HIST2F90: Money & Power in the Atlantic World

The Course at a Glance

Welcome to HIST 2F90:

Money and Power in the Atlantic World!

This page is intended for students of HIST 2F90, and anyone else who'd like to learn about the course themes. If you've stumbled upon it by accident, HIST 2F90 is a credit course for students at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. Ontario university students from other campuses are also welcome to take the course for credit through the eCampus Ontario course offerings. Some of the course content is password-protected, but much is available on the open web.

To learn more about this course, please watch this video.

Below you will find an overview of the course schedule and progression of themes for the 2020-21 academic year at Brock University.

Historians ask questions about the past, and our big question for the course is: 

For the period between about 1500 and 1850, what were the most significant factors in the rise of the liberal-capitalist West?

Historians do not agree on the answers to big questions like this one; in fact, there are many, many possible answers. Nonetheless, attempts to answer big questions like this one are at the very heart of what historians do. How might it be possible to answer such BIG questions? The most straightforward way to make answers to big questions manageable is to use the detailed examination of particular sources and evidence to answer more particular questions related to the BIG one. The course will help you arrive at your own answer(s) to particular as well as big questions. In fact, the final exam in the course will require you propose your own answer(s), and from week to week the course lessons will help you prepare to formulate a strong answer of your own. Along the way, you will learn a great deal about the history of the Atlantic World before 1850, and you will also practice the foundational skills that all historians use to make sense of evidence from the past. We look forward to your answers!

The open, up-to-date parts of this e-textbook have live links below. Some parts of the e-textbook require some updating and will be made available in up-to-date form as soon as possible. All parts of the e-textbook are also available in the drop-down index (in top left of your computer screen) -- but you should note that not all of these are up-to-date.


NOTE: Unless we announce otherwise, all Lessons and their accompanying Forum discussions will start on Wednesdays at noon, and they will close the following Tuesday evening. If you wish to do well in the course, you should budget your time so that you finish each week's Forum posts well before the Tuesday evening closing time -- with occasional exceptions allowed (we realize life can be complicated)!

Term 1

Week 1, Starting Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020: Introduction to the Course

Module 1. The Pre-Modern West

Week 2, starting Sept. 16: Rulers and Subjects (1): Traditional Authority
Week 3, starting Sept. 23: Rulers and Subjects (2): Christian Europe Divided
Week 4, starting Sept. 30: Agricultural Revolutions
Week 5, starting Oct. 7: How to Read Early Modern Books: The Pandemic Edition*

Module 2. Colonial Expansion

Week 6, starting Oct. 21: Europe's Empires Expand
Week 7, starting Oct. 28: Early Modern Africa
Week 8, starting Nov. 4: The Slave Trade
Week 9, starting Nov. 11: The Columbian Exchange
Week 10, starting Nov. 18: Missionaries

Module 3. Conflicting Worlds

Week 11, starting Nov. 25: Indigenous North American Cultures
Week 12, starting Dec 2: Colonial Societies
  • For your Term 1 assignment, you have choice of two (2) of three options, each with separate instructions and deadlines. See the Assignments Overview page for more details. Here are the options:
    • The Wikipedia Assignment option is due on Friday, Oct. 9 by 5 pm.
    • The Map Assignment option is due on Friday, Nov. 6 by 5 pm.
    • The Comparative Book Chapters Assignment option is due on Friday, Nov. 27 by 5 pm.
  • There are two Module Quizzes in Term 1. You must complete both in the time provided. Once you open a quiz you will have an hour to complete it. You may write each quiz multiple times within the period provided. The highest score (each out of 2.5 points) will count.
    • The Module 1 Quiz will be open from Wednesday, Oct. 21 at noon until Saturday, Oct. 24 at 5 am (!).
    • The Module 2 Quiz will be open from Wednesday, Nov. 25 at noon until Saturday, Nov. 28 at 5 am (!).
  • * READING WEEK starts on Monday, Oct. 12 (Thanksgiving).
  • There is no December exam in this course.
  • The first week of regular classes in Term 2 starts on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Our regular lesson-cycle will ALSO begin again on Monday, January 11th. 

Term 2

Module 3. Conflicting Worlds (continued)

Week 13, starting Jan 11: Settler Societies and Commercial Expansion
Week 14, starting Jan. 18: The Seven Years War
Week 15, starting Jan. 25: Settler-Indigenous Treaties
Week 16, starting Feb 1: The Practice of Slavery

Module 4. Revolutions

Week 17, starting Feb. 8: The American Revolution

Feb 15  - - Reading week

Week 18, starting Feb. 22: The French Revolution
Week 19, starting March 1: The Haitian Revolution

Module 5. The Early Liberal Era

Week 20, starting Mar. 8: Paper preparation - no forums
Week 21, starting Mar. 15: Paper preparation - no forums
Week 22, starting Mar. 22: Abolition
Week 23, starting Mar. 29: Work and Freedom
Week 24, starting April 5: Review


  • *** The last day to withdraw from D1 courses without academic penalty is Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. ***
  • There are two Module Quizzes in Term 2. You must complete both.
    • The Module 3 Quiz will be open from Saturday, February 6, at noon until Saturday, Feb. 13, at noon.
    • The Module 4 Quiz will be open from Saturday, March 6, at noon until Saturday, Mar. 13 at noon.
  • ** READING WEEK starts on Monday, Feb. 15.
  • You have a major assignment this term. You have a choice of two assignments. Visit the assignments page here.
  • Your major assignment is due at the end of the day, 19 March 2019.
  • The last official day of classes for Term 2 is April 9, 2021.
  • The period during which the Final "Take-Home" Exam will be open for you to complete will be scheduled by the Registrar's Office. We will announce these dates in Term 2 as soon as we learn them.

Your next step is to read the course syllabus carefully.

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