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Critical Thinking Questions
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  1. State-building and War

  1. Where and why did Russian and Brandenberg-Prussian strategic interests come into conflict?

  2. How did Catherine the Great's foreign policy make Russia a major world power?

  3. How did the Prussian state and Prussian society reflect the militarism of Frederick William I?

  4. What were the weaknesses of the Austrian Habsburg lands when Maria Theresa inherited them?

  5. How did Frederick the Great's domestic and foreign policy strengthen Prussia?

  6. How did the way wars were fought by European powers change during the eighteenth century?

  7. How did the parlements challenge the French king's authority?

  8. What was the relationship between the British king and Parliament in the eighteenth century?

  9. How did the slave trade form an integral part of the Triangle of Trade?

  1. The Twilight of Monarchies? The Question of Enlightened Absolutism

  1. What "enlightened" reforms did Frederick the Great and Joseph II enact?

  2. In what ways did their enlightened reforms fall short?

  3. How did enlightened rulers differ from the monarchs who had preceded them?

  1. Changes in Country and City Life

  1. What two developments were most important in bringing about an agricultural revolution in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries?

  2. What effect did enclosures have on small farmers, sharecroppers, and rural communities?

  3. What was the system of manufacturing known as cottage industry? How did it work? How did it affect rural peoples' lives?

  4. What factors contributed to population growth in eighteenth century Europe?

  5. The European population explosion translated into declining living conditions for certain groups of people. Who were they and how were their lives changed?

  6. What type of relations did the expanding urban middle class have with the social groups above and below them--the lower classes and aristocracy?

  1. The Culture of the Elite: Combining the Old and the New

  1. What new themes did authors explore in literature during this period?

  2. Why did novels reflect the values and interests of middle class society, while the fine arts continued to reflect aristocratic tastes?

  3. What role did the aristocracy and royal courts play in sponsoring art and music during the eighteenth century?

  4. How did musical styles change during the course of the century?

  5. In what ways was eighteenth century artistic culture "cosmopolitan?"

  1. Culture for the Lower Classes

  1. Describe the popular culture of the lower classes. How did these cultural outlets suit rural lives?

  2. What were the types of "literature" enjoyed by ordinary people?

  3. What forms of popular culture did both lower and upper classes share?

  4. In what ways did religion continue to manifest itself in European life and culture?

  5. What problems did ordinary people believe were developing within official churches? How did they respond?

  1. Foreshadowing Upheaval: The American Revolution

  1. How did the American colonists distance themselves from British regulations before the revolution?

  2. Why did tensions between Britain and the American colonies increase after the Seven Years' War ended?

  3. What were the colonists' major complaints about British rule?

  4. How did the Declaration of Independence justify the Americans' rebellion?

  5. Although the American constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence incorporated Enlightenment ideals to an unprecedented degree, how was the application of these ideals limited in reality?

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