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POLSC323: European Politics

Unit 1: Europe: History and Content   In this unit, we will begin to discuss the idea of Europe. The idea of Europe has a beginning as much as it has an end.  In this unit, we will look at key historical epochs in European history in order to better understand the development of the European identity.  In a course of this nature, we can begin at almost any point in Europe’s past depending on what we hope to get at.  Even as we learn history for the analogies that help us better understand the present, we must be mindful that, at best, we can only reach an approximation of the times that existed.  For Europe, we are lucky to have several good points in history that will offer us a better understanding of the nature of the European experience and the foundations of the European Union.  The history of Europe plays a very important role in what it means to be a European.  You will discover that experience and time have created the unique set of variables that define modern Europe. 
           
To start, we will explore the geography of the European continent in order to better understand the lay of the land that has played such an important role in European development.  From there, we will begin our exploration of European history with the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 that ended the Thirty Years War and the lesser known Eighty Years War.  This important demarcation point marks the effective end of the Holy Roman Empire on the European continent and the birth of the modern nation-state.  The 18th Century was a period of consolidation and definition of the nation-state as actors within Europe took part in Balance of Power games in what has been termed the Stately Quadrille.  However, by the end of the French Revolution (1789-1799) and the beginning of the Concert of Europe (1815), we see Balance of Power games as maneuvers for power and also as diplomatic means to preserve the peace.  This 19th Century European system, although in decline from roughly 1850 onward, would eventually meet its complete collapse with the advent of World I and emerge from the interwar period and World War II fundamentally altered.  At this stage, Europe seemingly looked back upon its history of violence and empire, destruction and power, and developed a will for a new way of doing business.  It was through this long experience of war and trial that Europe arrived at the Cold War and the beginning of the modern European system.  However, this new Europe had divided loyalties between the Soviet Union in the east and the offshore balancer, the United States.  Finally, with the end of the Cold War and the growing closeness of European cooperation, we find that deeper questions concerning European integration and the role of the nation-state need to be answered.  These questions ultimately focus on the challenge of shifting the fundamental loyalty of Europeans away from their nation states towards an emphasis on loyalty to Europe as an integral community. 

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 11.75 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 4.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3: 4.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.4: 1.25 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Identify the epoch making events that created Europe as a community of nations before the twentieth century.
  • Summarize the impact of each of these major events on the development of Europe.
  • Discuss the impact of the First and Second World Wars on contemporary European political development.
  • Assess the legacy of the Cold War on Europe’s political evolution.
  • Analyze the end of the Cold War and its legacy for efforts to promote further European integration. 

1.1 Introduction: The Importance of Geography   - Reading: Harper College: Professor Mark Healy’s "Europe: Physical Geography" The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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  • Reading: The National Research Council’s “The Geography of Europe (1918)” Link: The National Research Council’s “The Geography of Europe (1918)” (HTML, PDF, EPub, or Kindle)
     
    Instructions: On the left side of the website in the “View Book” box, click on the hyperlink for your preferred method of accessing the text (i.e. read online, PDF, etc.).   Please read this booklet survey of Europe at the end of World War I from pages 11 through 34.  It is descriptive of the climate and geography of Europe.  (Much of the material consists of problem questions for homework, which you do not need to do.)
     
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1.2 The Development of the European State System   1.2.1 The Peace of Westphalia of 1648   - Reading: Institute for International Law and Justice: “The Peace of Westphalia as a Secular Constitution” Link: Institute for International Law and Justice: “The Peace of Westphalia as a Secular Constitution” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Click on the above link.  Scroll down the webpage about ¾ of the way to the link titled “2008 “The Peace of Westphalia as a Secular Constitution,” Constellations 15, no. 2 (2008), pp. 173-188.”  Click on the link, and read the article.  The article summarizes the political significance of the Peace of Westphalia ending the “Thirty Years War” for the development of the modern Europe state.  It established in European law the principle of the separation of the public sphere from the private sphere in the governance of community affairs.  It also formally acknowledged the end of Papal authority over secular state rulers and laid the legal foundation for the principle of the ultimate authority of state authorities over the people and affairs of their respective territories.
 
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  • Lecture: Yale University: John Merriman’s “Absolutism and the State” Link: Yale University: John Merriman’s “Absolutism and the State” (YouTube)
     
    Also available in:
    HTML, Adobe Flash, Quicktime, or Mp3
     
    Instructions: Please watch this entire video lecture (45 minutes). 
     
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1.2.2 The 18th Century European State System   - Reading: Mount Holyoke: Professor Robert Schwartz’s “Perspectives on International Relations in the 18th Century” Link: Mount Holyoke: Professor Robert Schwartz’s “Perspectives on International Relations in the 18th Century” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this brief webpage.  It will give you a broad overview of the political leaders and trends of the time.  The webpage starts with a reference to political attitudes of Europeans and Amerindians from the beginning of the modern period to the present along with the development of Europe and North America.
 
