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Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World

Season 1
More than just a history of Western civilization, Foundations of Western Civilization II is a course about the meaning of civilization itself. Taught by Professor Robert Bucholz, it promises profound rewards for students of history at every level, a grand narrative of the past five centuries - of social progress, political evolution, industrialization, and other economic factors.
200648 episodes
TV-PG
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Episodes

  1. S1 E1 - The Importance of the West
    April 9, 2006
    32min
    TV-PG
    This lecture is an overview of the past 500 years of European history and culture - the system of government, economic structures, science and technology, and much of the literature, art, and music. #History
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  2. S1 E2 - Geography Is Destiny
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    We look at how the physical realities of Europe and the Atlantic world - its geography and climate - shaped its destiny by affecting patterns of population, immigration, diplomacy, war, and political and cultural divisions.
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  3. S1 E3 - Culture Is Destiny
    April 9, 2006
    30min
    TV-PG
    The "Great Chain of Being" assumed an ordered, hierarchical universe in which humans - like angels, animals, plants, and even stones - were placed in a particular rank by God. As Europe emerges from the Middle Ages, that concept is challenged and strained by forces in politics, society, religion, and culture.
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  4. S1 E4 - Renaissance Humanism - 1350 - 1650
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    A revived interest in the literary and historical works of classical Greece and Rome unleashes new ideas about the qualifications of a gentleman, the role of women, and the expectations of a prince - with a resulting emphasis on textual accuracy, literacy, education, and the human and practical.
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  5. S1 E5 - Renaissance Princes - 1450 - 1600
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    The Humanist emphasis dovetails with the rise of a new kind of ruler, with expanding powers in every area of life and seeking to pay for their ambitions by claiming trade routes to the Far East and the Americas.
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  6. S1 E6 - The New World & the Old - 1400 - 1650
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    The exploration and exploitation of Africa and Asia by the Portuguese, and of the Americas by first the Spanish, then the French and English, change the economies, cultures, and political makeup of these regions forever.
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  7. S1 E7 - The Protestant Reformation - 1500 - 22
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    The rise of literacy and the development of the printing press make possible the dissemination of powerful new ideas - particularly those of Augustinian priest and reformer Martin Luther.
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  8. S1 E8 - The Wars of Religion - 1523 - 1648
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    The Reformation splits Europe into opposing camps, producing a series of bloodbaths culminating in the Thirty Years' War, the near-bankruptcy of Spain, and the eventual conviction that perhaps religious matters are best settled peacefully.
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  9. S1 E9 - Rational & Scientific Revolutions - 1450 - 1650
    April 9, 2006
    30min
    TV-PG
    Beginning with Copernicus in the 15th century, European thinkers such as Galileo, Kepler, Bacon, and Newton question old views on how the world works, pioneering the Scientific Method.
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  10. S1 E10 - French Absolutism - 1589 - 1715
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    Following the disasters of the Wars of Religion, the monarchies of Europe experience a crisis of authority. The French response - ultimately perfected by Louis XIV - of an absolutism that makes the king a virtual god on Earth becomes an object of envy and imitation for nearly every monarchy on the continent.
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  11. S1 E11 - English Constitutionalism - 1603 - 49
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    The Stuart monarchs of England struggle with Parliament and their own foibles and extravagance. The resulting English Civil Wars culminate in the trial and execution of King Charles I in 1649.
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  12. S1 E12 - English Constitutionalism - 1649 - 89
    April 9, 2006
    30min
    TV-PG
    After the execution of Charles I, England experiments with a republic, a protectorate, and even, once again, a semi-absolutist monarchy, before the Glorious Revolution sets an example of an alternative, more democratic, form of government for Europe and the Americas.
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  13. S1 E13 - War, Trade, Empire - 1688 - 1702
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    The Revolution of 1688-89 precipitates a series of general European wars pitting the French against the British and Dutch for mastery in Europe and control of trade with colonies in America and Asia.
