Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies

World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 1 of 152
The Teacher Notes were developed to help teachers understand the depth and breadth of the standards. In some cases,
information provided in this document goes beyond the scope of the standards and can be used for background and enrichment
information. Please remember that the goal of social studies is not to have students memorize laundry lists of facts, but rather to
help them understand the world around them so they can analyze issues, solve problems, think critically, and become informed
citizens. Children’s Literature: A list of book titles aligned to the 6th
-12th Grade Social Studies GSE may be found at the
Georgia Council for the Social Studies website:
SSWH1 Analyze the origins, structures, and interactions of societies in the ancient world
from 3500 BCE/BC to 500 BCE/BC.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain how and why humans made the transition from small
Neolithic villages to the first large scale complex societies located in Mesopotamia, Egypt, South Asia,
China, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Mexico. Emphasis should be placed on how the climate and geography
shaped the government, economy (including trade and agriculture), and cultural features (including
religion, social class, language and the arts). Students should be able to note similarities and differences
in the development and characteristics of each civilization. Further, students are expected to explain how
these societies changed over time as a result of interactions with neighboring civilizations.
Visit this National Geographic website for an article by Charles Mann which rethinks why humans made
the transition from Neolithic villages to civilizations.
SSWH1 Analyze the origins, structures, and interactions of societies in the ancient world
from 3500 BCE/BC to 500 BCE/BC.
a. Compare and contrast Mesopotamian and Egyptian societies, include: religion, culture,
economics, politics, and technology.
Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations developed in substantially different environments. While both
civilizations developed in fertile river valleys rich with silt from the annual flooding of the Nile in Egypt
and the Tigris and Euphrates in Mesopotamia, the flood patterns and geography of the surrounding area
were quite different. These differences led to the development of starkly different outlooks on religion
and political histories.
Farming villages emerged in both regions between 7,000 and 5,000 years ago. Over time these societies
improved agricultural technologies like irrigation canals, leading to population growth and the
development of the first urban centers like those in Ur and Uruk in Mesopotamia and the kingdoms of
Upper and Lower Egypt.
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 2 of 152
Mesopotamia developed in the fertile
arch (known as the Fertile Crescent)
along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers
that runs from the Persian Gulf in the
south to the Mediterranean Sea in the
north. This desert region is prone to
irradiate flooding and lacks natural
boundaries, making it susceptible to
frequent invasions. Egypt on the other
hand developed in the narrow fertile
ribbon on the banks of the Nile River.
The Nile floods with remarkable
regularity from July to October of each
year. Each time depositing rich silt that
was ideal for agriculture, this regularity
was known as the Gift of the Nile
which led to remarkable stability in
Egyptian society. Another factor that
contributed to this stability included
natural boundaries that made invasions
unusual. To the north and east large
bodies of water protected Egypt and to
the south and west vast deserts.
These environmental differences led to starkly different outlooks of religion. Both the Egyptians and
Mesopotamians were polytheistic with Gods that represented elements of nature, but because the natural
world of each civilization was so different, attitudes toward these Gods were quite different. In general
the Gods of Mesopotamia were viewed as unpredictable and often elicited the fear of the population
which tried to win their approval with sacrifices and the construction of elaborate temples called
Ziggurats. Egyptian religion on the other hand, presented Gods that could be depended on to provide
bounty and prosperity. This difference was also reflected in each civilization’s view of the afterlife.
Mesopotamians believed that the afterlife was a fearful and gloomy place while Egyptians believed that
good deeds in life were rewarded with an afterlife rich in the same pleasures they enjoyed while alive.
These Egyptian views on death and the afterlife led to elaborate burial practices that included the
construction of tombs and mummification.
Environmental difference also led to remarkably different political histories with Mesopotamia marked by
frequent change and Egypt experiencing substantial continuity. The first phase of Mesopotamia’s
political history, known as Sumer, was dominated by several independent and often warring city-states,
each with its own hereditary monarch. Each city-state had a walled urban area made up of simple mudbrick dwellings and a ceremonial and administrative center dominated by a Ziggurat. Outside of the city
walls, each city-state controlled the large areas of surrounding farmland land. Around 4,000 years ago the
King of Akkad, Sargon, conquered this region creating the world’s first empire. This empire was
Fertile Regions of Egypt and Mesopotamia
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 3 of 152
relatively short lived as several waves of invasions and insurrection shifted political power to other
groups. One of these groups, the Babylonians brought important political innovation when they unified
the region in the 18th century BCE. The Babylonian King Hammurabi introduced the World’s first
written law code which limited the arbitrary justice of earlier kings. The Old Babylonian Empire as it is
known by historians also witnessed a flowering in mathematics and literature. However, like the
Mesopotamian empires that came before, Babylonians succumb to invasion leading to a series of warring
empires. These empires included the Hittites, an Indo-European speaking people who arrived in the
region about 2000 BCE bringing iron technology, the Assyrians who rose in power around 1900 BCE,
and the Persians who began to build a long-lived empire around 550 BCE.
Egypt, protected by vast desert and seas, saw far fewer invasions and as a result had a remarkably stable
political history for over 2,000 years. This history began about 3,000 BCE with the unification of Upper
and Lower Egypt into a single kingdom ruled by a divine hereditary monarch known as the Pharaoh. The
Pharaohs were aided by an elaborate bureaucracy that included priests, administrators and scribes. This
government was able to undertake elaborate public works projects like the construction of Pyramids that
served as tombs for the Pharaoh. Historians divide Egyptian History into the Old Kingdom (c. 2649 to
2150 BCE), the First Intermediate Period, Middle Kingdom (c. 2030-1640 BCE), the Second Intermediate
Period, and the New Kingdom (c. 1550-1070). The intermediate periods mark the only major times
instability in Egypt before 1070 BCE. During the Second Intermediate Period, Egypt experienced its first
major invasion from the Hyksos of Mesopotamia who introduced the region to the horse, chariot and
compound bow. After 1070, the political histories of Egypt and Mesopotamia intersected as they both
experienced invasions from groups like the Hittites (who introduced Iron to the region), Assyrians and
Fertile river valleys combined with technological advances like irrigation canals and plows allowed both
Mesopotamia and Egypt to produce surplus food. With an agricultural surplus, both empires developed
specialization of labor which in turn led to the development of social classes. Both societies had the same
basic social hierarchy with the royal family at the top followed by priests, government officials,
landowners, soldiers, and scribes constituting a ruling class followed by merchants and artisans in the
middle and peasant farmers at the bottom. Mesopotamia tended to rely more heavily on slaves but Egypt
developed a slave class made up mostly of foreigners later in its history. This specialization of labor
allowed both societies to make notable cultural and technological advances. Both Mesopotamia and
Egypt developed complex systems of writing, cuneiform and hieroglyphics respectively. Both also
developed advanced literary, artistic and architectural traditions including The Epic of Gilgamesh from
Visit this global virtual museum of Egyptian artifacts.
Read the article below for an excellent summary of Mesopotamian history.
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 4 of 152
SSWH1 Analyze the origins, structures, and interactions of societies in the ancient world
from 3500 BCE/BC to 500 BCE/BC.
b. Describe the societies of India and China, include: religion, culture, economics, politics, and technology.
Farming villages first appeared in South Asia about 3200 BCE in the fertile plain between the Indus and
Ganges rivers. This region’s climate is dominated by monsoon rains and a wall of mountains to the north
and west partially isolate its people. Urban centers appeared about 2500 BCE with Mohenjo-Daro and
Harappa being the most significant.
Panoramic view of the stupa mound and great bath in Mohenjo-Daro, by Saqib Qayyum 8 March 2014
Little is known about these early civilizations because historians are unable to read the written language
of the region but urban planning in Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa indicate the presence of a strong central
government. The cities were elevated and surrounded by earthen walls and levees to protect them from
flooding. Inside the walls, the streets were laid out on a grid system. Homes were constructed of baked
brick, each with its own bathroom served by a city-wide sewer and plumbing system. Each city had a
fortified citadel in the center which likely served as the political and religious center. Archaeologist have
found a large number of children’s toys and few weapons, indicating that these societies were generally
peaceful. The economy was dependent on agriculture with evidence of trade with the Middle East and
Central Asia.
Urban decay, possibly brought on by earthquakes and soil exhaustion set in around 1750 BCE. A new
group of people, the Indo-European Aryans, migrated into the region in about 1500 BCE. This group
eventually established the Magadha Kingdom which controlled a portion of northeast India by the second
century BCE.
The farming villages between the Huang He and Yangtze Rivers of China grew into cities about 2000
BCE. These urban areas both benefited from and suffered because of the rich but loose yellow silt called
loess deposited by the flooding of Yangtze. While the soil supported agriculture its loose nature made
major shifts in the course of the river and massive floods common. These struggles are recorded in
Chinese legend as the Xia Dynasty whose Emperor Yu is said to have brought flood control and irrigation
to China.
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
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The first documented dynasty of China was the Shang which was founded about 1700 BCE. This dynasty
started a long tradition of governance in China that included a hereditary monarch supported by a
complex bureaucracy.
Like other early civilizations, during the Shang period urban centers were walled and surrounded by large
agricultural areas. While the economy was dominated by agriculture, craft production and trade were also
present. China developed a writing system, complex urban planning, irrigation and flood control in this
This period also saw the emergence of foundational and interconnected Chinese religious principles.
These include concept of Yin and Yang which offered an early and enduring understanding of the
universe as balanced between male and female forces. Daoism, founded by Lao Tsu, asked humanity to
respect and live in harmony with nature and ancestor worship venerated deceased family members in the
hope that they would intercede with the powers in Heaven on behalf of the living.
Visit this site for a primary source reading on the concept of Yin and Yang.
Visit this website to read a speech by Mao Sewei, Consul General of China, discussing China and India,
related yet different civilizations.
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
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SSWH1 Analyze the origins, structures, and interactions of societies in the ancient world
from 3500 BCE/BC to 500 BCE/BC.
c. Explain the development of monotheism, include: the concepts developed by the ancient
While aspects of monotheism emerged in a variety of places and times including in Egypt under the
Pharaoh Amenhotep IV in the mid-1300s BCE
and in Persia after growth of Zoroastrianism in
the 600s BCE, monotheism reached its most
complete and enduring form among the Hebrews
starting around 1250 BCE.
These beliefs, recorded in the Hebrew Bible,
begin with the Hebrew people (led by Moses)
entering into a covenant with God in which God
promises to protect His chosen people in
exchange for their exclusive obedience to Him.
The basic tenants and Judaism, including
monotheism, were established in this period as
the Ten Commandments.
The Hebrew people established a kingdom on the
eastern Mediterranean in about 1020 BCE which
split into two kingdoms in 920 BCE. The
concept of monotheism became more formalized
during this period and was spread to other areas
by the Jewish diaspora that began with the
conquest of the northern Kingdom of Israel by
the Assyrians in 721 BCE and the deportation of
many Jewish leaders to Babylonia in 587 BCE.
While in Babylonia, the institution of the
Synagogue was established and in about 450
BCE Judaism as a monotheistic faith was fully developed with the completion of the Hebrew Bible.
Visit this Utah State University website for information on the development of monotheism in Egypt.
Hebrew Kingdoms
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
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SSWH1 Analyze the origins, structures, and interactions of societies in the ancient world
from 3500 BCE/BC to 500 BCE/BC.
d. Identify the Bantu migration patterns and contribution to settled agriculture.
Agricultural villages became common in West Africa below the Sahara desert about 4,000 years ago.
Sometime after, these villages developed iron technology which they used to produce tools of agriculture.
Extensive linguistic evidence suggests that West Africans from around the modern border between
Nigeria and Cameroon began to use this technology to clear forest to the southeast for farming. This led
to a slow migration of these Bantu speaking people to the southeast and south from about 500 BCE to 600
CE. This migration brought agriculture, iron technology, and a new language to a region previously
dominated by hunter gathers. Anthropologist believe that this migration laid the foundation for a
common cultural heritage present in much of West, Central, East and South Africa.
Read more about the Bantu expansion in the following article.
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
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SSWH1 Analyze the origins, structures, and interactions of societies in the ancient world
from 3500 BCE/BC to 500 BCE/BC.
e. Explain the rise of the Olmecs.
Civilizations also developed in the Americas in this period. Geographic isolation made them more
unique but they followed many of the same patterns of civilizations in Afro-Eurasia.
Agricultural villages based on the cultivation of corn, beans, and squash emerged about 3500 BCE.
These villages grew into a variety of urban centers around 1200 BCE, the most influential of which was
the Olmec culture found in the modern Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco.

Political authority and social stratification developed in these urban areas as a result of agricultural
surplus and the need to mobilize large numbers of people to construct irrigation systems, ceremonial
buildings and to drain land for farming.
Sophisticated urban planning based on the movement of the stars, the creation of monumental artwork
including several giant Olmec head statues, and the
construction of monumental architecture indicate a
strong central government able to mobilize the labor
of the population over time. Each Olmec city was
likely independently ruled by a hereditary monarch
who maintained power by presenting himself as an
intermediary to the gods. These rulers, assisted by a
class of priests, performed awe inspiring rituals on
large platforms in the center of each city that
included bloodletting and human sacrifice. These
rituals served to reinforce the power of the state and
laid the cultural foundations for the civilization that
The Olmec economy like other ancient civilizations
was dominated by agriculture but sophisticated trade
networks and craft production also existed.
Visit the British Museum website for more information about the Olmec culture.
Olmec Head Statue
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
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SSWH2 Identify the major achievements of Chinese and Indian societies to 500 CE/AD.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain the development of the Classical Age societies of China
and India with a special attention to the religious, philosophical, and political developments that left an
enduring legacy. Focus should be placed on the changes and continuities each region experienced in the
transition from small regional kingdoms to large multi-ethnic empires. Further, students are expected to
explain how trade routes connected these empires to the outside world which fostered cultural, economic
and technological development.
SSWH2 Identify the major achievements of Chinese and Indian societies to 500 CE/AD.
a. Describe the development of Indian civilization, include: the rise and fall of the Maurya
and Gupta Empires.
The Maurya (324 BCE to 184 BCE) were the first empire to unify large areas of India. There is some
evidence that the founding emperor Chandragupta Maurya may have been inspired by Alexander the
Great whose death left a political vacuum in Northwest India that the Maurya filled. The empire was
ruled by a hereditary monarch aided by an elaborate
bureaucracy made up of relatives and close associates
who governed ethnicity based regional provinces. The
central government was able to collect high taxes, issue
a standard currency and maintain control of mining.
