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The following terms are taken from a combination of the lecture notes, lectures, and assigned reading. Choose one of the terms below on the midterm to write about. There is NO extra credit for writing on more than five. A top scoring exam will consist of five well-written, thorough, lengthy responses. 

You must provide factual information relating to the person, event, or movement, etc. I am looking for enough detail and enough specificity so it is clear you have a solid grasp of the subject matter. Many students find it helpful to run through the ‘who,’ what’ ‘when,’ ‘where,’ why,’ ‘how,’ etc. prompts while writing. Remember, I do NOT expect you to know dates, unless it is helpful to you to do so, but beyond that I do expect a lot of detail and specificity in your responses. Take your discussion/analysis as far as it can go; define things, explain things, integrate other relevant topics.

In class we used the example of Martin Luther. This is certainly not the only way to approach it, nor is it necessarily an all-inclusive answer, rather it is meant to illustrate my general expectations: 

Martin Luther was raised in a strict Catholic family in Germany. In his early adult years, he became a monk in hopes of one day becoming a priest. As time went on Luther, became more disturbed with what he believed to be blatant errors, abuse, and overreaching on the part of the priests, bishops, all the way up the chain of authority in the Catholic establishment. To Luther, neither the Bible, nor any other authority vested the clergy in the Roman Catholic Church with the power and the divide between themselves and the masses they claimed. Luther also called attention to indulgences and cancellations of punishments. Indulgences were payments of certain amounts of money straight to the Catholic Church in exchange for a decrease or a flat out erasure of one’s sin. A cancellation was a higher payment up front which served to cancel the person’s sin debt, so to speak, free and clear. 

In 1517, Luther nailed what came to be known as the “95 Theses” to the Wittenberg Castle Church door in Germany. The “95 Theses” were a list of questions for debate that Luther posed to the Catholic Church. The importance of Luther’s nailing the “95 Theses” was that it touched off the Protestant Reformation. Luther stood up to the Catholic establishment at a time when that Church’s authority was rarely if ever questioned, its pronouncements were the final word. People did not question, they did not interpret, and they did not analyze. Those skills were seen as solely reserved for higher church authority. Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther from the Catholic Church in 1520 (in other words, severed his association and prohibited him from ever being part of it again).

The Catholic Church deemed Luther a “protestant.” Soon after, Europe became divided along confessional and territorial lines. The religious turmoil of the period led to warfare within most states and between many. 

Remember, nothing occurs in isolation or in a vacuum. Tell me in detail what the part of the world was like at the time the term you are writing about existed. Here’s a hint: when you are studying, read a couple of paragraphs before and a couple of paragraphs after the term in the textbook and in the notes you hopefully took during class. Integrate this information in your response to provide political, economic, and social context.

Finally, tell me why each term was significant or important. Think of it this way; “why do we care?” “why did we study this person, event, movement, etc.” Did they start a trend or a backlash to a movement? How would the world be different if this person did not exist, if this movement did not occur, etc. What did this person, movement, or event contribute to history or to our understanding of how the world works? Keep in mind, there can be more than one significance. As long as your answer is reasonable, you will get points. Do NOT simply say, for example, “Luther was important because he impacted history.” While this is a true statement I expect more than that for a quality answer. 

Please use complete sentences. 


Benjamin Franklin

The French Revolution, 1789-1815

Napoleon Bonaparte

The Haitian Revolution, 1789-1804

The Congress of Vienna and Conservative Retrenchment, 1815-1820

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