CIV 100 STUDY GUIDE

BY

PHILIP JONES


I. DEFINITIONAL OUTLINE

INTRODUCTION: It is obvious that all of the events of western civilization cannot be considered in one semester or even in one lifetime. In any historically based course, a conscious or unconscious selection is made from a vast quantity of possible material for study. The criteria for selection is based on some "model" of history that makes sense of isolated events. The most familiar model emphasizes the development of political institutions through the exploits of "great men," but there are several others. In this course the Zeitgeist model is used. Just as we may speak of a generation gap between different age groups, we may refer to a general change in attitude between different periods in history. The climate of opinion in any given age is usually referred to as the spirit of the age or Zeitgeist. In order to be valid as characteristics of the spirit of an age, the features chosen must be independent of a partisan position in any particular religious, political, or other controversy. In other words, they must be shared perceptions of the world or those matters that are considered "relevant." They tend to reveal themselves in the consensus of each period about the "big questions" concerning values, truth, standards of beauty and morality. This does not mean that there is agreement about the answers to these questions, merely that there is agreement that they are the important questions. Though they are most easily seen in this philosophical context, they influence all aspects of existence because they influence the underlying attitude toward existence, the meaning of life, and the nature of humanity. For the sake of convenience and to demonstrate the pervasive nature of the spirit of an age, historical subject matter will be divided into six categories. 1) Intellectual history deals with philosophy, science, religion, and similar enterprises of the mind. 2) Political history is concerned with wars, kings, government and relations between governments. 3) Cultural history refers to "high" culture, which is the arts, literature, architecture, and creative endeavors of all sorts. 4) Economic history is the investigation of how people earned their livelihood. 5) Social history is concerned with relations within families, communities and other social entities. 6) Technological history involves the development of tools for providing the necessities and comforts of life.

ANCIENT: The Greek and Roman spirit is distinguished from that of earlier civilizations in that it separated religion from the economic, political, cultural, and other aspects of life and dealt with these matters in a rational fashion rather than in a mythopoeic fashion. The Hellenic World, was, therefore, marked by humanism, secularism, and rationalism. Intellectual: Philosophy and science could be removed from revealed religion. Political: Kings and emperors were no longer gods or necessarily priests but were explained in other ways. Cultural: The human body, proportion, human aesthetics were emphasized. Economic: Athenian domination of the ocean and Roman expansion of imperial control were no longer explained as being due to superior gods but as being undertaken to enrich the polity. Technological: The engineering and technological feats of the Romans indicated the materialism of their culture that is an important part of the heritage of the western world. Social: Greek tradition and Roman law determined family relationships, the place of the individual in society, and the status of women in ways that were unconnected with religion.

MEDIEVAL: The Middle Ages were dominated by a quest for security in a spiritual and physical sense. Intellectual: Christianity dominated intellectual activity because the spiritual concern of the age was the attainment of immortality to the exclusion of nearly everything else. Political: The feudal and manorial systems were designed to provide security for all members of society. The castle symbolized this attitude. Cultural: The cathedral symbolized the overriding concern with religion and demonstrates its dominance even in the arts. Economic: The manorial system with its lords and serfs was an economic mechanism for exchanging labor for protection. Social: Parental authority and the rights of the family over the individual represents in microcosm the family of Christians; the age was in theory anti-materialistic with emphasis placed on the question for spiritual security. Technological: The heavy plow and horse collar were introduced and made manorial agriculture possible. The stirrup made fighting from horseback possible. Windmills and water power provide the basis for industrial development.

RENAISSANCE: The 15th and 16th centuries saw a rebirth of rationalism leading to an emphasis on humanism and secularism. Intellectual: Rational investigation is as much a gift of God as revelation and must be used to understand this world and the next. Political: The security offered by feudalism was largely illusory in practice and not worth the price in restrictions, so the various political groups, including the monarch, began to develop the modern, bureaucratic "nation state." Cultural: The arts are a physical representation of the humanism, secularism, and realism of the period; the aesthetic concern with standards of beauty and Neoplatonism led to the symbolism of the high renaissance. Economic: The emergence of banks, the influx of gold and silver, the economic aggressiveness of the Italian city state and northern cities such as the Hanseatic League, led to new economic structures, inflation, etc. that had a profound effect on all of the institutions of the day. Social: The emergence of new classes and the new money that affected the standard of living had a quickening and, perhaps, secularizing effect. Technological: The printing press, metallurgical advances, gunpowder, and other developments were fundamental to the transition from medieval to modern times.

