Course introduction

Learning Objectives

In this class we will be 1) exploring the world of revolutionary England and 2) learning how to think creatively and carefully about the past.  I will also try to convey to you why it is fun, useful, and even necessary to do both of these things.  This basic agenda translates into the four basic learning objectives for this course:

A) understanding the nature, causes, and consequences of the three most transformative events in English history (the Reformation, the English Civil Wars, and the Glorious Revolution) and their relationship to basic aspects of human life in the modern Western world;
B) becoming able to effectively and imaginatively examine both historical artifacts and modern works of historical scholarship in order to create knowledge about the past;
C) appreciating and cultivating the two basic habits of mind that characterize historical thinking: intellectual empathy and the structural and causal analysis of social change; and
D) presenting the fruits of this knowledge creation in prose writing that features both vivid description and compelling argumentation.

These learning objectives also further a series of more general student learning outcomes, including: 1) critical/analytical reading of primary and secondary sources; 2) crafting historical narrative and argument in written and oral form; 3) engaging in historical inquiry, research, and analysis; and 4) practicing historical empathy.

Organization, Expectations, & Assessment

The lectures, discussion sessions, assignments and assessment scheme for this course were carefully devised with the above learning objectives in mind. The assessment scheme for this course is meant to reward you for gradual progress in an honest, active effort to acquire the tools of a historian and think hard about revolutionary England (both in class and outside of class—regular attendance is important).

Every assignment must be completed in order to receive a grade for this course.  I urge you to submit assignments on time.  Not doing so will make it more difficult for you to benefit from the cumulative process of acquiring the tools of historical thinking that lies at the center of this course.  In fairness to your peers, I will also be forced to reduce the grade for late assignments by 10% per day.  Assignment deadlines may be extended in special circumstances, at my discretion.

Grading Breakdown

Blog Posts (20%) [Must be submitted before class for credit]
Active, Consistent, Vocal Participation (10%)
Take-Home Midterm Exams (40%)
Take-Home Final Exam (30%)

93%-100% A 90%-92% A- 88%-89% B+ 83%-87% B 80%-82% B- 78%-79% C+ 73%-77% C 70%-72% C- 68%-69% D+ 63%-67% D 60%-63% D- >60% F

All exams must be submitted by 5:00am on the due date. Exams must be e-mailed to me as a Microsoft Word file (.doc or .docx) attachment with the appropriate file name and subject line (see my directions for individual assignments).  If you have any problems sending or posting your assignments, please contact me immediately.  Verify that you are familiar with how to send exams well in advance of the due date.


Plagiarism is a serious academic offense and more importantly, an abandonment of your intellectual development.  In general, plagiarism refers to using the writing and thoughts of another author and representing them as one’s own.  In the context of historical writing, we typically avoid this by citing the sources for the content of our own writing (even the general inspirations for it), whenever that content is not our own ideas or general knowledge (e.g., the fact that Charles I was king of England in 1628), and making direct quotations obvious.  Originality consists not in pure self-reliance, but in how you make use of and combine primary sources and the work of other scholars, not to mention discussion and me and with peers in and out of class sessions.  Collusion is a related breach of academic integrity that could occur in this course.  Obviously I encourage discussions outside of class about revolutionary England and its empire.  I also understand that these discussions might overlap with the content of assignments.  But collaboration between students on an exercise or an exam may result in very similar exercise and exam answers.  This makes it unclear who is appropriating whose thoughts and writing, and who deserves and does not deserve credit for the thoughts and writing in each assignment.  In such cases all individuals involved may be culpable.  The sure way to avoid this situation is by refraining from any discussion of the specific details of exercises or exams with other students until after you have submitted your assignment to me.  Further Information on plagiarism and academic integrity in general

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Lehigh University is committed to maintaining an equitable and inclusive community and welcomes students with disabilities into all of the University’s educational programs.  In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, a student with a disability must contact Disability Support Services (DSS), provide documentation, and participate in an interactive review process.  If the documentation supports a request for reasonable accommodations, DSS will provide students with a Letter of Accommodations. Students who are approved for accommodations at Lehigh should share this letter and discuss their accommodations and learning needs with instructors as early in the semester as possible.  For more information or to request services, please contact Disability Support Services in person in Williams Hall, Suite 301, via phone at 610-758-4152, via email at, or online at

Lehigh University endorses The Principles of Our Equitable Community. We expect each member of this class to acknowledge and practice these Principles. Respect for each other and for differing viewpoints is a vital component of the learning environment inside and outside the classroom.

The contents of this syllabus are subject to change.  I will notify you of any changes made any time after our first class session via e-mail.

Required Survey Text

Robert Bucholz and Newton Key, Early Modern England 1485-1714: A Narrative History, 2nd edition (Malden, MA and Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).  (ISBN: 1405162759) (used and new copies available at campus bookstore and online) (denoted “EME” in reading schedule)


Schedule of class meetings, reading, and writing

All readings aside from the survey text are available for download on the course website.  Again, written exercises are to be completed and e-mailed to me in the format specified above by 5:00 am on the day indicated.

Part 1: background

  • Introduction (26 August)
  • Christianity (28 August): EME 1-31 (Intro) (Powerpoint)
  • Christendom (2 September): EME 32-54 (Ch. 1, part) (Powerpoint)

Part 2: The Reformation

Part 3: The Civil War and Revolution

Part 4: The Glorious Revolution(?)

19 December: FINAL EXAM DUE