History Paper 4

Early Modern World Comparative Essay

Description: In the first part of this course, the Early Modern Era (1450-1750), one of the main themes is the beginnings of globalization. Exchange – of people, diseases, foodstuffs, religion – occurred on a level never before reached and linked the peoples of the Eastern and Western hemispheres. For this paper you will examine one early modern development in two cultures. Note: you cannot pick 2 cultures from the same region, i.e., France and England. You are free to talk about two cultures that were influenced by the same phenomenon but did not interact, or 2 cultures in which 1 transformed/changed/influenced the other.


Requirements: 4 pages, not including bibliography, double-spaced in Times New Roman 12 point font. You must use and cite a total of at least 5 secondary sources (articles and/or books written by scholars based on their own primary source research – you can find these in/through the library) and 2 primary sources (1 for each civilization). These primary sources can be those assigned for class in the book, but you can also use other primary sources. Citations must be made according to the Chicago Manual of Style. You should also attach a bibliography/works cited page with all of your referenced sources. Please note: if you list 10 sources on your bibliography but only cite 2 in your paper, I will only count TWO. You must cite the sources you used in your paper to show 1) that you did in fact use them, and 2) that you are not plagiarizing ideas. For further information on researching and Chicago citation. 


Our major themes for this unit are:

Empire building

Atlantic expansion

Religion and the state

Science and Enlightenment

Economic exchange

The Early Modern Period covers the period between 1450 and 1750 (roughly), and is treated in your textbook in chapters 13-16.

Some possible examples for general topics include:

The impact of religious reform movements in Christianity and Islam

Christianization in China and the Viceroy of Peru (or any other 2 regions)

The Columbian exchange: the impact of European/African food products in the Americas and vice-versa

Reception to Science in China and Europe

These are just some suggestions to get you started, and should of course be narrowed in scope. Your end result could be, for example, a comparison of the state-building projects of 2 emperors.


Step 1: Pick a theme (it can be general at first – such as religion), and pick two culture. If you don’t have any ideas, re-read your textbook – it is set up in a comparative way and will help you

Step 2: Read relevant sections in your textbook and look at the suggestions for further reading at the end of the chapter.

Step 3: Begin to research your subject. Narrow it down if need be.

Step 4: If you are unsure about whether you have a valid topic, email me for approval. You can send me an email for approval.

Step 5: Research! Make sure you have at least 1 primary source for each culture you are comparing, and at least 5 secondary sources in total (this is a minimum – you can always use more).

Step 6: Write! Make sure you have a clear thesis that ties the paper together, and that you spend about equal space on both cultures.

Step 7: Proofread. Make sure all of your citations are in Chicago style, that you have a clear thesis and provide concrete support, and that you do not have spelling or grammatical errors



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