This was facilitated by an extensive network of spies
that kept the central government aware of disloyalty.
Further, a powerful standing army that included
elephant, chariot, and cavalry divisions helped secure
this power.
While agriculture remained the primary economic
activity, an extensive network of roads and maritime
connections to Southeast Asia and the Middle East
foster both internal and international trade. India
profited from the export of cotton cloth, iron, and salt.
In 269 BCE the Emperor Ashoka came to power
ushering in a period of religious pluralism and
tolerance. As a young man, Ashoka engaged in
violent wars of conquest. Guilt associated with this
violence drove Ashoka to convert to Buddhism. As a
Buddhist emperor, he made it state policy to promote
Buddhism throughout his empire by erecting pillars
that promoted the teachings of the Buddha. This policy
was an important factor in ensuring the longevity of Buddhism as a major world religion.
Capital of inscribed Ashoka Pillar, Photo by AS Mysore,
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 10 of 152
The Maurya Empire fell in 184 BCE as a result of dynastic disputes and invasions by outside enemies.
Following a period of political disunity, the Gupta Empire came to power in 320 CE, ruling a portion of
North Central India. The founder, Chandra Gupta modeled his rule on that of the Maurya. While the
Gupta were able to collect high taxes, demand labor from subjects for state projects, and control metal
mining and salt production they were never able to maintain the level of central authority that the Maurya
enjoyed. Regional hereditary governors were only nominally under the control of the central government
forcing the emperor to rely on diplomacy to maintain the unity of the empire.
Hinduism enjoyed a resurgence during the Gupta period leading to the strengthening of the Caste System
and the intensification of patriarchy. The tradition of sati, widows throwing themselves on the funeral
pyre of their late husbands, became common. Internal and international trade continued to flourish and
major advances in mathematics were realized, including the development of the decimal system, Arabic
numerals (wrongly named because of their diffusion to Europe through the Middle East), and pi.
The Gupta Empire fell in the 500s CE largely as a result of nomadic invaders from the northwest.
Visit this Colorado State University site for an explanation and the primary source text of the Edicts of
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
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SSWH2 Identify the major achievements of Chinese and Indian societies to 500 CE/AD.
b. Describe the development of Chinese civilization under Zhou, Qin, and Han.
Fundamental elements of Chinese governance came with the second Dynasty, the Zhou (1027 to 221
BCE). These principles include the Mandate of Heaven which argues that the ruling dynasty has been
charged by Heaven to rule the people with benevolence (called the Dao) and Confucianism. While
Confucianism did not have a profound political impact until about 200 BCE the basic tenants of filial
piety, adherence to tradition, patriarchy and duty were established during the Zhou dynasty. The Zhou
were only able to maintain centralized authority until about 800 BCE, after that they relied on a system of
feudalism to administer the empire and by 480 BCE civil war thrust China into the Warring States Period.
This conflict lasted until the Shi Huangdi emerged victorious and established the Qin Dynasty.
During these years of conflict a new governing philosophy emerged in China called Legalism.
Proponents of Legalism argued that humans were innately self-serving and destructive therefore societal
order had to be maintained
with strict laws and harsh
punishments. Shi Huangdi,
prescribed to these beliefs and
built a highly centralized
bureaucracy around these
tenants. While the Qin
Dynasty was short-lived it is
given credit for unifying China
politically, economically, and
culturally. Under the Qin,
weights, measures, coinage,
laws, writing, and axle length
were all standardized. The
state directed the construction
of extensive roads and canals,
work on the Great Wall of
China began, and land reform
broke up the power of feudal lords. These reforms laid the foundations for the effective administration of
the vast empires of the dynasties that followed.
The extensive use of forced labor and excessive taxation quickly led to rebellion after the death of Shi
Huangdi in 210 BCE. Out of these rebellions, a peasant named Liu Bang emerged as the new emperor of
China and established the Han Dynasty. The Han Dynasty maintained many of the policies of the Qin but
tempered the severity of Legalism with the political use of Confucianism which required leaders to earn
the respect of the governed. This combination proved durable and long-lived.
The Han were able to maintain control of an empire even larger than the Qin. From their capital in
Chang’an, the Han directed a vast bureaucracy organized into nine ministries and regional authorities.
Terracotta Army that surrounds the tomb of Shi Huangdi
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
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This bureaucracy was staffed by educated civil servants who received their appointments based on their
score on a rigorous civil service examination. The state operated an effective tax collection system, a
postal service, built extensive roads, canals, and defensive walls, and protected the empire from the
constant threat of nomadic invaders from the north.
The security of the Han period led to a thriving economy that engaged in extensive internal and
international trade, profiting tremendously from the export of silk. Economic growth was also aided by
advancements in farm technology like the horse collar and better irrigation.
The Han Dynasty began to decline around 200 CE, contributing factors included: bureaucratic corruption
and infighting, food shortages, epidemic disease, banditry, and pressure from nomadic invaders along the
northern border.
Visit the website for more information on early China.
Visit this Asia for Educators site from Columbia University for notes on the Qin and Han Dynasties.
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
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SSWH2 Identify the major achievements of Chinese and Indian societies to 500 CE/AD.
c. Explain the development and impact of Hinduism and Buddhism on India, and
Confucianism on China.
Indo-European religious traditions, preserved in the the Vedas, blended with the indigenous traditions of
the Dravidian population to create a nascent form of Hinduism. These religious traditions began to
formalize around 750 to 550 BCE with the writing of the Upanishads. This faith centered on the basic
belief that all living things are reincarnated after death with the quality of the next life based on the deeds
(Karma) of the individual in the previous life. Humans are expected to live according to the Dharma and
good conduct is rewarded with an eventual release from the cycle of reincarnation called Moksha.
This faith, combined with the dominance of the Indo-European Aryans over the indigenous Dravidians
led to the creation of a rigid social class system called Caste or Varna. The population was divided into
five hereditary social classes based on ethnicity and occupation.
Hinduism fully developed during the Gupta
Dynasty (320 CE to 550 CE). During this
period the hereditary nature of the
occupational classes of the Caste System,
patriarchy, the belief in a pantheon of Gods,
a rich tradition of epic literature and the
construction of monumental Hindu
architecture became commonplace. These
traditions, established Gupta Dynasty,
endured for centuries among the population
of South Asia.
Hinduism’s dominance in the region was
challenged by the emergence of new faiths
including Jainism and Buddhism in around
500 BCE. While Buddhism had little
success in gaining adherents in South Asia it
did spread along trade routes and become a major faith in East and Southeast Asia. Buddhism was
founded by a Hindu prince named Siddhartha Gautama who rejected the caste system and the pantheon of
Hindu Gods and taught instead that spiritual enlightenment (Nirvana) and escape from the cycle
reincarnation could be reached in a single lifetime by accepting the Four Noble Truths and following the
Eightfold Path.
In the period after c. 500 BCE Buddhism offered an alternative to the sometimes oppressive nature of
Hinduism’s caste system and patriarchal traditions. The popularity of Buddhism reached its peak in the
Mauryan Dynasty (324-184 BCE) under the Emperor Ashoka. Ashoka made it state policy to promote
the spread of Buddhism. These policies ensured that Buddhism would endure as a major world religion.
During the Gupta Dynasty (320 CE-550 CE) Buddhism fell out of favor in South Asia but endured as a
Brahman Priest Painting His Forehead, from the Frank and Frances
Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
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major faith along the trade routes in the
Indian Ocean and the Silk Road. This
endurance was facilitated by the tradition of
monasticism in the Buddhist faith. Buddhist
nuns and monks established monasteries in
remote areas along major trade routes.
These monasteries spread the faith among
traveling merchants and offered a life free of
the traditional confines of patriarchy and
caste for both women and men.
Confucius (c551-479 BCE) lived in the
waning days of the Zhou Dynasty, a period
of social and political upheaval. His
philosophy, recorded by his followers in the
Analects, proposed a solution to this unrest.
He argued that the long established
traditions of filial piety and the Mandate of
Heaven held the key to social order. For Confucius, the family served as a model for society as a whole.
The eldest male of the family held a moral obligation to lead and care for his household with wisdom and
benevolence in exchange each member of the family was obliged to obey. Confucius believed that the
hierarchy of family could be expanded to bring order to society as a whole. Arguing that humans were
innately good and that if treated with respect would obey righteous leaders, the Analects laid out five
relationships that were rooted in long held Chinese traditions and would bring peace and order to society.
Each relationship was based in reciprocal respect and duty, they include ruler and subject, father and son,
husband and wife, older brother and younger brother, and friend and friend. In an ideal Confucian
society, wise superiors protect and respect their subordinates, subordinates obey and respect their
superiors and all obey the golden rule: “never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.”
Confucianism created a fairly rigid social hierarchy, strongly supported patriarchy, encouraged education,
and supported the tradition of ancestor veneration in China from the Han Dynasty onward.
Visit the website to read more about early Chinese culture, religions and philosophies.
Visit this site for a paper discussing the history and impact of the Indian Caste System.
Illustration of Confucian virtues, 1797
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SSWH2 Identify the major achievements of Chinese and Indian societies to 500 CE/AD.
d. Explain how geography contributed to the movement of people and ideas, include: Silk
Roads and Indian Ocean Trade.
The vast open steppe land of Central Asia was home to numerous nomadic societies. These societies
relied on a pastoral economy that exploited the natural resources of the open steppe. This reliance on
pastoralism made these societies
experts on the use of pack animals
including horses, camels and oxen.
These transport technologies
combined with potential for vast
profits from the trade in silk,
glassware, cotton cloth, horses,
spices, perfumes and slaves led to
the rise of the Silk Road. The Silk
Road operated in two principle
phases, the first from about 100
BCE to 800 CE. In this period the
trade route linked the Roman
Empire in the west, the Chinese
dynasties of the Han, Sui and Tang
in the East, the Indian empires of
the Mauryan and Gupta in the
south, and the Persians in the
middle. The Silk Road peaked again from
1200 to 1500 (see SSWH4e).
During the first phase of the Silk Road, it
functioned primarily as a relay system
with each merchant only traveling a
portion of the full length of the road.
Major trading cities developed as a result
of this system like Chang’an, Samarkand,
and Bukhara. While individuals rarely
traveled the full length of the trade routes,
elements of culture and technology did.
Some key examples of this include:
-Buddhism spread from India to China
-Christianity spread to the east
-the stirrup spread from Central Asia to
Europe, China, and the Middle East
-horse technology spread to China
-New crops were introduced to China (alfalfa, grapes), Rome (peaches, apricots), and the
Middle East (rice, sugarcane, and cotton)
Camel Grazing in the Steppe by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich
Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944)
Silk Road and Indian Ocean Maritime System
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The predictable nature of the monsoon winds of the Indian Ocean eased open-water navigation and led to
the rise of a vast network of exchange between East Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia,
and China in the Classical Age. Mariners, motivated by potential profits from the exchange in goods like
ebony, ivory, copper, myrrh, frankincense, dates, spices, jewels, cotton cloth, and silk developed
technologies that capitalized on the monsoon winds and allowed the
efficient transport of massive amounts of goods. These technologies
include the dhow and lateen sail developed by Arab sailors and the
junk developed by the Chinese.
The seasonal nature of the monsoon winds forced long stays by sailors
in their various ports of call. This led to the establishment of diasporic
communities in the major ports of the Indian Ocean Maritime System.
Several of the diasporic communities left an enduring impact of the
host culture. For example the Swahili language of East Africa is a
product of the blending of Arabic with indigenous Bantu languages
and the Malay Peninsula has a Chinese community that endures to this
Visit this United Nations site for a detailed overview of the Silk Road and connecting trade routes.
Visit this University of California, Irvine Department of Earth System Science site for a detailed article
on the Silk Road.
Visit this University of Texas, Austin site for a 15 Minute History lecture on the Indian Ocean trading
Arab Dhow with Lateen Sail
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Georgia Department of Education
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SSWH3 Examine the political, philosophical, and cultural interaction of Classical
Mediterranean societies from 700 BCE/BC to 400 CE/AD.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain how the development of the Classical Age societies of the
Mediterranean were the product of the interaction between societies in the Middle East, North Africa and
Europe. Special attention should be placed on the religious, philosophical, technological and political
developments that left an enduring legacy. Focus should be placed on the changes and continuities the
region experienced in the transition from small regional states to large multi-ethnic empires.
Visit this site to read an article from the UN Chronicle titled “The Mediterranean Sea: Cradle of
SSWH3 Examine the political, philosophical, and cultural interaction of Classical
Mediterranean societies from 700 BCE/BC to 400 CE/AD.
a. Compare the origins and structure of the Greek polis, the Roman Republic, and the
Roman Empire.
In the period around 700 BCE, Greece was divided into several independent and often warring kingdoms.
Each king’s power was supported by an army made up of part-time hoplite soldiers who came from the
class of small landowning farmers, merchants and artisans. In several of these kingdoms, the hoplites
were growing increasingly discontent with the power of their kings. This frustration led to the rise of
tyrants in the period from around 650 BCE to 500 BCE. These tyrants promised reforms in exchange for
the support of the hoplites. Tyrants successfully overthrew many of the kings and then attempted to
establish despotic power for themselves. In most cases this was unsuccessful and the tyrants were
themselves overthrown by the hoplites ushering the period of the Greek polis. In the period from about
600 BCE to about 300 BCE Greece was divided into several (again often warring) city-states, called polis.
The form of government in each polis varied, with some limited democracies (Athens), some oligarchies
(Sparta), and some remaining monarchies.
Of the Greek polis, Athens and Sparta were the most powerful and influential. Political reforms instituted
by Solon in 594 BCE and Pericles from 461 to 429 BCE brought Athens its closest to a true democracy.
However, at best, only 10% to 15% of the population of Athens was ever allowed to participate in
government. Women, the foreign born, and slaves (about 30% of the population) were always barred
from participation.
In c. 725 BCE Sparta conquered the neighboring region of Messenia and forced the population into
slavery. This population, called Helots revolted in about 650 BCE. This revolt led to a series of reforms
that basically turned Sparta into a military state in which all males were expected to spend the majority of
their life in military service.
