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European History During the Age of the Americas

Objective: To provide a broad understanding of the history of Modern Europe during the "Age of the Americas" or "American Age" with the hope of providing the European context for American History and the immigrants that make up our a substantial part of American History and particularly United States History. This isn't intended to provide a comprehensive history of Modern Europe or the Atlantic world and Spanish America, but to understand European events and peoples that impacted the United States and its history.

We intend to read about 2-3 chapters each month, so the pace will be easy if you are participating in other groups.

New chapters will be introduced on Tuesdays on our Facebook page

Everyone is welcome to join us. Click Here To Find Out More About How To Participate In Our Reading Group

The Complete Book List for the Modern European History Group

Our Current Book

Our Current Book Reading Schedule - Week and Chapter

Part 1: Life and Death

  1. Chapter 1: Communications

    Thought Questions
    - What were roads like in the 18th century and how did this effect communication and commerce?
    - What advantages did the "planned" Colonial American communities have in transportation and communication?
    - What was a European turnpike and what social changes did they bring about?
    - What were the advantages and disadvantages of coastal sea travel? of inland waterways?
    - How did easy access to inland waterways economically assist the Netherlands?
    - How did the spread of clocks and watches effect European society?
    - How did waterway canals multiply the ability of animals to move people and cargo?
    - What are the major rivers of the German states, France and Austria-Hungary?
    - How did customs barriers and internal tariffs and tolls effect economic activity and development in the 18th century?
    - How did the development of dependable postal services influence European development during the 18th century?
  2. Chapter 2: People

    Thought Questions
    - What was the relationship between economic development and change and population in the 18th century?
    - What changes in the family and marriage occured in the 18th century?
    - What was the Thirty Years War and how did it effect the European population?
    - How did military conflict change after the Thirty Years War?
    - How are War, Famine and Disease related to each other?
    - In what ways did medicine and health science advance in the 18th century and what factors contributed to these changes?
    - How did gender, family and marriage effect life and change during the 18th century?
  3. Chapter 3: Trade and Manufacturing

    American History students should note the context of the Navigation Acts and European taxes as well as the "Guild System" that forced many Europeans to seek opportunity in America.

    Thought Questions
    - How did trade with the Americas change European demographics and jobs in the 18th century?
    - How did the Dutch create an international trading system in Northern Europe?
    - How did changing transportation networks facilitate a European wide market?
    - How did the Dutch financial industry help them achieve dominance in trade?
    - What were the English Navigation Acts and why were they enacted?
    - How did the southern Europeans begin to emerge as trading powers?
    - What was the "Guild System" and how did it effect immigration from Europe?

    Article
    The Anglo-Dutch Wars
    The English Navigation Acts

    Optional European History Literature Reading
    - Begin reading Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
    (Many historians regard Don Quixote as the first modern European novel)

    Optional European Philosophy Reading (alternating British, Continental and Russian)
    - Begin Reading An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume
    - Website: The Works of David Hume

    Optional European Music Selection
    Bach: Brandenburg Concerti 1-6
    (You can find free versions on Youtube, but the quality is often horrible)
    - Article: Johann Sebastian Bach's "Brandenburg" Concertos
  4. Chapter 4: Agriculture and the Rural World

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - X

    Optional European History Literature Reading
    - Continue reading Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
    (Many historians regard Don Quixote as the first modern European novel)

    Optional European Philosophy Reading (alternating British, Continental and Russian)
    - Finish Reading An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume
    - Website: The Works of David Hume

    Optional European Music Selection
    Bach: The Harpsichord Concertos
    (You can find free versions on Youtube, but the quality is often horrible)

Modern European History Group Reading List

  1. The Pursuit of Glory: The Five Revolutions that Made Modern Europe: 1648-1815 by Tim Blanning
  2. The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914 by Richard J. Evans
  3. To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949 by Ian Kershaw
  4. Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt

Click Here To View The Complete Book List for the European History in the Age of the Americas Reading Group