AGE OF POWER: The 17th century was marked by a quest for power and an almost neurotic taste for extreme dichotomies. Intellectual: Counter reformation extremes had their counterpart in the fascination with the occult, and in the attempt to master nature as seen in the Scientific Revolution. Political: The terrible wars of religion, the divine right theory of monarchy, and the unsettled nature of politics heightened the sense of pessimism and the desire for power. Cultural: Baroque painting, architecture, music, etc. also show the desire for mastery or power in the display of virtuosity, the stupendous scale of art works, and the intensity of effort and effect. Economic: Contact with new cultures during overseas exploration and the aggressive nature of mercantilism reflected the desire for control and the instability of the age. Social: The themes of death and tragedy may be seen as a result of civil wars, plague, and famine, as well as general economic decline in this period. These in turn created a desire for stability and control, thus there is even more emphasis on family, church, crown. Technological: Much of the Scientific Revolution was dependent on the development of instruments such as the vacuum pump and telescope.

ENLIGHTENMENT: Rationalism was re-emphasized and the effort to understand and conform with nature through reason becomes paramount. Intellectual: Deists, Hume, Kant, Locke, Newton and many others show the effect of rationalism on intellectual activity. Political: The ideas and programs of the philosophes, enlightened despots and the trends that culminated in the new order of post revolutionary France all point to the attempt to rationalize the political order. Cultural: Neoclassical aesthetic standards and the emphasis on nature were products of rationalism applied to the arts. Economic: The economic natural order as reasoned in the Wealth of Nations and the story of the American colonies' struggle for economic independence illustrate 18th century economic trends. Social: A new naturalism in family affairs, the expression of sentiment, and a reasoned existence indicate the new spirit of reason. Technological: The Agricultural Revolution and beginning of the Industrial Revolution have traditionally been placed in this period. Steel making processes, steam engines, and the general development of machinery mark the period.

AGE OF REVOLUTION: This period is characterized by a general attitude that change could bring about improvements in all areas of people's lives, and this conscious desire for change led to several forms of revolution. Intellectual: The romantic revolution's emphasis on the individual, the heroic, and the emotional in addition to the search for the unique and peculiar as opposed to the universals of the enlightenment characterize this age. Political: Romantic nationalism in the aftermath of the French Revolution and the power of empathy that led to the notion of "social justice," culminating in a type of anthropomorphism that leads to societies for the protection of animals, created a new political climate in which democracy, liberalism, and individualism are paramount. In addition, the French Revolution made permanent a feeling that the state belongs to the citizens, so that modern wars, political movements and international relations involve the "nation in arms" and whole "races" of peoples. Cultural: The Romantics built a false image of the Enlightenment as being unemotional and reacted against it by emphasizing the importance of the intuitive and emotional aspect of human nature. Economic: The Industrial Revolution can be seen as the greatest watershed in human history since the beginning of agriculture. Certainly modern materialism, with all its implications, owes its existence to what we term the Industrial Revolution. In the 19th century, nostalgia led to a rejection of the materialism of the day and a kind of escapism, but at the same time mass produced medieval ornamentation and concern with alienation and the plight of the worker led to new concerns; economic nationalism was as powerful a force as political nationalism. Social: These three revolutions also fundamentally altered social relationships and conditions. The idea of social equality and fully developed capitalism meant a revolution in social relationships as, for example, in the romantic idea that childhood is a special time. The various period revivals had a great effect on interior and exterior architecture and the image people had of themselves. Technological: In all areas of life from travel and communication to war, the technical aspects of the 19th century are almost self evident.

