Modern Age: Europe 1700-1945

Write an essay in response to one of the following questions.  Your paper should be 3-5 double-spaced pages.  (The paper must be at least three full pages.)  You should support your argument with evidence and direct quotations taken straight from the documents in the Sherman collection, and when you do so you must include some sort of citation indicating the source of the evidence.  This citation can either be in the form of a footnote or in brackets at the end of the sentence [Sherman, p. 67].  Since all of the documents come from one source, you need only give me the editor’s name and the page number.     1. Look at the selection from Arthur Young (p. 56), the list of grievances from the third estate (p. 57), and the pamphlet written by the Abbe Sieyes (p. 57).  Each of these documents gives us clues as to the feelings of the third estate in France just before the outbreak of the revolution in 1789.  According to the documents, what are the main complaints of the third estate?  Do the documents agree with each other?  Why might the authors of each of the three selections choose to stress somewhat different issues?  Based on these three documents, what do you think was the most important cause (or causes) of the French Revolution?       2. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection, first introduced in The Origin of Species (1859), proved to be one of the most influential ideas of the nineteenth century.  Biologists, of course, were excited by a theory which provided an organizing principle to the study of life, but natural selection was also popular with another group, the so-called Social Darwinists, who looked upon Darwin’s theory as a tool that they could use to understand contemporary society.  The Social Darwinists felt comfortable using a biological theory to explain politics, war, economics, colonialism, and various other social phenomena.   continued on back of page Look at the documents in the Sherman volume by Herbert Spencer (p. 133), Heinrich von Treitschke (p. 117), Rudyard Kipling (p. 119), and Houston Stewart Chamberlain (p. 139).  All of these men lived and worked during the late  nineteenth century or the early twentieth century.  Do these writers have anything in common?  (for example, racism or elitism.) Would you consider all of them to be Social Darwinists?  Do they all accept the notion of “survival of the fittest”?  Is their thinking dangerous?  Could their theories have helped cause the wars of the first half of the twentieth century?  Or were these thinkers simply being realistic about the way the world works?

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