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Population growth and limited arable land led many of the Greek Polis to establish colonies around the
Mediterranean. This spread Greek culture and political traditions to neighboring people, including the
Romans and brought conflict with neighboring empires like the Persians.
Greek World
In 338 BCE Greece succumb to invasion by their neighbor’s to the north, Macedonia. While in many
ways the Macedonians had a culture unique from the Greeks they envied Greek achievements and thus
fancied themselves a part of Greek culture. In 334 BCE Alexander the Great, the Macedonian king, led a
combined Greek and Macedonian army to conquer the Persians ushering a brief period empire heavily
influenced by Greek culture known as the Hellenistic Age.
Like the early Greeks, the Romans transitioned from a kingdom to a limited representative government to
an empire. From about 753 to 507 BCE tradition holds that Rome was ruled by a series of seven kings,
the last was a tyrant and thus overthrown by the wealthy landowning class. This event ushered in the
period of the Roman Republic (507 BCE to about 88 BCE).
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Rome enjoyed a much more hospitable
homeland than the Greeks with long
growing seasons, fertile soil, vast forest, and
rich iron deposits. These advantages help
explain how they came to surpass the
Greeks in some areas of cultural and
political development.
The Roman Republic was made up of two
basic social classes, the wealthy patricians
and plebeians who constituted a class of
laborers and owners of small farms. In the
early republic the patrician class maintained
almost complete governmental power
through its control over the main branches
of government: the Senate, assemblies and
elected consuls. While plebeians held the
right to vote in assemblies their votes
counted less than those of patricians. Over
time, discontent and rebellion among the plebeians forced reforms that granted them greater but never
equal governmental power. This republican government proved highly effective and Rome expanded to
control all of the Italian peninsula (290 BCE).
Historians disagree on the exact events that mark the transition from the Republic to the Empire but most
agree that the war with neighboring Carthage from 264 BCE to 202 BCE (the Punic Wars) was an
important factor. Service in the Roman army and status in the Roman state was largely contingent on
landownership. During Rome’s extended conflict with Carthage two key factors emerged to undermine
the class of small landowners that made up the bulk of the Roman army. First, extended tours of duty
kept men away from their farms and thus unable to plant and harvest forcing their families sell the land to
wealthy patricians. Second, expansion brought a flood of cheap slave labor into the republic which made
it difficult for soldiers to find work when they returned to civilian life. These factors, plus falling grain
prices, caused a vast number of Romans to fall into poverty. Poor unemployed Romans congregated in
cities leading to urban unrest. These poor landless Romans no longer qualified for military service thus
decreasing the size and strength of the Roman army and making it difficult for the Roman government to
maintain order.
While the plebeian class struggled many members of the patrician class accumulated vast personal estates
and enormous wealth. These conditions proved ideal for power hungry opportunist who could use their
personal wealth to win the loyalty of Rome’s poor. Men, like Julius Caesar, built private armies and
Rome quickly fell into a series of civil wars that lasted from 88 to 31 BCE.
View of the Forum, Rome, Italy Detroit Publishing Company (1905)
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By the time the wars ended in 31 BCE few elements of the republican form of government survived. The
vast majority of governmental power now rested with an Emperor, of which Caesar Augustus was the
first. The Senate survived only to give
advice to the Emperors and citizen
participation in government was only
allowed on the local level. Rome was now
an Empire.
The Roman Empire continued to expand,
incorporating most of Europe and parts of
the Middle East and North Africa. It was
administered by an extensive bureaucracy
working through a network of cities linked
by paved roads. Cities served as provincial
capitals with local governors that each
reported to the emperor in Rome. From
about 31 BCE to 235 CE the empire
prospered in a period termed Pax Romana.
Peace, order, and elaborate infrastructure
including paved roads and aqueducts
facilitated trade, cultural exchange,
technological development and the arts.

Visit the PBS websites for more details on Roman and Greek empires.
Visit this site from Boise State University for a detailed account of the Punic Wars
Visit this site from Fordham University for primary sources related to slavery in the Roman world.
Great Cameo of France, commissioned to affirm the legitimacy of the
Julio-Claudian emperors of the Roman Empire
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SSWH3 Examine the political, philosophical, and cultural interaction of Classical
Mediterranean societies from 700 BCE/BC to 400 CE/AD.
b. Identify the ideas and impact of important individuals, include: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle,
Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Augustus Caesar.
Socrates was an Athenian philosopher and teacher who lived from 470 to 399 BCE. He argued that there
were no absolute standards for truth and justice and encouraged his students to question their
assumptions, values and opinions. To accomplish this he developed a teaching method in which he
would ask students a series of leading questions, now called the Socratic Method. In doing this, he
challenged students to think for themselves rather than accept traditional understandings of the world.
His work proved to be too much for Athenian authorities; in 399 BCE Socrates was sentenced to death for
corrupting the youth of Athens.
Plato (427 to 347 BCE) was one of Socrates’ students and
is responsible for recording many of his teachings. Plato
continued and expanded the philosophical work of Socrates
by continuing to encourage rational thought. This is
perhaps best exemplified by the cave allegory found in his
most famous work The Republic, published in 370 BCE.
In this brief passage, Plato compares the traditions and
superstitions that most people rely upon to understand the
world as shadows of the real truth. Plato’s The Republic
dominated was the dominant philosophical work for 1,500
Aristotle (384 to 322 BCE) attended Plato’s school the
Academy and went on to found his own school called the
Lyceum after Plato’s death. Aristotle worked to collect and categorize all of the knowledge from a wide
variety of disciplines including politics, philosophy, ethics, poetry, physics, astronomy, meteorology,
zoology, and psychology. Aristotle’s work laid the foundation for the modern study of many of these
Alexander the Great was a pupil of Aristotle when he was the
prince of Macedonia. His father, Philip conquered and unified
Greece in 338 BCE but died shortly afterwards. In 336 BCE
Alexander became the king of Macedonia and in 334 BCE
announced that a unified force of Greeks and Macedonians would
invade the Persian Empire ostensibly to extract revenge for the
Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BCE. By 326 BCE
Alexander’s armies had defeated the Persian Empire, taking
control of the Middle East and Egypt and crossed the Indus River
in northern India. In his wake, Alexander left a series of new
cities inhabited by a mix of indigenous peoples and Greek
colonists. Alexander died at 32 years old in 323 BCE without an
heir. His generals wrangled over the empire, eventually dividing
it among themselves. While the political unity of the empire
Alexander created was short lived the cultural legacy endured for
Michiel Coxcie: Plato’s cave.
Heracles as the protector of the Buddha, 2nd
century Gandhara, British Museum
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centuries as Greek culture blended with indigenous traditions across the Middle East and South Asia.
This blending, termed the Hellenistic Synthesis by historians, ushered in an age of vibrate cultural
exchange in scholarship, the arts, and literature.
Alexander the Great’s empire and route
Julius Caesar took advantage of political and economic instability after the Punic Wars to undermine the
government of the Roman Republic and accumulate power for himself. In 60 BCE he unified with two
other powerful and ambitious Romans to form the first triumvirate. These three men dominated the
government of the Republic for ten years. During this time, Julius Caesar utilized his military genius to
conquer all of Gaul (modern France) for the Romans. His success worried the other members of the
triumvirate and the Roman Senate. These fears were well founded as Caesar’s soldiers were deeply loyal
and he was enormously popular among the people of the Roman heartland. In an attempt to control
Caesar, the Roman Senate ordered him to disband his armies and return to Rome. Instead, Caesar
marched on Rome with his troops, crossing the Rubicon River in 49 BCE, easily taking the city of Rome.
By 44 BCE, Caesar defeated his political rivals and pressured the Roman Senate to name him dictator for
life. Many historians mark this as the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman
Empire. In March of 44 BCE members of the Roman Senate assassinated Caesar in an attempt to restore
the republic.
Augustus Caesar, began his life as Octavian. He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar and with two other
supports of Julius Caesar seized power in Rome after the assassination of his father. This Second
Triumvirate ruled Rome for ten years. But, like its predecessor, it fell apart because of political ambition
and jealousy. Octavian managed to force one member into retirement and defeated the other in a civil
war leaving complete control of Rome in his hands. In 27 BCE Octavian accepted the title Augustus
“exalted one” and became Rome’s first emperor, ruling as Augustus Caesar until his death in 14 CE.
Many historians mark the ascension of Augustus Caesar as the beginning of a period called Pax Romana.
This 207 year long period is considered the high point in Roman political, economic and cultural
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Visit this site from the University of Washington Philosophy department for an explanation of the Plato’s
Cave Allegory.
Visit this site from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for examples of the legacy of the empire of
Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Synthesis.
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SSWH3 Examine the political, philosophical, and cultural interaction of Classical
Mediterranean societies from 700 BCE/BC to 400 CE/AD.
c. Analyze the impact of Greek and Roman culture, politics, and technology.
The classical age Greeks and Romans laid many of the political foundations for the modern western
world. The Athenian and Roman approach to governance that allowed at least a portion of the population
to participate as citizens rather than simply obey as subjects served as an inspiration to the Enlightenment
thinkers of the 18th century. French and English philosophers found inspiration in the writings of the
Greeks and Romans during the European Enlightenment and this ultimately led to the emergence of
modern participatory democracy. Roman law codes survived in Europe long after the collapse of the
empire, serving as the starting point for the development of many modern European law codes.
The Greeks and Romans also left a wide and long-lived cultural legacy. Humanism and rational
philosophy, developed in Greece and explored further in Rome served as the intellectual foundation of the
European Renaissance and Scientific Revolution. It has since become an important element of modern
educational systems around the world. This legacy is apparent in the use of the term humanities as a
category of study, the endurance of Latin as discipline, the ubiquity of Greek and Roman literature in
modern curriculum and the scientific
method whose origins are found at
Aristotle’s Lyceum. This cultural
legacy serves as a unifying force in
the modern western world. Greek
and Roman contributions to science
and engineering also diffused to the
Arab world where they were key in
the development of navigational
technologies that spurred the Age of
The endurance and sophistication of
this legacy was a product of Greece
and Roman’s security and longevity
as classical age states. This security
and longevity was, in part, a product
of advanced technologies developed within these states. Greek and Roman engineers developed
technique for the construction of monumental architecture, irrigation and municipal water systems, and
roads that contributed to a prosperous and cosmopolitan society. This prosperity facilitated the
development of sophisticated scholarship that endured much longer than the states themselves.

Visit this Northern State University website to read an article on more early Greek achievements.
Roman Aqueduct in Spain
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SSWH3 Examine the political, philosophical, and cultural interaction of Classical
Mediterranean societies from 700 BCE/BC to 400 CE/AD.
d. Describe polytheism in the Greek and Roman world.
The Greeks and the Romans worshipped a pantheon of gods and goddess that resembled humans both
physically and emotionally. Each god and goddess represented an important aspect of Mediterranean life
like love, wisdom, the sea, and war. The
Greeks and Romans believed that the gods
and goddess confronted many of the same
emotions as humans and as such engaged
with each other and humanity in complex
and often troublesome ways. These beliefs
led to the development of a rich
mythological literary traditions. Attempts to
appease the gods and goddess also led to the
construction of monumental architecture like
the Parthenon in Athens and the Pantheon in
Rome and the development of complex state
run rituals that helped justify the power of
the government. While Roman religion was
largely a product of cultural diffusion from
Greece, it did develop some unique
attributes. Roman emperors were often
deified after death and in a few cases
emperors added loved ones to the pantheon
gods. For example, the Emperor Hadrian
ordered the deification of his close
companion Antinous after his death in 130 CE.
Visit the British Museum website to learn more about Hadrian’s life and legacy.
Entrance to the Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek, Lebanon, from the Frank
and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress
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SSWH3 Examine the political, philosophical, and cultural interaction of Classical
Mediterranean societies from 700 BCE/BC to 400 CE/AD.
e. Explain the origins and diffusion of Christianity in the Roman world.
Christianity developed in the Jewish community of Roman controlled Palestine. Jesus of Nazareth was
born to a humble Jewish family and became a traveling teacher as an adult. He preached a message of
reform that argued that charity and compassion were more important than strict obedience to rabbis and
Jewish customs. With time, Jesus developed a devoted following that believed he was the messiah
foretold in Hebrew prophecy. This developed into a belief that Jesus was the Son of God. While the
teachings of Jesus Christ were popular among some of the common people of Palestine it was a direct
threat to the power and influence of the
traditional Jewish leadership and the Roman
state. Pressured by Jewish religious leaders, the
Roman governor of Palestine ordered the arrest
and execution of Jesus. After the crucifixion, the
disciples of Jesus preached of his resurrection
from the dead and ascension to Heaven. The
resurrection served to prove the divinity of
Christ to his followers.
While Christianity only had a limited appeal to
the Jewish community of Palestine, it found
much greater acceptance among the Gentile
population of the Roman Empire, particular
among oppressed groups like slaves, commoners
and women. This was in large part thanks to the
work of Paul who was among the first to take the
teachings of Christ to the Roman heartland.
While the Roman government continued to see
Christianity as a threat and persecuted
Christians, the community became increasingly
organized thanks to the work of disciples like Peter who established the first formal centers of worship
that would over time evolve into the Roman Catholic Church.
In 313 CE the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and issued the Edict of Milan that
legalized Christianity in the empire. With imperial support, Christianity grew quickly to become the
dominate religion of Europe.
Visit the PBS website to read more articles on the diversity of early Christianity.
Saint Paul sitting enthroned, visit the Library of Congress for a
detailed explanation of the image.
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SSWH3 Examine the political, philosophical, and cultural interaction of Classical
Mediterranean societies from 700 BCE/BC to 400 CE/AD.
f. Analyze the factors that led to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.
In 235 CE the stability of the Roman Empire came to an end and the empire entered a period known as
the Third-century Crisis. From 235 to 284 Roman suffered from a series of weak and short-lived
emperors, invasions, economic depression, and
social unrest. This led the Emperor Diocletian to
institute a series of radical reforms including
dividing the empire in half with two rulers. These
reforms were effective for a time but by 476 the
western half of the empire succumbed to invasion
by Germanic tribes, leaving the eastern half (known
as the Byzantine Empire by historians) to carry on
Roman traditions.
Visit this website from Boise State for a brief article on the impact of the fall of Rome.
Visit this site from the University of California Santa Barbara for notes on the fall of Rome.