UNCERTAINTY: With the destruction of faith in reason and intuition the age of uncertainty arrived. This was accomplished by the agency of the two distinguishing characteristics of the age -- psychology and relativism. Intellectual: The ideas that there are no standards and that both reason and emotion are products of conditioning gave rise to an anchorless hedonism or a sense of despair. These effects were heightened by increasing specialization in the sciences that gave rise to the feeling that the world was an unknowable mystery. Political: Both totalitarian dictators and democratic politicians manipulated public opinion or reacted to it in a way that emphasized the irrational nature of 20th century political life as indicated by the two World Wars and the Cold War. Cultural: Abstract expressionism and a total surrender to relativism in the arts indicated the lack of absolutes and the uncertainty of the age. Economic: The quest for material wealth in the 20th century gave focus to the lives of many people, but, at the same time, it underlined the the uncertainty about the meaning of existence. Social: The extreme individualism, the breakdown of the family on one hand and the unprecedented mobility and wealth provided by the industrial revolution on the other hand also highlighted the uncertainty of the age. All of these trends were set by 1920. Technological: Uncertainty is increased by the astounding possibilities which now seem to confront the Western Civilization. Nuclear power, space travel, environmental control, genetic engineering, and many other technological possibilities are both frightening and reassuring.

II. SUGGESTIONS
One of the most common causes of trouble in this course is the failure to take notes. You must take notes. This does not mean merely writing down what you see on the overhead projector or blackboard. The outlines placed on the screen are meant only as an aid in following the logic of the lecture or to give the spelling of unfamiliar words. It is a mistake to believe that only copying them will provide you with adequate notes. Much of the material presented in the lectures is in the main textbook, but most of it is not. The best policy is to write down as much of what is being said as is possible. You should also take notes on the texts. You may be good enough at underlining or making notes in the margin to get by, but the safest course is to jot down a few notes after you finish each section of the book.

The essay portions of the exams are meant to test your ability to analyze, synthesize, and organize the material. You will not have time to write everything you know about the subject. Rank the items of information you have on a subject in order of importance and write them in that order. When you are asked to compare two topics or are otherwise asked to amalgamate two topics, do so. Try to find the connections or relationship between the two topics. A definition of each will not suffice. The best way to prepare for these questions is 1) learn the material in notes and books, 2) ask yourself or have a friend ask possible questions, 3) criticize your answer or have a friend do it.

There are a few terms used throughout this course that it would be well to learn and keep in mind from the outset. They are:

Rationalism is the view that the physical and moral universe is orderly and functions in accord with laws or principles. Since people are rational, they have the power to understand the working of the universe if they can discover the laws or principles.

Humanism means placing an emphasis on humanity as the most important element in the universe. Thus people are the subjects of the arts and they dominate in all interests and activities.

Secularism is the placing of emphasis on this life in this time rather than on religion, an afterlife, and the supernatural.

Intuition, feeling, emotion, and faith are all words used to mean an emphasis on the nonrational. They usually involve an implication that the world is not accessible to human reason. In other words, people can best live in harmony with the universe by depending on revealed truth from supernatural sources or their own instincts.

Aesthetics is the theory of art and is sometimes used to describe the artistic quality of a work of art. As used in this course it will principally refer to an aesthetic balance between the rational, academic, learned, inherited element on the one hand and the emotional, intuitional, inspired, personal element on the other.

Classicism refers to a frame of mind and implies an inclination to Conservatism, or a view that the models and directions pointed out by the "ancients" should be followed; Unity, or the idea that a play, picture, etc. should have a clear subject and be uncluttered by extraneous material; Restraint of emotion and a rational portrayal, even of emotion; Balance of composition; and Simplicity in order to provide clarity of meaning and exposition.

Platonism is the belief that concepts, forms, ideas, or ideals represent absolute truth and should be the subject of artistic and philosophical endeavors. For example, the concept of roundness, or beauty, or terror or emotions in the imperfect world of real objects.

Neoplatonism is similar to Platonism except that the concepts, forms, or ideas are given supernatural attributes as being divinely inspired or in some way relating humanity to the heavenly.

Aristotelian means an emphasis on the world as it is and a conception of ideas as being the products of the observation of the physical world.