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  14. S1 E14 - War, Trade, Empire - 1702 - 14
    April 9, 2006
    30min
    TV-PG
    Building on its military success - powered by innovative deficit financing - Britain becomes the most prosperous trading nation in Europe, with much of the foundation of that prosperity built on the misery of Africans forced into the Triangular Atlantic trade in sugar, tobacco, and African slaves.
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  15. S1 E15 - War, Trade, Empire - 1714 - 63
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    Most of Europe, and France in particular, emerges from two decades of warfare exhausted financially and militarily, but the peace is temporary. A new round of conflicts leaves Britain the undisputed master of the Canadian and Eastern seaboards of North America.
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  16. S1 E16 - Life Under the Ancien Régime - 1689 - 1789
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    Thanks to commercial and financial revolutions, the middling orders of merchants and professionals are growing in numbers, wealth, and political savvy - and will be key to the coming revolution in European social and economic relations.
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  17. S1 E17 - Enlightenment & Despotism
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    European thinkers such as Voltaire, Diderot, Montesquieu, and Rousseau expand the ideas of Locke and others in a movement that comes to be known as the Enlightenment. When even enlightened monarchs fail to change their societies, some Europeans begin to consider an alternative: revolution.
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  18. S1 E18 - The American Revolution
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    The American Revolution becomes a fight over Enlightenment ideas. The new republic and its constitution represent the first comprehensive attempt to put those ideas into practice and become a model and inspiration to Europeans who want reform.
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  19. S1 E19 - The French Revolution - 1789 - 92
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    Nearly bankrupted by its participation in the American Revolution, and unable to achieve reform under its existing system, France becomes a constitutional monarchy, with aristocratic privilege abolished and a Declaration of the Rights of Man set forth. But will Louis XVI accept his reduced role?
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  20. S1 E20 - The French Revolution - 1792 - 1803
    April 9, 2006
    30min
    TV-PG
    As the king - urged on by monarchs elsewhere - refuses that new role, the Revolution turns violent, unleashing a Reign of Terror that eventually brings about war with virtually every other monarchy in Europe, a new nationalism, and the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte.
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  21. S1 E21 - The Napoleonic Empire - 1803-15
    April 9, 2006
    30min
    TV-PG
    Despite a succession of brilliant victories, Napoleon's efforts to conquer Britain and force the nations of Europe into his system meet with eventual defeat. Nevertheless, the sense of nationalism spread by France has changed the political climate, as the Congress of Vienna learns in attempting to restore the Bourbon monarchy.
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  22. S1 E22 - Beginnings of Industrialization - 1760 - 1850
    April 9, 2006
    30min
    TV-PG
    While several factors make Europe the logical place for industrialization to begin, it is Britain's advantages - financial, political, and social - that makes it the best-suited country to exploit those conditions. The result is a host of brilliant inventors, financiers, and managers who bring about the first Industrial Revolution.
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  23. S1 E23 - Consequences of Industrialization - 1760 - 1850
    April 9, 2006
    30min
    TV-PG
    The consequences of the first Industrial Revolution do more to create today's world than any other development studied in this course. But its innovations have a dark side that draws multiple responses from European intellectuals - which we examine in the next three lectures.
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  24. S1 E24 - The Liberal Response - 1776 - 1861
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    The appalling conditions of life and work for the working class produce a series of intellectual and political reactions in Western Europe, with the best routes to reform the subject of wide-ranging debate among liberal thinkers.
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  25. S1 E25 - The Romantic Response - 1789 - 1870
    April 9, 2006
    31min
    TV-PG
    In the face of half-hearted or partial solutions to the problems of the Industrial Revolution, Romantic writers such as Wordsworth, Blake, and Shelley urge revolution, forever altering how Europeans and, later, Americans, perceive the world.
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Audio languages
English
Subtitles
English [CC]
Producers
The Great Courses
Starring
Robert Bucholz
Studio
The Great Courses
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