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.

For the 2023 Fall Term, the course will be led by Trudy Tattersall, a long time member of the HIST 2F90 teaching team. You will meet her in the forums, and in later videos, but for now we leave this video by Professors Mike Driedger and Daniel Samson for you as an introduction to the course, as it provides the clearest insight into the course's background, purpose, and goals. Prof Samson will be leading the Winter Term, so you will meet him again in January.

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

We have offered this course online for at least the last 7 years! Below you will find an overview of the course schedule and progression of themes for the 2023-4 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 rarely on the answers to big questions like this one, and in fact, there are  many possible answers. Nevertheless, 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. This course will help you arrive at your own answer(s) to particular as well as big questions. Along the way, you will learn a great deal about the history of the Atlantic World before 1850, as you practice the foundational skills that all historians use to make sense of evidence from the past.

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. 6, 2023: Introduction to the Course (NOTE: a shorter-than-usual "week", although the Forum for the week will remain open until the end 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 Brightspace.

Module 1. The Pre-Modern West

Week 2, Sept. 11-15: Rulers and Subjects (1): Traditional Authority
Week 3, Sept. 18-22: Rulers and Subjects (2): Christian Europe Divided
Week 4, Sept. 25-29: Agricultural Revolutions
Week 5, Oct. 2-6: Entering the Archive: How to Read Early Modern Books and Manuscripts (the first quiz starts at the end of this week)

Oct. 9-13  - - Reading Week

Module 2. Colonial Expansion

Week 6, Oct. 16-20: Europe's Empires Expand 
Week 7, Oct. 23-27: Early Modern Africa
Week 8, Oct. 30-Nov. 3: The Slave Trade
Week 9, Nov. 6-10: The Columbian Exchange (the second quiz starts at the end of this week)

Module 3. Conflicting Worlds

Week 10, Nov. 13-17: Developing Distant Reading skills with Voyant Tools and Visual Reading skills with Early Modern Maps 
Week 11, Nov. 20-24: Indigenous North American Cultures
Week 12, Nov. 27-Dec. 1: Missionaries (the second assignment is due Monday, Dec. 4 by 5pm)
  • For the Term 1, you will do two assignments, each with separate instructions and deadlines. Here are the basics:
    • Assignment 1 deadline: Friday, November. 3 by 5 pm.
    • Assignment 2 deadline: Monday, Dec. 4 by 5 pm.
    • See the Term 1 Assignments Page for more details.
  • 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. 6 at noon until Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 5 pm.
    • The Module 2 Quiz will be open from Friday, Nov. 10 at noon until Monday, Nov. 13 at 5 pm.
  • READING WEEK starts on Monday, Oct. 9 (Thanksgiving).
  • There is no December exam in this course.
  • The first week of regular classes in Term 2 starts on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. Our regular lesson-cycle will ALSO begin again on Monday, January 8th. 

Term 2

Module 3. Conflicting Worlds (continued)

Week 13, starting Monday, Jan. 8: Settler Colonialism
Week 14, starting Jan. 15: Settler Societies and Commercial Expansion
Week 15, starting Jan. 22: The Seven Years War
Week 16, starting Jan. 29: Settler-Indigenous Treaties
Week 17, starting Feb. 5: The Practice of Slavery (the third quiz starts at the end of this week)

Module 4. Revolutions

Week 18, starting Feb. 12: The American Revolution

Feb. 19  - - Reading week starts

Week 19, starting Feb. 26: The French Revolution
Week 20, starting Mar. 5: The Haitian Revolution (the fourth and final quiz starts at the end of this week)

Module 5. The Early Liberal Era

Week 21, starting Mar. 12: Abolition
Week 22, starting Mar. 19: Work and Freedom
Week 23, starting Mar. 26: Paper preparation - no forums


  • *** The last day to withdraw from D1 courses without academic penalty is Friday, Jan. 19, 2022. ***
  • There are two Module Quizzes in Term 2. You must complete both.
  • ** READING WEEK starts on Monday, Feb. 19.
  • You have two assignments second term: a shorter one, due February 16th
  • Your major (final) assignment is due at the end of the day, 5 April 2024
  • The last official day of classes for Term 2 is 5 April 2024

Your next step is to read the course syllabus carefully.

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