Roman Emperor begs for his life before the Shah of Persia
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SSWH4 Analyze impact of the Byzantine and Mongol empires.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain how the Byzantine and Mongol states impacted both the
regions they directly controlled and surrounding societies. Special attention should be placed on the
religious, economic, technological and political developments that left an enduring legacy. Focus should
be placed on the transregional nature of these empires and the cultural interactions that they facilitated.
SSWH4 Analyze impact of the Byzantine and Mongol empires.
a. Describe the relationship between the Roman and Byzantine Empires, include: the importance of
Justinian and Empress Theodora
In the waning days of the Roman Empire, Emperor Diocletian enacted reforms that laid the foundation for
the creation of a successor state to the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire. Diocletian believed that the
empire had grown too big and complex for a single man to administer so he divided it into the Latin
speaking west and Greek speaking east with a capital in the city of Byzantium. Constantine took power
after Diocletian in 312 CE and reunified the empire but moved the capital of the unified Roman Empire to
Byzantium, renaming the city Constantinople after himself. At this point Constantinople was considered
the New Rome and contemporaries
simply viewed this move as a
political reform. However, many
historians see this and subsequent
events like the loss of
Constantinople’s control of the
western province in 395 and the
final sack of Rome by Germanic
tribes in 476 as the beginning of a
new state in the Mediterranean
While the Roman Empire that lasted
from about 27 BCE to 476 CE
shared a great deal with its
successor state, the Byzantine
Empire (about 395 to 1453) most
historians argue that the differences
make the Byzantine Empire a
distinct state in world history. Some
important Roman traditions did survive however. Roman political institutions like the Senate continued
in the Byzantine world as did the basic structure and content of Roman law. However, culturally the
Byzantine Empire was distinct. The Byzantine Empire spoke Greek and was officially a Christian state
for preponderance of its history.
Justinian and his officials, Basilica of San Vitale photograph by Roger W
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In 527 the Emperor Justinian
came to power. An ambitious
emperor, Justinian was
determined to restore the glory
of the old Roman Empire. His
first task was to retake the
lands lost to Germanic tribes
in North Africa and Western
Europe. After a series of
successful military campaigns
much of the former territory of
the Roman Empire was in the
hands of Justinian. His hold
on the lands in Western
Europe was tenuous at best,
and changed hands six times
in 16 years.
Back in his capital of
Constantinople, Justinian instituted major legal reforms that included the organization, simplification, and
standardization of Roman law. This project produced Corpus Juris Civilis or Justinian’s Code. A law
code that regulated almost all aspects of Byzantine life for the next 900 years and served as the foundation
of many of the law codes of Western Europe after the fall of the Byzantine Empire.
Justinian also completed massive infrastructure projects that transformed Constantinople into a vibrant
and thriving metropolis. These included the construction of a 14 mile long city wall, public baths,
aqueducts, law courts, schools, hospitals and churches. Justinian’s most significant architectural legacy
was the construction of the Hagia Sophia, a massive church that symbolized the partnership between the
church and state in the Byzantine world.
At his side during all of this was his powerful and influential wife Theodora. Born into a humble circus
family, the law actually had to be changed to allow the emperor to marry someone so far below his status.
Theodora was a true partner in power, she meet with foreign envoys, passed laws, built churches, and
served as the emperor’s backbone during the violent Nika riots in 532. According to the historian
Procopius, Justinian was ready to abandon the throne when rioters swept through the streets demanding
his ouster. Procopius credits Theodora with convincing him to stay and suppress the rebellion.
Visit this University of California at Berkeley Law School website for a concise history of Roman Law.
Visit this site from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a brief article on the Hagia Sophia.
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul at dusk, photograph by David Spender July 2009
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SSWH4 Analyze impact of the Byzantine and Mongol empires.
b. Analyze the impact Byzantium had on Kiev, Moscow, and the Russian Empire.
Political unity came to Russia in about 862 when Scandinavian Vikings, called Varangians unified the
Slavic peoples and founded the city of Novgorod. In 880, the opportunity for lucrative trade with
Byzantium by way of the Dnieper River led the Varangian princes to move their capital south to Kiev.
This led to regular economic and cultural contact between the two states. According to principle source
on early Russian history, The Primary
Chronicle, Prince Vladimir (980 to 1015)
decided to seek out a new faith for his
people, he sent envoys to investigate the
options. The envoys that visited the
Orthodox Christians of the Byzantine
Empire returned with grand tales of
monumental architecture that made them
feel that God must dwell among the
Byzantines. These stories may have
contributed to Vladimir’s decision to order
the mass baptism of his people in 989. This
conversion ushered in an era of close
cultural ties between the Kievan state and
Byzantinum. This connection led to regular
economic and intellectual exchange as well
as the adoption of the Cyrillic alphabet which had been developed earlier by Byzantine missionaries
working to convert the Slavs of Eastern Europe.
Kiev’s power declined after the Mongol invasion (discussed in SSWH4e) leading to the rise of Moscow
as the new center of political power. This corresponded to the decline and collapse of the Byzantine
Empire in the late 1400s. The Russian ruler Ivan III used this to his political advantage by announcing
publicly that Russia would be the “Third Rome” and claiming for himself the title Czar a slavicization of
the Caesar. This claim became an enduring form of political legitimacy in the Russian Empire.
Read this article excerpted from Russia: A Country Study by Glenn E. Curtis to learn more about Kiev
and the Mongol period.
Varangian Guardsmen, an illumination from the 11th century chronicle
of John Skylitzes.
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SSWH4 Analyze impact of the Byzantine and Mongol empires.
c. Explain the Great Schism (East-West Schism) of 1054 CE/AD
By the late 300s Christendom developed two parallel hierarchies of leadership that reflected the growing
political divide in the Roman Empire. In the west the church was headquartered in Rome and led by the
pope. In the East, the Byzantine Emperors claimed leadership of the church and considered the Patriarch
of Constantinople as the highest member of the church clergy.
Each of these leaders, the pope in Rome and the emperor in
Constantinople, considered themselves the head of a single unified
church and thus believed that they held authority over the other.
Lack of communication and distance between the two capitals kept
the peace for about 300 years but in 730 this dispute over
leadership came to a head. The Byzantine Emperor Leo III banned
the use of icons in worship because he believed that their use was a
form of idolatry. Riots and clerical rebellion ensued, leading Pope
Gregory II to side with the supporters of icons thus undermining
the authority of the Byzantine Emperor and creating enduring
animosity. Anger grew between Rome and Constantinople after
751 when the pope was facing an invasion by the Lombards. He
requested help from the Byzantine Emperor but the emperor
refused the request leading the pope to turn to the Franks for help.
In gratitude for this and later support from the Franks in
suppressing rebellions in Rome, Pope Leo III crowned
Charlemagne the Roman Emperor. This title was a direct affront to
the Byzantine Emperor who considered himself the Roman
Emperor and the pope his subordinate. By the mid-1000s the
situation became untenable, arguments over Church ritual ranging
from the type of bread used for communion to clerical marriage
ruined relations between the east and the west. In 1054 the
controversy culminated in the excommunication of the Patriarch of
Constantinople by Pope Leo IX. This formally severed the ties
between the Christian Churches of the east and west leading to two
independent churches, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church.
Visit this website of the Orthodox Information Center for a detailed description of the Great Schism.
Saint Peter, a 6th-century encaustic icon
from Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Mount
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SSWH4 Analyze impact of the Byzantine and Mongol empires.
d. Explain the decline of Byzantium and the impact of the fall of Constantinople in 1453 CE/AD.
The fall of the Byzantine Empire was precipitated by a very slow decline that began in the sixth century
after the Bubonic Plague struck. The empire’s population gradually shifted away from urban areas
leading to less centralized leadership and the inability to resist growing Muslim power in the region.
During the seventh century Muslim armies took considerable territory including Alexandria, Antioch and
Jerusalem. In addition to the threat from Arab Muslims, the Byzantine Empire also faced threats from
Turks and Slavs in this period. In the
eleventh century, Turkic armies united
under Seljuk leadership presented a
serious threat to Byzantine power in the
region and inspired the Western
European Crusades. While the declared
target of the majority of Western
European Crusades was the Muslim
rulers of Jerusalem, the Fourth Crusade
in 1204, sacked and destroyed much of
the capital of the Byzantine Empire,
Constantinople. The reasons for this
Christian Crusade against Christians
was complicated but include a desperate
need for financing and lingering
resentment over the Schism of 1054. In
many ways the Crusaders sack of
Constantinople in 1204 served as the
death blow to the empire. For the next
two hundred years the empire struggled
with the loss of territory to a new regional power, the Ottoman Turks, civil war, and another outbreak of
the plague. This decline culminated in the final fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
The fall of Constantinople to the Turks opening the door to Turkic Muslim expansion in the Middle East,
North Africa and Southeastern Europe. With control of Constantinople, now called Istanbul, the Ottoman
Turks held the Bosporus Straits, an essential location for the transport of goods and people between Asia
and Europe. This strategic advantage, along with the military innovations of the Ottoman Sultans allowed
the growth of a new powerful Muslim empire in the region. Additionally, with Constantinople under the
control of Muslims, the center of Christian Orthodoxy shifted north to Russia.
Visit the SHSU website to read more details on the rise of the Turks.
Siege of Siege of Constantinople, Chronique de Charles VII by Jean Chartier
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SSWH4 Analyze impact of the Byzantine and Mongol empires.
e. Describe the impact of the Mongols on Russia, China, and the Middle East, include: the role of
Chinggis (Genghis) Khan in developing the Mongol Empire.
The Mongols were a nomadic pastoral society with a homeland on the vast Central Asian steppe.
Originally a loose confederation of tribes, they were united by Chinggis Khan in 1206. As a united force,
the Mongols proved almost unstoppable. Technologies like the Central Asia composite bow which could
shoot one-third farther than any of their rivals and the willingness to adopt the technologies of conquered
peoples (like the catapult from the Chinese) were one important element of their success. Another was
their nomadic lifestyle. Nomadism made the Mongols expert horsemen and incredibly self-sufficient.
Unlike the armies of sedentary agricultural societies that required long supply lines to feed and equip
soldiers, the Mongols brought virtually their entire society with them on military campaign, including
families and livestock. This practice ensured that supply lines remained short and allowed armies to
travel vast distances for extended periods of
time. Additionally the centralized command
structure developed by Chinggis Khan and
advanced military tactics that capitalized on
the greater mobility of Mongol forces
contributed to success. This success was
rapid, by 1227, the year of Chinggis Khan’s
death, the Mongols controlled northern
China and most of Central Asia. After his
death, his sons including Ӧgödei, continued
the conquests. By 1279 the Mongol Empire
included Russia, China, the Middle East and
Central Asia.
When the Mongols invaded Russia, it was
ruled by a loosely unified group of princes
with most of the power concentrated in the
city of Kiev. This loose confederation failed
to unify in the face of the Mongol threat and as a result it was easily conquered. Southern princes in the
city of Kiev offered the strongest resistance and as a result were largely eliminated. Northern princes in
and around Moscow and Novgorod were more cooperative with the Mongols and as a result power in the
region shifted north to Moscow as the Muscovite princes became agents of the Mongol Khanate of the
Golden Horde that now ruled Russia. The Mongol rulers of Russia were mostly concerned with
extracting tribute and profiting from trade along the Silk Road so they left much of the administration of
the Khanate to Muscovite princes who served as local administrators, tax collectors and census takers.
The Mongol tax burden was severe and led to an economic downturn which was made worse by the
introduction of paper money to the economy by the Mongol overlords. To reinforce the power of the
Mongols and their agents, Russian princes, the leaders of the Golden Horde provided generous support
for the Russian Orthodox Church. This patronage secured Orthodoxy as the dominant faith of Russia.
Further, the use of Russian princes supported by the Orthodox Church also served to centralize political
power in the hands of Muscovite princes, which up till this point had been quite fragmented in the
Russian State. With centralized political power now in Moscow, the population of Russia began to
migrate north leading to the opening of new agricultural lands in the region.
Mounted warriors pursue enemies. Illustration of Rashid-ad-Din’s
Gami’ at-tawarih
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Mongol Empire
Unlike the Mongols of other regions, the Mongols of China thoroughly integrated themselves into
Chinese society, establishing a short lived but impactful dynasty, the Yuan. The Mongols of China
adopted many Chinese cultural traditions including Confucianism and Buddhism but also left an enduring
cultural imprint. For example, Mandarin, the dominant spoken language of Northern China is a
hybridization of Mongolian and Chinese. Further, Mongol power acted to finally unify China into the
state it is today, breaking down old cultural differences and laying the foundations for the modern
Chinese Nation-State. Beijing became the capital under the Yuan dynasty and early construction on the
Forbidden City began. The Mongols also facilitated intellectual and economic diversification. Under
Mongol rule the government was largely controlled by Mongol overlords aided by a bureaucracy of
Central Asian and Middle Eastern administrators. This brought foreign expertise into China aiding
scientific advances. The exclusion of Chinese nobility from their traditional role as bureaucrats forced
many families to become merchants. This facilitated the development of corporate business arrangements
and urbanization. However, like Mongols in other regions, the Mongols of the Yuan instituted
economically repressive taxes on the population made worse by the introduction of paper money which in
time led to their decline.
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Like the Mongols of the Golden Horde of Russia, the Mongols of the Il Khan that dominated the Middle
East preferred to rule from afar. Despite this, the Il Khan had a profound impact on the Middle East.
Mongolian armies tended to assume power in a region by killing much of the local nobility, this was
certainly true of the Middle East and included the
execution of the last Abbasid Caliph. While this would
not be the last person to claim the position of Caliph, if
would be a major blow to the unifying power of the
position in the Muslim world. After this execution, future
Caliphs would have little success claiming authority over
all of Dar al-Islam. Mongol rule however, would place
Baghdad at the heart of a vast and vibrant empire
spanning almost all of Asia. Baghdad was already an
important intellectual center among Arabs and Persians
but with Mongol sponsorship, intellectuals from all over
Asia concentrated in the city. This led to major
developments in the disciplines of history, painting,
algebra, trigonometry, and astronomy that led to advances
in calendars, predicting eclipses, and navigation. But, like
all regions controlled by the Mongols, over taxation made
worse by the introduction of paper money led to economic
All of the regions controlled by the Mongols benefited
from a massive expansion in Eurasian trade along the Silk
Road. This trade facilitated the diffusion of profoundly
important technologies like gunpowder, paper, and
movable type. It facilitated the spread of religions like
Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. It vastly improved
interregional understanding by facilitating the travels of
people like Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta and it profoundly transformed the demography of Afro-Eurasia
with the spread of the Bubonic Plague.
