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.

We have offered this course online for at least the last 6 years! Below you will find an overview of the course schedule and progression of themes for the 2021-22 academic year at Brock University.

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

For the period between about 1400 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 break down bigger questions into related but smaller questions, and then to examine particular sources and evidence to answer these smaller questions. 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 to 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 Mondays at 8 am, and they will close at the end of the day on the Friday of that week. 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 Friday evening closing time -- with occasional exceptions allowed (we realize life can be complicated)!

Also note: You will only have to buy 1 book for this course. You can buy it online or in print format. Your choice. It is not expensive. Details are available in the syllabus. All other readings for the course are provided through links in the course lessons.

Term 1

Week 1, Starting Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2020: Introduction to the Course (NOTE: a shorter-than-usual "week", although the Forum for the week will remain open for a part of Week 2)

In addition to Reading this page of the e-textbook, also make sure that you read the Course Syllabus and Course Introduction before you introduce yourself in the First Forum in Sakai.

Module 1. The Pre-Modern West

Week 2, Sept. 13-17: Rulers and Subjects (1): Traditional Authority
Week 3, Sept. 20-24: Rulers and Subjects (2): Christian Europe Divided
Week 4, Sept. 27-Oct. 1: Agricultural Revolutions
Week 5, Oct. 4-8: How to Read Early Modern Books: The Pandemic Edition* (the first quiz starts at the end of this week)

Oct. 11-15  - - Reading Week

Module 2. Colonial Expansion

Week 6, Oct. 18-22: Europe's Empires Expand (the first assignment is due at the beginning of this week)
Week 7, Oct. 25-29: Early Modern Africa
Week 8, Nov. 1-5: The Slave Trade
Week 9, Nov. 8-12: The Columbian Exchange
Week 10, Nov. 15-19: Missionaries (the second quiz starts at the end of this week)

Module 3. Conflicting Worlds

Week 11, Nov. 22-26: Indigenous North American Cultures
Week 12, Nov. 29-Dec. 3: Colonial Societies (the second assignment is due soon after the end of this week)
TERM 1 NOTES (subject to updates for 2021 -- i.e., the dates here are NOT accurate for 2021)
  • For the Term 1, you will do two assignments, each with separate instructions and deadlines. Here are the basics:
    • Assignment 1 deadline: Monday, Oct. 18 by 5 pm.
    • Assignment 2 deadline: Friday, Dec. 10 by 5 pm.
    • See the Term 1 Assignments Page for more details (DETAILS AVAILABLE SOON***).
  • There are also 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 Friday, Oct. 8 at noon until Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 5 pm.
    • The Module 2 Quiz will be open from Friday, Nov. 19 at noon until Monday, Nov. 22 at 5 pm.
  • READING WEEK starts on Monday, Oct. 11 (Thanksgiving).
  • There is no December exam in this course.
  • The first week of regular classes in Term 2 starts on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. Our regular lesson-cycle will ALSO begin again on Monday, January 10th. 

Term 2

Module 3. Conflicting Worlds (continued)

Week 13, starting Monday, Jan. 10: Settler Societies and Commercial Expansion
Week 14, starting Jan. 17: The Seven Years War
Week 15, starting Jan. 24: Settler-Indigenous Treaties
Week 16, starting Jan. 31: The Practice of Slavery (the third quiz starts at the end of this week)

Module 4. Revolutions

Week 17, starting Feb. 7: The American Revolution
Week 18, starting Feb. 14: The French Revolution

Feb. 21  - - Reading week starts

Week 19, starting Feb. 28: The Haitian Revolution (the fourth and final quiz starts at the end of this week)

Module 5. The Early Liberal Era

Week 20, starting Mar. 7: Paper preparation - no forums
Week 21, starting Mar. 14: Paper preparation - no forums
Week 22, starting Mar. 21: Abolition
Week 23, starting Mar. 28: Work and Freedom


  • *** The last day to withdraw from D1 courses without academic penalty is Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. ***
  • There are two Module Quizzes in Term 2. You must complete both.
  • ** READING WEEK starts on Monday, Feb. 21.
  • You have two assignments second term: a shorter one, due February 7th
  • Your major (final) assignment is due at the end of the day,  21 March 2022
  • The last official day of classes for Term 2 is April 8, 2022
  • 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. You will have several days to complete the exam.

Your next step is to read the course syllabus carefully.

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