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First Midterm Exam Questions, Western Civilization since 1650 (sects 1, 2, 3)

As part of the first mid-term exam on 23 September, you will be asked to answer one of the three following questions.  Your answer must be in essay format, with clearly organized paragraphs. 

Your essay should have an introductory paragraph, in which you state your main points (your basic answer to the question).

Your essay should have at least two or three "body" paragraphs, in which you explain your main ideas (the main points of your answer). 

Your essay should have a concluding paragraph that again summarizes your main points. 

It is a good idea to prepare in advance by writing an outline for each question, and by thinking very carefully about what you want in include in each section of your answer to each question.


OK--here are the essay questions:

1)  In the lecture and in the textbook, you learned that there were several reasons that the agricultural economy in Europe (and especially in Western Europe) began producing larger surpluses in the early modern period (especially in the 1600s and 1700s).  A) Explain the main reasons for the increased production of agricultural surplus (and give examples); B) Briefly explain some of the consequences of this development (be sure to give and explain examples).

2) In the lecture and in the textbook, you learned about the basic principles of Mercantilism and of Absolutism, and you were presented with many examples of Mercantilism and Absolutism in practice.  A) What fundamental ideas did Mercantilism and Absolutism share? Explain these ideas; B) What were some of the most important examples of Mercantilist and Absolutist policies in practice?  Be sure to explain why these examples = Mercantilism or Absolutism.

3)  In the lecture and in the textbook, you learned about the basic underlying principles (the basic assumptions) of the Scientific Revolution and of the Enlightenment.  A) What basic assumptions developed during the Scientific Revolution about nature and about how we gain knowledge became underlying principles of Enlightenment?  Be sure to explain these ideas/principles, and be sure to give and explain examples; B) Based upon these underlying principles, what sorts of institutions did Enlightenment thinkers criticize and why (give and explain examples!).