Visit the World History Connected website to read more on the history of the Mongol Empire.
Visit the Apollon eJournal website to read more details on the legacy of the Mongol Empire.
Persian painting (14th century) of Hülegü’s army
besieging Baghdad
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SSWH5 Examine the political, economic, and cultural interactions within the Medieval
Mediterranean World between 600 CE/AD and 1300 CE/AD.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain how the development of the Medieval Muslim societies of
the Mediterranean, were the product of the interaction between societies in the Middle East, North Africa,
Europe and beyond. Special attention should be placed on the religious, economic, cultural and political
developments that left an enduring legacy. Focus should be placed on the changes and continuities the
region experienced during the expansion of Islam with particular attention to the role of Judaism and
Christianity in Islam.
Visit this University of Massachusetts website to read an article written by Bethany G. Power on the
emergence and expansion of Islam.
SSWH5 Examine the political, economic, and cultural interactions within the Medieval
Mediterranean World between 600 CE/AD and 1300 CE/AD.
a. Analyze the origins of Islam and the growth of the Islamic Empire.
In 600 CE the northern portion of Middle East was dominated by the Christian Byzantine Empire and the
Zoroastrian Sassanid Persian Empire. The Arabian Peninsula lacked any centralized political authority
and was dominated by independent Arab tribes that profited from a lucrative trade route that transported
frankincense and myrrh from southern
Arabia and East Africa to the Byzantine and
Sassanid Empires. In 570 Muhammad was
born in a prosperous trading town along this
trade route, Mecca. Mecca also served as an
important pilgrimage site for the polytheistic
Arabs as it was home to an important temple
to these gods, the Ka’ba. As an adult,
Muhammad had a lucrative career as a
merchant and eventually married a wealthy
widow, Khadijah. Financially secure,
Muhammad now turned to spiritual pursuits
which included meditating in the mountain
caves outside of Mecca.
In about 610, Muhammad began to have
visions while meditating. He came to
believe that these visions were the Angel
Gabriel who had been charged by the one
true God (Allah in Arabic) to deliver a
Photo From: Samuel Zwemer (1867–1952) Arabia: The Cradle of Islam
Published in New York in 1900,
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message to Muhammad. The message delivered in these revelation outlined the basic beliefs of Islam and
were eventually recorded in the Quran. While Muslims believe that the Jewish and Christian holy books
contain religious truth, only the Quran contains the exact words of God. These basic beliefs of Islam
(outlined in the Six Articles of Faith) include the belief in one God that created all of things. Muslims
believe that God sent a series of messengers (prophets) including Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.
Each prophet delivered a divine message which is preserved in the Books of God, these include the
Torah, Gospels, Psalms, and Scrolls.
According to Islam, Muhammad is God’s
final messenger and he has delivered God’s
exact words in the form of the Quran. In
addition to the Quran and Books of God,
Muslims look to the words and deeds of the
Prophet Muhammad for guidance. These
traditions of Muhammad are found in the
Hadith and Sunnah. Additionally, basic
practices of Islam are outlined in the Five
Pillars of Islam and over the course of many
hundreds of years, Muslim scholars have
used these various sources of religious truth
to compile the Shariah or Islamic law that
regulated public and private affairs in the
Muslim states.
Muhammad began to share his message with
the people of Mecca after 610. The message
was not well received as it threatened
Mecca’s traditional role as a pilgrimage destination for the polytheistic Arabs. Facing hostility in Mecca,
Muhammad led his followers to the city of Medina in 622. Most of the population of Medina accepted
Muhammad as the Messenger of God and converted to the new faith. The Meccan migrants and the
converts of Medina, unified under a single faith, now formed the Umma, a political and religious union
led by Muhammad. The conflict with the city of Mecca continued until 630 when the armies of the
Umma successfully defeated Mecca. After this defeat, the Umma led by Muhammad continued to expand
and by his death in 632, most of the Arabian Peninsula was unified under the authority of the Umma.
After Muhammad’s death leadership of the Umma passed to a successor called a caliph in Arabic. Under
the first four caliphs, the Umma now known as a caliphate continued to expand. By 661, the caliphate
included all of the Arabian Peninsula, Persia, Palestine, and Egypt. While the political authority of the
caliphate expanded rapidly, religious conversion proceed very slowly. A civil war broke out in the
caliphate in 656 (the details of this conflict will be discussed in the notes for element b) this resulted in a
power shift to a new dynasty of caliphs, the Umayyads who ruled from 661 to 750 (Umayyad caliphs
remained in power in Spain until 1031). Under the Umayyads the caliphate expanded to include all of
North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula and parts of Central Asia. The Umayyad government and army was
dominated by Arabs, however the empire was ethnically diverse. This discrepancy led to unrest and in
750 the Umayyad dynasty was overthrown and replaced with the Abbasid Caliphate which held the
position until the last Abbasid Caliph was killed by the Mongols in 1258. The Abbasid caliphs were
never able to maintain the level of political unity or centralized authority of the Umayyads. Abbasid
Illuminated Qurʼan manuscript
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authority never extended to Iberia and by 969 a rival caliphate, the Fatimids controlled Northern Africa
and parts of Palestine and the Arabian Peninsula.
Visit this Site from Indian University Northwest to read more on the rise and development of Islam.
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SSWH5 Examine the political, economic, and cultural interactions within the Medieval
Mediterranean World between 600 CE/AD and 1300 CE/AD.
b. Understand the reasons for the split between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims.
While alive, Muhammad never established a plan for leadership of the Umma after his death. The first
three caliphs were selected from among his close companions and generally ruled without controversy
until 656 when rebels from the army assassinated Uthman, the third caliph. The assassins then nominated
Ali, a relative of Muhammad for the position. Many in the community believed that Ali was
Muhammad’s legitimate heir because of sermon delivered by the Prophet at Ghadir al-Khumm in which
he alluded to Ali as leader. Ali accepted the position of caliph but he faced a challenge from two of
Muhammad’s close friends and his favorite wife A’isha. This challenge resulted in the Battle of the
Camel from which Ali emerged victorious. However, after the battle Ali faced another challenge from a
relative of the slain Uthman, the Syrian governor Mu’awiya. This led to more armed conflict but this
time the battles were inconclusive. Ali and Mu’awiya agreed to negotiate a truce. Some of Ali’s
followers, aggravated by his willingness to negotiate, assassinated him in 661. The assassination of Ali
cleared the way for Mu’awiya to assume the position of caliph and establish the Umayyad Caliphate.
However, Ali’s son Husayn revolted in 680 hoping to reestablish his family’s right to rule. The Umayyad
caliph ordered Husayn and his family massacred. The violent death of Husayn made him a martyr to his
followers who broke away and formed the Shi’a branch of Islam while the supports of the Umayyads
became known as the Sunni.
Visit this site from Ohio State University to learn more details about the reasons for the split of the Sunni
and Shi’a Muslims.
Visit this University of Texas, Austin site for a 15 Minute lecture on Islam’s first civil war.
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SSWH5 Examine the political, economic, and cultural interactions within the Medieval
Mediterranean World between 600 CE/AD and 1300 CE/AD
c. Assess the economic impact of Muslim trade routes to India, China, Europe and Africa.
The Islamic world laid at the heart of four of the world’s major trade routes in the period from 600 to
1300. The stability offered by vast the Islamic caliphates fostered the growth of these trade routes and the
economic prosperity of the regions they connected. These trade routes include the Mediterranean, transSaharan caravan route, Silk Road, and the Indian Ocean maritime system. Together these interconnected
routes linked the
manufactures, mines and
markets of China,
Southeast Asia, India,
East Africa, the Middle
East, Central Asia, West
Africa, and Europe. The
trade on these routes
include the exchange of
key commodities like
silk and porcelain from
China, spices and textiles
from South and
Southeast Asia, ivory,
slaves, and gold from
Africa, glass from
Europe, and metalware,
slaves, and textiles from
the Middle East. This
trade was facilitated by
technological advances. The Arab dhow made travel in the Indian Ocean easier; it was equipped with a
triangular lateen sail that increased the ship’s maneuverability. Arabian camel saddles that diffused to
North Africa improved the security and efficiency of trans-Saharan trade. The common moral code that
Islam offered also promoted the growth of trade in the region. Taken together, these Afro-Eurasian trade
routes that meet in the Muslim world spurred the entire region’s economic growth. This growth is
evidenced by the increased prosperity in major trading cities like Timbuktu, Mombasa, Alexandra,
Constantinople, Venice, Hormuz, Baghdad, Melaka, Calicut, Canton, and Hangzhou among others.
Visit this website to read more about the impact of early Islamic trade routes.
Mosque and Minaret, Canton by W.P. Floyd
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SSWH5 Examine the political, economic, and cultural interactions within the Medieval
Mediterranean World between 600 CE/AD and 1300 CE/AD
d. Identify the contributions of Islamic scholars in science, math, and geography
Two key factors intercepted in the period 600 to 1300 to make the Islamic world a center of learning.
First, the Islamic world was at the intersection of Afro-Eurasia’s major trade routes, this fostered a
cosmopolitan atmosphere were intellectuals from different regions could meet and exchange ideas. Early
scholarship from Greece and Rome was
translated, preserved and improved upon.
Indian mathematics including the number
system that becomes known as Arabic
numerals in the West was applied to the
development of algebra. Chinese paper
making technology allowed the creation of
vast libraries and Chinese technologies
related to navigation, astronomy, and
gunpowder were refined. These refinements
would eventually facilitate the age of
exploration in Europe. Second, the
expectation that all believers read the Quran
promoted literacy in a universal language,
Arabic, and the establishment of an
extensive educational system. Baghdad,
Damascus, Cordoba, and Timbuktu among
other cities became what we might call
university towns in modern parlance. This
intellectual development was centered on
the madrasas, a religious college were scholars studied many disciplines of learning. In the field of
science, Ibn Sina authored Canon of Medicine. This work became the authoritative medical text in the
Middle East and Europe until the 1600s. In the field of geography, Ibn Battuta’s Travels vastly improved
knowledge of cultural and physical geography in the Islamic world and beyond.
Visit the Middle East Institute website for more details on Islamic civilization.
The Canon of Medicine Description Al-Husayn Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sīnā
(980–1037) from the Library of Congress
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SSWH5 Examine the political, economic, and cultural interactions within the Medieval
Mediterranean World between 600 CE/AD and 1300 CE/AD
e. Analyze the relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam developed in succession with Christianity developing out of Judaism and
Islam developing out of both Judaism and Christianity. As a result of this common heritage the three
faiths share several key features.
First and most important, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are monotheistic religions that believe in an allpowerful God that created the world and everything in it. They all believe that this God is benevolent,
trustworthy, and just. In all three faiths, humanity is directed to follow God’s will; those who obey are
rewarded and those who do not are punished.
Next, the three faiths believe in
divinely directed messengers, humans
who bring God’s message to the
people. These messages direct
people’s actions and beliefs and for all
three faiths they are preserved in Holy
Scripture. Judaism, Christianity and
Islam share several of these
messengers including, among others,
Abraham, Noah, and Moses.
Christianity and Islam also share John
the Baptist and Jesus, however Islam
does not recognize Jesus as a Messiah
while Christianity does.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam also
share some scripture. While the value placed on this scripture varies from faith to faith, all three
recognize much of the content of the Torah as religious truth. Christianity and Islam also share much of
the New Testament of the Bible.
The faiths also share a common spiritual geography in the city of Jerusalem. All three faiths consider
Jerusalem profoundly important as a holy place.
Visit National Geographic Magazines website to read this article on the rise of three faiths by Jeff Sheler.
Jerusalem. Southeastern Part of the Temple Square. Left: al-Aqsa Mosque. In
the Foreground: Qubbat al-á¹¢akhrah (Dome of the Rock). 1915 from the Library
of Congress
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SSWH6 Describe the diverse characteristics of early African societies before 1500 CE/AD.
Overview: Students will be expected to describe the development of African societies with a focus on the
role of trade in fostering growth and cultural exchange. Special attention should be placed on the
religious, economic, and political developments that left an enduring legacy and contributed to the
diversity of the continent. Teachers should stress that Africa’s size and geography contributed to a high
degree of diversity on the continent.
Visit this site from Central Oregon Community College for a timeline of African History
SSWH6 Describe the diverse characteristics of early African societies before 1500 CE/AD.
a. Describe the development and decline of the Sudanic kingdoms (Ghana, Mali, Songhai);
include the roles of Sundiata, and the pilgrimage of Mansa Musa to Mecca.
States emerged in West Africa with the arrival of the domesticated camel in third century CE. With the
camel as a beast of burden and war, lucrative trade developed across the Sahara Desert. Salt and
manufactured goods were transported south and gold, kola nuts, and forest products were transported
north. Merchants meet in the Sahel region just south of the Sahara Desert. This region was inhabited by
the Soninke, and agricultural people ruled by a warrior chief called the ghana. The ghana grew wealthy
and powerful by taxing this trade and by the 700s the ghana was a king and his title was used to describe
the entire region. The Kingdom of Ghana, as it was now known, developed an extensive bureaucracy that
allowed it to tightly regulate the highly lucrative salt and gold trade. This control, allowed the kings of
Ghana to acquire vast wealth which they used to develop the military power necessary to become an
empire in the 800s. Trade brought Islam to the region which spread slowly eventually leading to the
conversion of the king in the eleventh century. In 1076 Almoravids from North Africa conquered Ghana
and severally disrupted the salt and gold trade. The Kingdom of Ghana was unable to recover despite the
withdrawal of the Almoravids.
