The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries witnessed a varied and exciting series of developments in Europe which would all, in their different ways, help shape the world in which we now live.
The great majority of Europeans were ruled by monarchs throughout this period, yet in two of the most powerful states, Britain and France, subjects rose up against their kings, executed them, and introduced, for a time at least, systems of republican government. The course examines the new ideas which challenged the existing order and the arguments of those who defended it, including the contrasting theories of limited and absolute monarchy.
The contribution of great thinkers such as Hobbes, Locke, Burke, Hume and Rousseau is assessed, and related to developments in political relations within and between the European states.
The scope of this unit, then, is considerable, but students will be able to explore in some depth the particular themes and individuals that especially interest them in their individual tutorials, and also in the directed research they will do under the tutor’s guidance in their private study time. By the end of the course they will produce al least two papers, of approximately 2,000 words each, on questions of their choice to be agreed with their tutor.