The Enlightenment

HIS 31: Modern Europe/ Short Critical Writing Assignment (SCWA) I

Short Critical Writing Assignments (2) Two times per semester, students must submit a brief analysis of a question posted on blackboard. Questions deal with assigned primary and secondary source readings and material covered in lectures.

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Your responses should critically engage the assigned questions, demonstrating your grasp of the ideas in class readings. Please structure your answer around a concise main argument in response to the assigned question. Outside research is not required. Please refer to the assigned texts specifically (with page numbers and citations) to support your answer.

Responses should be 2-4 pages and must be submitted by the beginning of class, according to the four due dates listed on the syllabus, in the following formats: 1) on the SafeAssign Link on blackboard and 2) a hard copy handed to the professor in class. You must submit on time to receive credit—no exceptions. Students are bring their ideas to in-class discussions. Blog posts will be evaluated according to the following rubric:
• Outstanding (A) students show that they have carefully read and grasped the assigned materials in great detail, focusing their answers around a strong main argument that reflects their independent engagement with the material.
• Satisfactory (B) students demonstrate they have read the material and made an effort to answer the question thoughtfully.
• Unsatisfactory (C/D) students demonstrate a superficial reading of the material, that they have not read all of the material, or that they have not answered the given question thoughtfully.

You have the choice of two topics (see reverse) and corresponding primary documents but only need to submit one essay. Regardless of which topic you choose, the due date is the same.

NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED. NO EXCEPTIONS.

* * * * *

Option I: The Enlightenment, Education and the “Discovery” of Childhood

John Locke Second Treatise of Civil Government [Blackboard]
John Locke Some Thoughts Concerning Education [Sourcebook Doc 18-3/Blackboard]

Historians have argued that prior to the Enlightenment, children were widely viewed as miniature adults and naturally sinful creatures to be broken and molded through harsh discipline and physical restraining devices. Only during the 17th and 18th century did Europeans “discover” childhood as a unique stage of human development meriting special training and education.

Essay Question: In the context of these pre-Enlightenment ideas, how did the writings of John Locke represent a radical paradigm shift towards childhood, children and education? How did his ideas on education relate to his political views? also see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment for more information.

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Option II: Women and the Family on Trial in the French Revolution

Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (SB Doc 19-3)
Mary Wollstonecraft A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (SB Doc 19-6)
Olympe de Gouges The Rights of Woman and Citizen (BB)

From the Women’s March to Versailles to the radical Jacobin women, women played critical roles in all phases of the French Revolution, not only radicalizing the Revolution itself but advancing feminist demands for women’s political, legal and sexual equality.

Examining women’s participation in the Revolution, how and why did feminists like Olympe de Gouges and Mary Wollstonecraft challenge the supposedly universalist language of the French Revolution? To what extent were their demands met? Please be sure to include a close analysis and comparison of the assigned primary texts, i.e. the DRMC as well as the challenges by Gouges and Wollstonecraft.

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