With Ghana’s power severally reduced a new group of people emerged to dominate the region, the
Malinke. New gold mines opened to the east, out of the reach of Ghana but easily accessible to the
Malinke. The ruler of the Malinke, Sundiata, used this new found wealth to build an empire to replace
Ghana. After a series of military victories, Sundiata established the Empire of Mali in around 1235. This
empire was much larger than its predecessor and much more Islamic in character. Sundiata established
his capital at Niani; from here he directed a highly effective bureaucracy that instituted successful reforms
that promoted agriculture and the reestablishment of the salt and gold trade. The empire generally
prospered for the rest of Sundiata’s reign but after his death in 1255 it slipped into a 50 year period of
turmoil. Order was restored in 1312 when Mansa Musa took power. A highly effective administrator and
military leader, Mansa Musa substantially increased the size of the empire. To administer this enlarged
empire, Mansa Musa divided it into provinces with appointed governors. Mansa Musa also created
important links between his empire the larger Muslim world. In 1324, Mansa Musa took a pilgrimage to
Mecca. While traveling, he recruited Islamic scholars to return with him to Mali. With the help of these
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scholars and the vast wealth from the salt and gold trade, Mansa Musa transformed the city of Timbuktu
into a center of Islamic scholarship. After Mansa Musa, Mali had a series of weak and ineffective leaders
leading to its decline. In 1433 the city of Timbuktu was sacked by Tuareg invaders and by 1500 the
Malinke controlled only their homeland.
The Songhai people stepped into the
power vacuum left by the decline of
Mali. Like Ghana and Mali, the
Songhai used the wealth from the salt
and gold trade to build a vast Islamic
empire in 1464. This wealth paid for a
highly effective professional military
equipped with cavalry and freshwater
naval units. The Songhai Empire
surpassed Mali in size. To administer
this territory the emperor established a
highly centralized bureaucracy with
ministries of the treasury, army, navy
and agriculture. Technological
advances made in the heart of the
Islamic world proved to be Songhai’s
undoing. Gunpowder diffused across
the Silk Road and Muslim armies in the
Middle East weaponized it. In 1591 a
Moroccan army equipped with cannon
and muskets invaded and defeated Songhai.
Visit this site from Fordham University for primary source descriptions of West Africa from Ibn Buttuta.
Mansa Musa from a 1375 Catalan Atlas of the known world by Abraham
Cresques of Mallorca
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SSWH6 Describe the diverse characteristics of early African societies before 1500 CE/AD.
b. Describe the trading networks and distribution of resources by examining trans-Saharan
trade in gold, salt, and slaves; include the Swahili trading cities.
Trade between the Mediterranean and sub-Saharan Africa was quite limited until the camel came into
regular use in the third century CE. As a beast of burden, the camel was and continues to be ideal for
merchants in the Sahara. Able to travel up to 60 miles a day with 500 lbs. of cargo, a camel can go up to
ten days without water. North African Berbers improved upon earlier advances by the Arabs to develop
highly effective war saddles for camels. These technological developments made regular caravans safe
and profitable in the Sahara Desert. This regular exchange of goods led to the slow diffusion of Islam
into the region.

Trade across the Sahara had three basic production and consumption centers. The forest regions between
the Niger and Senegal Rivers exported gold, slaves, kola nuts and palm oil to the north. In return they
purchased salt which was
essential for life in the tropic
climate. This salt was mined in
the Sahara desert near Taghaza.
Metal ware, pottery and glass
manufactured along the
Mediterranean coast was
purchased with gold from the
Niger River region and flowed
south to the communities in and
below the desert. Much of this
exchange was handled by
middlemen in the Sahel region
which led to the growth of
major trading cities like
The east coast of Africa
was also an import area for
international trade. Highly
predictable seasonal monsoon winds combined with the maritime technology of the dhow and lateen sail
developed by Arabs made open ocean navigation safe and profitable. Arab merchants of the Indian
Ocean maritime system visited ports in Mogadishu, Mombasa, and Zanzibar among others. While
visiting East African ports, merchants purchased ivory, gold, ebony, slaves, and exotic animal products
and sold silk, cotton cloth, porcelain, metal ware, glass, and spices. Because the merchants of the Indian
Ocean depended on seasonal winds, they generally spent several months in each port of call. These
extended stays led many merchants to marry local women creating a unique culture in the region that
blends West African and Arab customs. The Swahili language is an excellent example of this as it is a
blend indigenous Bantu languages and Arabic.
Visit this link for an excellent National Geographic video about the salt mines of the Sahara Desert.

YouTube video

Map of Trans-Saharan Trade Routes from the Library of Congress
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SSWH6 Describe the diverse characteristics of early African societies before 1500 CE/AD.
c. Understand the blending of traditional African beliefs with new ideas from Islam and
Christianity and their impact on early African societies.
Most indigenous religious systems in sub-Saharan Africa focused on animism, the belief that divine
forces resided in the elements of the natural world including the flora, fauna and natural geography.
Many believed that shamans or witches could harness these powers for good and evil. As Islam spread to
North, West and the Swahili Coast of East Africa and Christianity spread to Ethiopia and Egypt these
traditions were sometimes replaced and sometimes blended with the new faith systems. While these new
faith systems brought major changes to
much of Africa like the introduction of
written language, the establishment of
new educational systems like the madras
and monastery, and new moral codes
like Sharia law, many native traditions
endured. In West and East Africa the
belief in and practice of magic
continued despite the objection of
orthodox Muslims. This is evident in
the Malinke epic Sundiata in which
Sundiata and his adversary use magic in
battle despite both being Muslim.
These regions also saw the modification
of many Muslim traditions to better suit
native customs. For example, Islamic
traditions related to the seclusion and
veiling of women did not take hold in
West Africa despite their conversion to
Islam. The traditional customs that
allowed women to move freely in public endured well after the region’s conversion. Adaption also
occurred as Christianity spread to Egypt and Ethiopia. The Egyptian Coptic Christian belief in the
spiritual significance of the Nile is an excellent example.
Visit this site for an excellent description of the Epic of Sundiata and lesson ideas for its use in the
Visit this link to read an article on religious syncretism in Africa from the University of Western Ontario
Journal of Anthropology.
The Grand Mosque or Djingareyber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali, Dubois, Félix
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SSWH7 Analyze European medieval society with regard to culture, politics, society, and economics.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain the decline and recovery of European society during the
medieval era. Students should understand that following the fall of the Roman Empire, European urban
centers witnessed population loss and centralized political authority decline substantially leading to a
largely rural agrarian society that was far less culturally or economically unified than Europe during the
Roman era. This new society was a blend of older Roman traditions, the culture of invading Germanic
peoples and Christianity. With time, several factors including the Roman Catholic Church, the plague
and the crusades contributed to European recovery. Special attention should be placed on the cultural,
economic, societal and political developments that left an enduring legacy.
Resources: (if appropriate)
Visit this site from the BBC for a history or medieval England.
SSWH7 Analyze European medieval society with regard to culture, politics, society, and economics.
a. Explain the manorial system and feudal relationships, include: the status of peasants and feudal
monarchies and the importance of Charlemagne
The last Latin speaking emperor lost power in Rome in 476 CE. After this, centralized political authority,
long distance trade, urbanization, and literacy slowly declined in Western Europe. Germanic tribes
flooded into the region and established hundreds of small kingdoms and tribal chiefdoms. The political
authority in these kingdoms tended to be very weak, based mostly on the king or another strong man’s
ability to provide protection. Borders and thrones shifted often as war between and within kingdoms was
common. A semblance of political unity and cultural revival emerged under the Carolingian Dynasty of
the Franks from about 751 to 814. The Carolingian kings gained and expanded their power through an
alliance with the Roman Catholic Church. The pope crowned the first Carolingian King, Pepin, the “king
by grace of God.” This act established a tradition that long endured in Europe in which the pope claimed
the right to confer secular political power on kings. Carolingian power reached its peak under
Charlemagne who built an empire that spanned most of Central Europe. The pope re-enforced this power
by crowning Charlemagne the “Roman Emperor” in 800. Under Charlemagne, Europe briefly enjoyed a
level of political unity that had been unseen since the fall of Rome. Charlemagne also fostered a modest
intellectual revival by sponsoring the creation of schools. Weak leadership by Charlemagne’s heirs
reversed much of this centralization and cultural revival and Europe became a largely feudal society in the
years after his death in 814.
Feudalism took shape slowly and varied greatly from place to place. Historians of the past overly
simplified the institution into a strict pyramid shaped hierarchy in which kings granted lands to nobles
who in turn granted lands to knights in exchange for oaths of loyalty and promises of military
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service. While essence of these description is generally accurate, most modern historians see it as a
gross simplification of a system that would be more accurately described as a web.
At its most basic level, feudalism was a system that linked landholding with military service. Kings did
grant land (called fiefs) to vassal in exchange for military service and oaths of loyalty. The land grants
might be quite large, made to a lord who also received a title of nobility like duke or marquess. The land
grants might also be small to a knight who served in the king’s personal army. Recipients of large land
grants might in turn grant out fiefs to lesser nobles or knights who
served in their personal army. It was not uncommon for kings,
nobles and knights to be vassal to more than one lord having
received land grants and possibly even titles from more than one
person. The system became more complicated as it became
hereditary over time. Titles of nobility and the fiefs associated with
the title might pass from one family to another through marriage.
The original inhabitants of the land granted to these vassals became
serfs in most of Europe. As a serf they were legally bound to the
land and obliged to work as farmers for the lord. In other areas
these inhabitants might be free peasant farmers who were free to
leave but generally had no incentive to do so.
Under feudalism Europe became highly decentralized. While long
distance trade never completely disappeared, it was greatly reduced
as the old Roman system of roads fell into disrepair. This
decentralization forced much of Europe to become largely selfsufficient. Each feudal lord maintained a manor on which most if
not all of the basic necessities of life were produced. The term manor is used to describe this selfsufficient economic system that developed on the feudal lord’s fief. The typical manor included the
lord’s manor house, a church, workshops, a mill, a village of cottages for peasants or serfs, pastures for
livestock and farmland. The peasants or serfs were obligated to provide labor to the lord and pay taxes
while the lord was obligated to maintain order, provide housing and protect to the inhabitants of his
Visit this site from the BBC for a simple explanation of feudalism that includes easy to understand
Visit this site from Fordham University for a primary source on Charlemagne.
SSWH7 Analyze European medieval society with regard to culture, politics, society, and
French Manor c. 1400
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b. Explain the political impact of Christianity and the role of the church in medieval society.
The weak and decentralized nature of feudal states provided an opportunity for the Roman Catholic
Church to emerge as both a spiritual and temporal power in medieval society. When the pope crowned
first Pepin and later Charlemagne (see SSWH7a) he established an important and enduring precedent for
papal political power in Europe.
While political power and the economy of Medieval Europe was highly decentralized, the spiritual unity
of the continent remained quite unified. The popes in Rome maintained this unity through a hierarchy of
clergy that included cardinals, bishops, abbots, and parish priests. The authority of the clergy over the
royalty, nobility and common people was reinforced by several factors. First, medieval Catholicism
taught that only the clergy could interpret the
scripture. This monopoly on religious authority was
reinforced by the fact that medieval bibles were written
in Latin, a language very few Europeans outside the
clergy could read. Second, the clergy alone could
administer the seven sacraments or rituals that the
church said were required to achieve internal salvation
in heaven. Third, the church enforced a law code
(canon law), on all believers. Canon law regulated the
behavior of all church members and was enforced by a
network of courts that had the authority to arrest and
punish violators. The punishment of the most extreme
forms of heresy included torture and execution. The
most powerful tool of the church in maintaining its
power was the threat and use of excommunication and
interdict. When the pope issued an excommunication,
he expelled a believer from the church, thus denying
them any opportunity to achieve eternal salvation and
as a result condemning them to eternal punishment in
hell. An interdict denied the sacraments to entire
regions thus condemning all of the inhabitants to
hell. In a society deeply rooted in faith, these served as
very powerful tools in maintaining both the spiritual
and secular authority of the church.
The monarchs of Europe regularly attempted to temper the authority of the pope in their realms by
placing their allies in the clergy. Because bishops served as regional church leaders throughout Europe
the monarchs wanted the authority to appoint the bishops within their realms. This practice of was known
as lay investiture. The church tolerated this practice until 1075 when Pope Gregory VII banned lay
investiture. This infuriated the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV who was in the process of consolidating
his power. Henry called on the pope to step down but the pope responded by excommunicating the
emperor which severally weakened is secular authority. To regain the respect of his subjects and access
to internal salvation in heaven, Henry was forced to stand in the snow barefoot while wearing a itchy hair
shirt and beg for forgiveness from the pope for three days. In the end, Gregory withdrew the
The Cathedral of Notre Dame, completed in 1345
demonstrates the power and influence of the Medieval
Church. Photo by Daniel Vorndran
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excommunication and Henry accepted the ban on lay investiture but the struggle between the popes and
the monarchs of Europe endured.
In addition to political and religious authority, the church was also an important force in maintaining
cultural unity in Europe. While educational opportunities were rare in Medieval Europe, the network of
Catholic monasteries did provide some opportunities for scholarship and research. Further, the Catholic
church constructed several monumental gothic cathedrals during this period that endure as high points in
European art and architecture to this day.

Visit this site for a detailed history of the chronology of medieval Catholic Church.
SSWH7 Analyze European medieval society with regard to culture, politics, society, and
c. Describe how increasing trade led to the growth of towns and cities, include: the impact of the
Bubonic Plague
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The increase in trade and urbanization of Europe was precipitated by population growth that began
around 800. This population growth was the product of the convergence of climatic conditions and
technological innovations which led to an increase in the food supply. From about 800 to 1200 Europe
experienced a warm spell that allowed a fairly dramatic increase in land available for cultivation and an
extension of the growing season. Sometime around 800 several new farming technologies were either
developed or diffused to Europe from North Africa. These include the horse collar and breast-strap
harness. These technologies allowed Europeans to replace oxen with horses in agricultural work, a major
advance because a horse can plow about three times faster than an ox. Other agricultural innovations
around 800 include the heavy plow and the three field system. The heavy plow used a large metal blade
to cut into the soil thus increasing the efficiency of farmer’s work. Likewise, the three field system
improved efficiency by increasing the amount and fertility of land under cultivation. The mild climate
and improvements in technology led to rapid population growth which in part spurred what historians
term a commercial revolution in Europe around 1000.