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  • Reading: H. Morse Stephen’s “Syllabus of a Course of Twelve Lectures on the Enlightened Despotism of the Eighteenth Century in Europe (1905)” Link: H. Morse Stephen’s “Syllabus of a Course of Twelve Lectures on the Enlightened Despotism of the Eighteenth Century in Europe (1905)” (HTML, PDF, EPub, or Kindle)
     
    Instructions: On the right side of the webpage under “Read,” click on the hyperlink “PDF” or “Reading Online” to access the text in the format you prefer (about 40 short pages of easy to read text).  Please read this short booklet, summarizing twelve lectures on 18th century Europe and the Age of Absolutism during the Enlightenment.
     
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  • Reading: EGO: Robert von Friedeburg’s “State Forms and State Systems in Modern Europe” Link: EGO: Robert von Friedeburg’s “State Forms and State Systems in Modern Europe” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Click on the above link.  Read the article on this website for a summary of the major international political developments in European regional relations in the eighteenth century, namely, the defeat of France in the Seven Years’ War and the rise of Prussia and Russia to create a system of 5 “great powers” dominating Europe (and the world) until World War I. 
     
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  • Lecture: Yale University: John Merriman’s "The Enlightenment and the Public Sphere" Link: Yale University: John Merriman’s "The Enlightenment and the Public Sphere" (YouTube)
     
    Also available in:
    HTML, Mp3, Adobe Flash, or Quicktime
     
    Instructions: Please watch this entire video lecture (48 minutes). 
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.2.3 The 19th Century European State System   - Reading: University of Helsinki: Martti Koskenniemi’s “The Legacy of the 19th Century” Link: University of Helsinki: Martti Koskenniemi’s “The Legacy of the 19th Century” (PDF)
    
Instructions: Click on the above link.  Scroll down (about half-way) to “Legacy of the 19th Century,” and click on the hyperlink to read the PDF file.  The article highlights the development of modern international law out of the international legal thinking of the 19th century in response to the development of the modern sovereign European state along with the expansion of European empires internationally.  The author claims that sovereignty as a concept originally did have a connotation of social responsibility as a binding obligation on the state which was subsequently superseded by a focus on nationalism.
 
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  • Lecture: Yale University: John Merriman’s “The Coming of the Great War” Link: Yale University: John Merriman’s “The Coming of the Great War” (YouTube)
     
    Also available in:
    HTML, Mp3, Adobe Flash, and Quicktime
    iTunes U
     
    Instructions: Please watch this entire video lecture(48 minutes).
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.  

1.3 A Divided Continent   1.3.1 Era of Global War: 1900-1945   - Reading: Scribd.com: John Baylis and Steve Smith, ed.’s The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations: Susan L. Carruthers’s “International History: 1900-45” Link: Scribd.com: John Baylis and Steve Smith, ed.’s The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations: Susan L. Carruthers’s “International History: 1900-45” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the above link.  Then, scroll down to p. 51 to read Susan L. Carruthers’s “International History: 1900-45.”  Please read this chapter in its entirety.
 
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1.3.2 The Cold War Years: 1945-1990   - Reading: Scribd.com: John Baylis and Steve Smith, ed.’s The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations: Len Scott’s “International History: 1945-90” and Richard Crockatt’s “The End of the Cold War” and Michael Cox’s “International History since 1989” Link: Scribd.com: John Baylis and Steve Smith, ed.’s The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations ”Len Scott’s “International History: 1945-90” and Richard Crockatt’s “The End of the Cold War and Michael Cox’s “International History since 1989” (HTML)

 Instructions: Click on the above link.  Then, scroll down to read
the following chapters: scroll down to p.74 to read Len Scott’s
“International History: 1945-90,” then scroll down to p. 92 to read
Richard Crockatt’s “The End of the Cold War,” and then scroll down
to p. 111 to read Michael Cox’s “International History since
1989.”  
    
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1.4 The End of the Nation State?   1.4.1 Closer Integration   - Reading: Mount Holyoke’s version of Immanuel Kant’s “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (1795)” Link: Mount Holyoke’s version of Immanuel Kant’s “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (1795)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this foundational essay on a strategy for European integration.
 
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1.4.2 The United States of Europe or Confederation?   - Reading: Business Insider: Cullen Roche’s “On the Likelihood of a United States of Europe” Link: Business Insider: Cullen Roche’s “On the Likelihood of a United States of Europe” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the brief article.

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1.4.3 The End of Sovereignty?   - Lecture: iTunes U: Stanford University: James Sheehan’s "The Future of Sovereignty: The European Model" Link: iTunes U: Stanford University: James Sheehan’s "The Future of Sovereignty: The European Model" (iTunes U)

 Instructions: Click on the above iTunes U link to Stanford
University professor James Sheehan's lecture entitled "The Future of
Sovereignty: The European Model," part of the course
entitled "History of the International System."  Listen to the
entire 47:28 lecture.  As you are listening, ask yourself (and
identify how Professor Sheehan answers) the following questions:  

 1) What makes Europe distinct, even unique, in international
relations?  
 2) Can the European model be replicated elsewhere, or is it *sui
generis* (self-generated)?  
 3) What are the defining characteristics of sovereignty, and how
might they be changing in Europe?  

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