that of the Puritans in England.
  3. Investigate further any of the following:
      a. The Huguenot communities in southern France.
      b. The witchcraft hysteria.
      c. The impact of the price revolution of the late sixteenth century.
      d. The French court under the Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin.
      e. The Dutch struggle for independence.
      f. The reign of Henry IV of France.
      g. The influence of the Puritans upon English thought and English politics in the seventeenth century.
      h. The career of Oliver Cromwell.
  4. Explore the waxing and waning of Habsburg influence in Europe.
  5. Read several of Montaigne's Essays to discover what light they throw on the character of the age in which he wrote.
  6. How does the Baroque style in painting, sculpture, or architecture reflect the dominant interests, ideals, or passions of the period? Illustrate your judgments by citing specific works.


W.W. Norton
REVIEW: World Civilizations
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