During the early years of this commercial revolution
regional fairs emerged. These fairs were generally held
on religious holidays in or near the few small towns that
existed in Medieval Europe. Peasants from nearby
manors would travel to the fairs to buy and sell goods
with each other and traveling merchants that brought
exotic goods from the east. As these fairs became larger
and more frequent they spurred the growth of these
towns. As the towns grew they became increasingly
independent existing largely outside of the authority and
traditions of the feudal system discussed in
SSWH7a. With time towns grew into cities, particularly
in areas with access to seaborne trade like Italy and
At the height of this commercial revolution several new
business institutions developed that further spurred
urbanization and economic growth, these include the
guild and banks. Guilds were organizations of
merchants and artisans that worked together to regulate
business practices to ensure the profitability and
viability of their respective commodities. Banking provided loans and infrastructure for the monetization
of the economy.
The commercial revolution and urbanization in Europe gave birth to a new social class in the region. This
class, made up of artisans, merchants and bankers lived in cities that were outside of the jurisdiction of the
feudal system. Many feudal monarchs attempted to bring these cities under their authority, however few
were successful, particular in Italy and Flanders. Cities like Venice and Florence became independent
republics ruled by this new class that became known as the bourgeoisie or burghers.
“Plague doctor” in costume. Engraving by Paul Fürst,
1656 Image demonstrates misconceptions about how
the disease was spread, the mask was thought to protect
from infection.
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In 1347 a Genoese merchant fleet carrying the bubonic plague docked in Sicily, four years later the
plague spread to almost all of Europe, killing about one-third of the population. Bubonic plague both
fostered and reversed the trends set in motion by the commercial revolution. While fear and death
diminished populations in European cities, decreased trade and drove up prices it also severely
undermined the feudal system in the countryside. This weakening of the feudal system led to economic
growth and development in the long-term. The massive deaths brought on by the plague increased the
demand for peasant labor which in turn increased their ability to demand higher wages. When nobles
refused to increase wages, serfs and peasants fought back in violent rebellions in England, France, Italy,
and Belgium. In the end the grip of the nobility of the peasantry of Europe was forever weakened
allowing this population greater freedom to pursue their own economic self-interest.
Visit this site from Gale, World History in Context for a student friendly history of the growth of towns in
the medieval world.
Visit this site from Eyewitness to for an account of the spread of plague in Europe that
includes primary sources.
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SSWH7 Analyze European medieval society with regard to culture, politics, society, and
d. Describe the causes and impact of the Crusades on the Islamic World and Europe.
In 1037 the Seljuk Turks established an empire in the Middle East. Seljuk power threatened the
Byzantine Empire by 1093 leading the emperor to solicit help from Pope Urban II. Urban responded by
calling for the first Crusade to free Jerusalem from Muslim rule. The first Crusade set off in 1096 and
lasted until 1099. The Crusaders successfully drove the Turks from Jerusalem and established four small
Christian kingdoms in the Middle East. This success was short lived however, in less than 100 years
Jerusalem was back in the hands of the Muslim Turks. The Christians of Europe organized several other
Crusades over the next 300 years but none of them were ever able to retake Jerusalem.
Map of the Second Crusade (1147 – 1149 AD)
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Motivation for the Crusades was a mix of genuine religious zealotry, economic self-interest, and political
opportunism. Devout Christians found motivation in the fact that the Seljuk Turks denied Christian
pilgrims access to Jerusalem and the pope’s promise of guaranteed salvation for all those who died on
Crusade. Those seeking economic advantage hoped that the Crusades would offer opportunities for booty
and land. This was particularly inviting to the younger sons of nobles. Under feudal tradition, the oldest
son inherited his father’s land and titles leaving little opportunity to younger brothers. The Crusades
offered these young men a chance to obtain land and titles in newly conquered territory. Italian
merchants sought profit from financing and transporting Crusader armies and hoped that success on the
battlefield would bring Christian control of lucrative trade routes. The popes hoped that the Crusades
would bring peace to Europe by uniting quarreling knights against a common enemy abroad and reinforce
the power of the papacy in secular affairs.
While the stated goals of the Crusades were only realized for a brief period the other effect of these
endeavors on Europe long endured. The Crusades stimulated Mediterranean trade. The coastal Crusader
states established in the first Crusade facilitated trade between Asia and Europe and the exposure of
Europeans to Asian goods while on Crusade increased demand for these commodities. Europeans were
also exposed to Muslim scholarship while on Crusade. This scholarship included the translated works of
many of the classical Greek philosophers. Many of these works had largely been forgotten in Europe and
were only rediscovered by Europeans by way of Arab translations. Arab, Persian, and Greek scholarship
helped spur and intellectual awakening in Europe in the early 15th century. The Crusades also helped to
undermine the feudal order in Europe. The Crusades offered opportunities to all levels of society. Kings
found greater power and influence as the armies consolidated under their leadership. Serfs gained
freedom and sometimes wealth from participating in Crusades. A few lucky nobles gained titles and land
in the short-lived Crusader States.
To the east, the Crusades left a legacy of animosity. During the fourth Crusade, motivated by economic
opportunity, Western European Christians sacked and looted Constantinople. This attack only increased
the divide between the Roman Catholic Church in the West and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Years
later in the 19th and 20th century the history of the European Crusades against the Muslim world became
a tool of Turkish and Arab nationalism.
Visit this Eyewitness to page for a primary source account of the crusades with commentary.
Visit this Khan Academy page for a student friendly reading on the impact of the crusades.
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SSWH8 Describe the diverse characteristics of societies in Central and South America.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain the rise and fall of the major medieval societies of Central
and South America. Students should be able to note similarities and differences in the development and
characteristics of each civilization noting the role of geography in cultural diffusion and the role of
regional ecology in their unique development. Further, students are expected to explain how these
societies changed over time as a result of interactions with neighbors and European conquerors.
Visit Remapping Debate to listen to a terrific interview by Kevin Brown with Charles C. Mann on
America before the arrival of Columbus.
SSWH8 Describe the diverse characteristics of societies in Central and South America.
a. Explain the rise and fall of the Mayan, Aztec, and Inca Empires.
Mayan Civilization emerged out of the cultural footprint left by the Olmec Civilization. Maize cultivation
led to the development of villages that grew into urban centers around 800 BCE. Mayan civilization fully
emerged by 250 CE. While the Mayan shared a common culture they never achieved political unity,
instead approximately 40 independent city-states dominated the region from Southern Mexico to
Honduras. Some of the more powerful states exerted authority over smaller dependent states located
nearby. The Mayan classical age lasted from about 250 CE to 900 CE.
The Mayan Civilization decline began around 800 CE when many of the urban centers were
abandoned. The reasons for the Mayan decline are unclear. Scholars suggest that possible causes could
include volcanic activity, excessive warfare, disease, overpopulation, or soil exhaustion. By 900 CE,
most Mayan cities were abandoned and the population lived in villages led by tribal chiefs.
As Mayan culture faded in 800 CE, the Toltec rose in the valley of Mexico and dominated the region
from about 800 to 1100. In the wake of the fall of the Toltec, the Aztecs migrated into the valley of
Mexico where they struggled to integrate themselves among the urban agricultural societies surrounding
Lake Texcoco in the heart of the valley of Mexico. In their early years in the valley, the Aztecs worked
as farm laborers and mercenaries for their more powerful neighbors. With time their strength grew and
they founded twin capitals, Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco, on a small island in Lake Texcoco in
1325. Around the same time the older tribal organization of leadership gave way to a monarchical system
borrowed from neighboring societies. This consolidation of leadership allowed the Aztecs to start the
process of imperial conquests which began with agricultural lands around Lake Texcoco. Once the Aztec
capitals were economically secure, they formed an alliance with two powerful city-states located on the
shores of the lake and began the process of building a vast tribute empire.
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The development of this empire was motivated by several factors. Like earlier civilizations of
Mesoamerica, the Aztec religion required regular human sacrifice with the preferred victims being
prisoners of war. This need for sacrificial victims led to almost constant “flower wars” during which
Aztecs would capture warriors from neighboring regions to deliver to the priests of Tenochtitlan for
sacrifice. Another motivation was the fact that political power and social status was based on the success
of these campaigns. Aztec emperors were compelled by tradition to legitimize their rule with successful
wars of conquest. While much of the Aztec nobility was hereditary, commoners and nobles alike could
earn social promotion by successfully securing captives in battle. Finally, these wars served an economic
function by building a vast tribute empire that subsidized the cities of Tenochtitlan and
Tlatelolco. Subject people within the vast Aztec empire were required to send the capitals regular
payments of maize, beans, cotton cloth, jade, gold and sacrificial victims.
In 1502 Montezuma II became the emperor of the Aztecs. By this point, the tribute demands that the
Aztecs placed on their subjects was breeding resentment and instability. Montezuma instituted reforms to
try and quell the unrest but this came too late. In 1519 Hernán Cortés arrived on the coast of Mexico with
600 conquistados. Shortly after arrival Cortés met La Malinche, a native woman who served as his
translator. With La Malinche’s help, the Spanish learned of both the vast wealth in the Aztec capital of
Tenochtitlan and the widespread anger among the Aztec subjects. Cortés was able to use this anger to
establish alliances with native armies as he marched toward the Aztec capital. Cortés entered
Tenochtitlan in 1521, claiming that he came in peace. Montezuma may have initially welcomed Cortés
into the capital because of rumors that he was the god Quetzalcoatl. Aztec prophecies predicted
Quetzalcoatl return and some may have believed that Cortés was the fulfillment of this prophecy. Once in
the city, the Spanish took Montezuma hostage and began looting the palace. The Aztecs and their
remaining allies were initially able to drive the Spanish from the city but their success was short
lived. The Spanish had several advantages that proved insurmountable to the Aztecs. Native allies gave
the Spanish a numeric advantage. Smallpox, spread by the Spanish, devastated the densely populated
cities of the valley of Mexico. Steel weapons, horses, war dogs, guns, and armor also proved helpful to
the Spanish in their defeat of the Aztecs. In August of 1521 the Spanish ended the Aztec Empire.
The Incan Empire (more properly called Tawantinsuyu) grew out of the economic and cultural footprint
of the Chaven (c. 900 BCE to 200 BCE), Moche (c. 100 to 800) and Wari (c. 500 to 1000)
civilizations. In the early 1400s, the Inca were one of several competing military powers in the southern
highlands of Peru. In this early stage of their history, the Inca were organized into chiefdoms based on
kinship groups. In about 1430 Wiraqocha Inka began to consolidate his power over these groups and
established a hereditary monarchical system of government centered in Cuzco. Once firmly in power,
Wiraqocha Inka began a period of imperial conquest that lasted until about 1525. Early conquests by the
Inca may have been motivated by drought or military threats from rival states to the west or south. Over
time, the motivation shifted to the desire to capture booty and eventually territory. Pre-Incan civilizations
of the Andean Region learned early on how to exploit the microclimates that range from the coast to the
mountain valleys to the rainforests of the interior. Incan imperial ambition was driven by the desire to
take control of enough territory to allow the exploitation of all of these microclimates. The system of
political legitimacy that justified the power of Incan emperors also motivated imperial conquest. Upon an
emperor’s death political power would pass to the most able son but the wealth (mostly in the form of
vast agricultural estates like Ollantaytambo) would pass to the rest of the family. The family members
that inherited the wealth were expected to use this wealth to maintain an elaborate cult around the
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mummy of the deceased emperor. This system of split inheritance required each emperor to acquire
wealth through the conquest of new territory. By 1525 the Inca built a vast empire bound together by a
professional army and elaborate bureaucracy that managed affairs by dividing the empire into four parts
and eight districts all unified by an extensive network of roads, storehouses, garrisons, and frontier forts.
Machu Picchu’s history is a matter of debate but some historians believe that it was the royal estate of Wiraqocha Inka.
Image link
Smallpox arrived in the Andean region well before the Spanish in 1520s. The disease caused political
turmoil when it killed the emperor and led to a civil war. When the war ended, Atahulpa became emperor
but his hold on power remained tenuous. In 1530 Francisco Pizarro arrived with 180 Spanish
Conquistadors. He was able to use the political instability to his advantage and captured
Atahulpa. Pizarro and his men executed Atahulpa which caused even greater political instability in the
empire and allowed the Spanish to take the city of Cuzco in 1533. By 1536, the Spanish defeated the last
Incan rebellion and took control of the Inca’s empire.

Visit this NOVA page for an interactive history of the rise of the Inca.
Visit this Gale site for a student friendly explanation of the rise of the Aztecs.
Visit this site from NASA that explains the fall of the Maya.
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Standard -SSWH8 Describe the diverse characteristics of societies in Central and South
b. Compare and contrast the Mayan, Aztec, and Incan societies, include: religion, culture, economics,
politics, and technology.
The Mayan, Aztec, and Incan civilizations were all polytheistic with an emphasis on the worship of the
sun. This focus on the worship of the sun led to the development of elaborate and quite accurate
calendars in all three societies. Faith in each of these civilizations required elaborate rituals that included
sacrifice. Human sacrifice was most common in the Aztec Empire, with thousands of prisoners or war,
criminals, slaves, and people given in tribute sacrificed a year. Human sacrifice was also common in the
Mayan civilization but not done as frequently. While human sacrifice did occur in the Incan Empire, it
was uncommon. Sacrifices of camelids and textiles were much more typical. Emperors in each of these
civilizations fulfilled an important spiritual role. In the Mayan and Aztec civilizations, emperors and
other nobles were considered intermediaries to the gods. Mayan emperors and priests participated in
elaborate bloodletting rituals during which the faithful believed they were communicating with the
gods. In Incan society the emperors were considered descendants of the sun and therefore divine. As a
result, Incan emperors were revered in both life and death. All three civilizations also constructed
monumental architecture in the name of faith. The Mayan and Aztecs built tall pyramids that served as
temples and the Inca utilized expert stone work to build elaborate temples in which the walls were
covered in sheets of gold.
