Northwestern University

Department of History

History 337, Winter 2000, Professor Mokyr



Note: Since the amount of material for this course is substantial and there is some uncertainty about the nature of the final, I have prepared a list of exams. None of those questions will appear on the exam exactly in this form, but the actual exam will have similar questions, so this will help students to prepare.


The exam will consist of two parts: the first part will have 5 concepts and names on which you will be asked to write one (summary) page each, 15 examples are provided below. The second part will have an essay question, 20 examples of which are supplied below.


Part I: Sample identifications (1 page each).


The exam will contain eight concepts of the kind below, choose five. On each, please write one page in which you identify the person or concept, describe its significance for the history of the country in question. Use dates and place-names where appropriate.



1.                  Alexander Kerenski


2.                  Schlieffen Plan


3.                  Holy Alliance


4.                  Giuseppe Garibaldi


5.                  Marshall Radetsky


6.                  Locarno Treaty


7.                  King Leopold of Belgium


8.                  Steel industry after 1860


9.                  Georges Clemenceau


10.              William Gladstone


11.              Dreyfuss Affair


12.              Georges Haussmann


13.              Peace of Brest-Litowsk.


14.              Vichy government.


15.              Poor Law Amendment Act




Part II: Sample Essay questions.



Below are 20 questions the likes of which will appear on the exam. The final will contain two questions, choose 1.


Clues for doing well:


1.                  Read the question well, make sure what is being asked and answer to the point; diversionary tactics will be merciless penalized.


2.                  Dare look at the larger picture and speculate about general rules at work.


3.                  Use facts to support any generalization and analysis. Use names, dates, and place names to give your evidence context.


4.                  Argue logically, connecting causes and effects, singling out the roles of individuals and events.


16.              Describe the circumstances and causes of the establishment of the second Empire in France, and assess its successes in domestic and foreign policy.


17.              Compare the processes which lead to the unification of Italy and Germany in the nineteenth century and evaluate to what extent the establishment of coherent nation states in those two countries improved the lives of their citizens.


18.              Discuss the network of International relations that emerged between 1890 and 1914, the issues on which the big powers disagreed, and explain how and why they led to the First World War. Do you feel that the way they developed made the catastrophe inevitable?


19.              List the main components of what is known as the “Second Industrial Revolution” and explain how they affected daily life. Was technology a force for the good from the vantage point of 1914?


20.              What were the main elements in the modernization of Russia between 1861 and 1914? What were the political and economic obstacles that had to be overcome and to what extent were the policies successful?


21.              Delineate in some detail the political and economic arrangements that reshaped Europe (less Russia) in the wake of World War I. Discuss in particular the political, ethnic-national, and economic arrangements, and to what extent they contributed to the interwar instability.


22.              What were the main issues with which the British government had to cope between 1848 and 1914 and how were they coped with? Describe in some details the workings of the British political system, and how its ability to solve questions differed from its Continental neighbors.


23.              Describe the foreign and domestic policies followed by the Habsburg Empire before 1870, and in particular describe the various ways in which the two interacted.


24.              Delineate the main events in Germany and the Habsburg Empire in 1848-49 and analyze the sources of friction and unhappiness that led to the riots and revolutions, and how they were (or were not resolved).


25.              Assess the role of technological changes in communications (railroads, shipping, telegraph, etc.) on the economies of Europe as well as on the political structures of the various countries.


26.              Describe the main political and social characteristics that made the government of the German Empire (as established in 1871) different from other European countries. To what extent do you feel that its ultimate failure was pre-ordained?


27.              What were the main causes and features of the Spanish Civil War, and what explains its course and ending? In which ways was this event specific to Spanish society? To what extent do you feel that it hastened the onset of World War II?


28.              It is often said that World War I was a war of technology and resources rather than a war of men and tactics. Discuss this statement, and explain how it can guide us in understanding the course and outcome of the War.


29.              Describe the main outlines of European expansion in Africa and the Middle East between 1870 and 1920. What were the main objectives of the primary participants and how do you explain the spectacular rise and fall of European Imperialism in this period.


30.              What were the main components of the Revolutionary and Reformist Movements in the Continent in the period 1848-1914, and how did “the Establishment” respond to the growing calls for economic and social changes in the various countries.


31.              What exactly is the movement known as “nationalism” and why did it grow as much as it did in the nineteenth century? What was the impact of Nationalism on the political development of Germany, France and the Habsburg Empire?


32.              Describe in some detail the political backgrounds of the “little wars” on the European Continent between 1853 and 1871, explain what the respective participants hoped to achieve in each and their actual outcomes.


33.              It is often said that what explains the rise of the Nazis in Germany is not the actual defeat in the War of 1914-18 but the economic and political disasters of Weimar policy. Assess this statement.


34.              In what way was the rise of Fascism in Europe between the wars (1918-40)  an outcome of economic and social tension and disruptions? Illustrate your answer with as many cases you can think of and show how the answer differs from country to country.


35.              What were the main developments in Irish society and politics between 1829 (Catholic emancipation) and Independence (1922)? How did economic factors contribute to the nature of the Irish struggle for independence?