The Mayan, Aztec, and Incan societies were all highly stratified. Each had a hereditary nobility that
dominated the government. In the Mayan and Aztec culture this stratification included ethnic Mayans
and Aztecs with a substantial wealth gap between the elite and common peasants. Social divisions
between ethnic Inca were not as dramatic as the wealth from the empire was used to support a relatively
comfortable life for the ethnic Inca living in Cuzco. In this case, the non-Inca subject peoples of the
empire made up the underclass of peasants. In all three of these cultures, the basic unit of society was a
family based clan. In both the Incan and Aztec Empires the clan system was used by the state to allocate
civic and military duty. This system was particularly important in the Incan Empire. The basic unit of
the Incan society was the ayllu, a clan made up of a large group of people who claimed a common
ancestor. The ayllu members worked collectively to support the members and fulfill their duty to the
Agriculture was the foundation of the economy for the Maya, Aztecs, and Inca. All three depended
heavily on the cultivation of maize, beans, and squash. The Andean region’s many microclimates made
the Incan economy much more diverse. Potatoes and quinoa were staples in the Andes but not in
Mesoamerica. Pastoralism was also unique to the Inca. In the high mountain valleys of the Andes the
Inca and their subject peoples kept vast herds of llama and alpaca for meat, textiles and
transport. Commercial trade was much more common in the Mayan and Aztec civilizations than in the
Incan Empire. Several factors contributed to this difference. Each ayllu in the Incan empire controlled
territory in several different microclimates. Therefore, each family group was largely self-sufficient
making commercial trade less important. Also the Incan state used an elaborate labor tax system called
the Mit’a. This labor tax system assigned duties to each ayllu which included cultivating crops and
producing manufactured goods for urban elite further reducing the need for commercial trade. Both the
Aztec and Mayan societies had a robust merchant class that transported luxury goods over great distances
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leading to thriving markets in each major city
where merchants and common people
bartered for a great variety of goods.
While the Aztecs and Inca ruled a unified
empire the Mayan civilization was divided
into approximately 40 independent city-states
that dominated the region from Southern
Mexico to Honduras. Some of the more
powerful states exerted authority over smaller
dependent states located nearby. Each citystate was ruled by a hereditary monarch/priest
who maintained power through faith and
force. The polytheistic religion of the Maya
required regular human sacrifices. Prisoners
of war were the preferred victims of these
ritual sacrifices leading to almost constant
warfare between neighboring Mayan citystates. Success in these wars and bloodletting
rituals cemented the king’s power as he was
seen as an intermediary between the people
and the gods. Aztec emperors also had an
import spiritual role that including leading
wars for the capture of sacrificial
victims. These emperors were not hereditary
however, instead they were selected from the
noble families of the Aztec capitals by a
council of aristocrats with whom they had to
share power. Like the Maya, the Incan
emperors were hereditary and their power
was also justified by successful military
campaigns and a connection to the gods. Human sacrifice was far less common in the Incan civilization
so the wars were principally about the accumulation of land and wealth. The Incan Empire’s government
was much more centralized than the other two civilizations. The Aztec Empire utilized military force to
extract tribute in the form of material goods from subject people. While the Inca also extracted tribute, it
was in the form of labor. The Incan state took direct ownership of the land it conquered and utilized an
elaborate labor tax system called the Mit’a to direct the labor of subject people to the service of the
state. This system required a much more centralized form of administration in the Incan lands. The
empire was divided into regions with local administrators that directed the hereditary leaders of the family
clans or ayllus located within their region.
The major technological advances of the Mayan, Aztec and Inca revolved around the cultivation of
crops. All three made major advances in selective breeding, calendar making, and irrigation. They also
share major advances in stone architecture. All three built monumental architecture out of stone with the
Inca achieving an impressive level of refinement. Incan stone cutters built walls out of perfectly cut
A page from the Codex Mendoza depicting an Aztec warrior priest
and Aztec priest rising in status
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stones that interlocked and were reinforced with bronze rings allowing the buildings to withstand the
earthquakes that are common in the region. These civilizations also developed advanced systems of
record keeping. The Aztecs and Maya developed a written language that utilized hieroglyphics. The Inca
utilized a system of strings and knots called the quipu that allowed numeric record keeping.
The Inca and Aztecs developed technologies to address the unique characteristics of their homes. For the
Inca this included an elaborate system of paved roads that included suspension bridges and advanced
terracing techniques. These roads and terraces facilitated the Inca’s ability to exploit the many
microclimates of their Andean home. The Aztecs developed a complex system of dikes and aqueducts to
manage water on their island home in Lake Texcoco. Texcoco was a terminal lake with a high salt
content. Aztec engineers devised methods to control the salinity of the lake and allow the cultivation of
crops on man made islands built around their capital.
Listen to this 15 Minute History podcast from the University of Texas at Austin for an overview of the
Olmec, Maya, and Aztec (Mexica), and their contributions to human civilization.
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SSWH9 Analyze change and continuity in the Renaissance and Reformation.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain the cultural, intellectual, economic, and political changes
that occurred during the European Renaissance and Reformation. Attention should be placed on how
these changes contributed to the development of the modern culture of Europe and America. Students
should also note that some elements of European culture did not change despite the intellectual flowering
and religious upheaval of the era.
Resources: (if appropriate)
Visit this site from the European University Institute for an article on the relationship between the
Renaissance and Reformation.
SSWH9 Analyze change and continuity in the Renaissance and Reformation.
a. Explain the social, economic, and political changes that contributed to the rise of Florence.
Several factors combined to spur the growth of towns in Northern Italy. First the Crusades and later the
growth of the Mongol Empire fostered long-distance trade and outbreak of plague drove up wages and
created a demand for labor. Florence benefitted from these developments growing into an important
center for the manufacture of wool cloth in the 1300s. During this period, Florence was an independent
city-state with a republican form of government. The republic was controlled by wealthy merchants and
artisans making it an ideal place to do business. Guilds regulated trade and manufacturing to ensure
economic benefit and limited risk for members. Political independence and guild regulation fostered
continued growth resulting in Florence becoming a major financial center in the 1400s. The development
of the financial institutions of Florence was orchestrated by the Medici family who established a bank in
Florence with branches in Flanders, London and other cities of Italy. The Medici bank made major
advances in financial services including checking accounts and lending. Florence also saw the
development of shareholding companies in this period. All of these factors contributed to the
accumulation of vast wealth by many of the citizens of Florence. The wealthiest of all was Cosimo de
Medici who used his wealth and control of the banking industry to take control of the government. While
Cosimo de Medici maintained the appearance of a republic he ruled Florence as a dictator. This
continued under his son Lorenzo de Medici. Under Medici leadership, Florence continued to thrive as a
center of commerce. The vast wealth held by the residents of Florence funded major cultural
developments in art and architecture.
Visit this page from the Khan Academy for a student friendly history of Florence in the Renaissance.
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Standard -SSWH9 Analyze change and continuity in the Renaissance and Reformation.
b. Identify artistic and scientific achievements of the Renaissance.
During the Medieval period sculpture and painting were considered the work of tradesman. Most of the
work was commissioned by the church and was limited to the depiction of scenes from the bible. The
techniques used were generally very rudimentary leading to the production of painting and sculptures that
were fairly simple and relied heavily on symbolism to convey their meaning.
This pattern changed with the Renaissance which started in Italy and later spread to Northern
Europe. Wealth patrons in Italy willing to pay for high quality works inspired a new approach to the
arts. Artist like Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci found inspiration in the Greek and
Roman use of realism and approached the visual arts as an intellectual pursuit. This new approach led to
major advances in techniques like the use of perspective and shading. Highly realistic paintings like da
Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Raphael’s School of Athens conveyed human emotion, movement, and space in a
way that had never been done before. In sculpture, Michelangelo’s David depicted muscle tone, bone
structure and emotion in marble.
Raphael’s School of Athens
Literature also took a turn to the realistic. Authors like Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Shakespeare wrote
stories steeped in human emotion. Authors began to move away from the tradition of writing in Latin and
instead chose the much more accessible vernacular of their homes.
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This period also saw advances in other intellectual pursuits. In the eleventh century, Greek manuscripts
were reintroduced to Europe. Much of this work had been lost in Europe after the fall of Rome but it was
preserved and built upon in the Arab world. When this work was reintroduced to Europe and translated
into Latin it inspired European intellectuals to pursue studies in mathematics, medicine, geography and
science. A renewed interest in scientific inquiry led to the growth of colleges in the 1200s and the
development of modern universities in the 1300s.
Visit this site from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for examples for Renaissance art with descriptions.
Visit this Khan Academy site for an interactive explanation of the Renaissance.
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SSWH9 Analyze change and continuity in the Renaissance and Reformation.
c. Explain the main characteristics of humanism.
Medieval European intellectual life was dominated by the study of the bible and the pursuit of
salvation. While intellectuals of the Renaissance remained devotedly Catholic a new intellectual
movement encouraged individuals to also pursue secular concerns. The Humanist argued that the faithful
could live an enjoyable life full of worldly pleasures without offending God. Humanism was inspired by
the Greek classics and focused on the study of history, literature, and philosophy (called the
Humanities). The movement idealized intellectual curiosity and versatility and celebrated human
potential and achievement.
Visit the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy for a detailed explanation of humanism.
SSWH9 Analyze change and continuity in the Renaissance and Reformation.
d. Explain the importance of Gutenberg and the invention of the printing press.
Block printing and moveable type was developed in
China and Korea between the 9th and 12th century. This
technology along with papermaking diffused to Europe
in the 1300 and 1400s. Around 1450 three key
innovations in the process were combined by Johann
Gutenberg of Mainz, moveable type, the printing press,
and ink suitable for printing on paper. This
breakthrough allowed Gutenberg to efficiently print
books. In 1454 he completed the first printed book in
Europe, the Gutenberg Bible. The technology took hold
rapidly in Europe with 10 million printed books
produced by presses in 238 towns by 1500. This
printing boom contributed to the growth of Humanism,
the development of universities, the Protestant
Reformation, and increased literacy across the
Visit for a great article on the global significance of printing.
Early European Printing Press from the Dictionnaire
encyclopédique Trousset
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SSWH9 Analyze change and continuity in the Renaissance and Reformation.
e. Analyze the impact of the Protestant Reformation, include: the ideas of Martin Luther and John
During the medieval period the Catholic Church based in Rome and under the leadership of the pope
served as a major source of unity for Europeans, however this began to change in the 1500s. The
Renaissance emphasis on individualism and secular pursuits laid the foundation for a major change in the
religious landscape of Europe. Some Catholic clergy, in part influenced by the ideas of the Renaissance,
began to live lavishly off of the moneys collected by the church. The clergy had access to vast amounts
of wealth in the form of church tithes, rents collected from church lands, and business ventures operated
by Catholic monasteries. Many clergy members used this wealth to live lavish lifestyles that alienated
church leadership from the laity. This alienation was further aggravated by the presences many poorly
educated priests and monks. This situation led to
widespread frustration among church members. In
1517 Pope Leo X authorized the sale of indulgences to
fund the rebuilding of Saint Peter’s Cathedral in
Rome. An indulgence served as a pardon for sins,
allowing the purchaser to avoid the penance or “good
works” normally required by believers for
forgiveness. While an indulgence was not supposed to
replace God’s right to judge, Catholics were given the
impression that they could purchase a free pass to
heaven for themselves or a loved one.
The sale of indulgences provoked Martin Luther, a
Catholic monk, to act. On October 31, 1517 Martin
Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of a church in
Wittenberg, Saxony (part of modern Germany). In this
document, Luther explained his grievances with the
corruption he saw in the Catholic Church. The 95
Theses was taken to a printer and circulated widely in
the German states. Luther quickly gained a vast
following of discontented believers. The monk went
on to develop a theology that undermined the authority
of the Catholic clergy. These beliefs included
justification by faith. According to this principle,
believers could win forgiveness with faith alone, no
“good works” or penance was required. Further,
Luther argued that the only true source of religious
truth was the Bible arguing that lay people could study the Bible and become righteous Christians without
the help of the Catholic clergy. Initially, Luther hoped to draw attention to the corruption in the church
in the hopes of bringing about reform but the pope’s response drove Luther out of the church all
together. In January of 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated and thereafter a new Christian faith
was born: Lutheranism. With time and after much violence much of what is today northern Germany and
Scandinavia became Lutheran.
Pamphlet against Luther as a seven-headed monster;
from: Otto Henne am Rhyn: cultural history of the German
people , Second Volume, Berlin 1897, p.17
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Martin Luther’s protest inspired many others including John Calvin who published Institutes of the
Christian Religion in 1536. In this work, Calvin developed a theology that argued that humanity was
sinful by nature and that God predetermined which people would achieve salvation at the beginning of
time. Calvin argued that the “elect” (people chosen by God for Heaven) should come together a form a
utopian community free of sin. Calvin helped build this community in Geneva Switzerland in the
1540s. Calvin’s success in Geneva inspired others to take his faith to other regions. The Presbyterians of
Scotland, the Huguenots of France, and the Puritans of England were all born out of Calvinist
Visit Fordham University’s Internet Sourcebook for a variety of primary sources related to the
Watch this Crash Course World History for a quick lesson on Martin Luther.

YouTube video

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SSWH9 Analyze change and continuity in the Renaissance and Reformation.
f. Describe the English Reformation, include: the role of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
While Martin Luther and John Calvin abandoned the Catholic Church for spiritual reasons, Henry VIII
was motivated by political and personal concerns. The Tudor Dynasty of Henry the VIII came to power
after a bloody civil war that resulted from the lack of a male heir. Henry VIII was determined to avoid
this fate. After 18 years of marriage to Catherine of Aragon the king only had one daughter,
Mary. Catherine was by now 42 years old and Henry was convinced that she would bare no more
children. Under Catholic law divorce was impossible but Henry could ask the pope to annul the marriage
if it was entered into illegally. In 1527 Henry asked the pope for an annulment based on Catherine’s
previous marriage to Henry’s brother. The pope refused in part because of pressure from Catherine’s
nephew the Holy Roman Empire. Henry responded by asking the English Parliament to pass legislation
ending the pope’s authority in England and granting Henry the right to divorce Catherine. In 1533 Henry
divorced Catherine and married Anne Boleyn. A year later the English Parliament passed the Act of
Supremacy officially making Henry VIII the head of the church of England and ending England’s
association with the Catholic Church.
In this image Henry VIII gives power to his son Edward while the pope lays slumped and ignored at his feet.
Edward VI and the Pope: An Allegory of the Reformation. National Portrait Gallery, London.
Anne Boleyn gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, and shortly after fell out of favor with the king. She was
found guilty of treason and beheaded in 1536. Henry immediately married Jane Seymour who gave birth
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to a son, Edward, in 1537. Seymour died from complications during the birth of Edward and Henry went
on to marry three more women but none of these marriages resulted in children.
Henry VIII died in 1547 leaving the throne to Edward who was just nine years old and very
sickly. Edward died six years later leaving the throne to his oldest sister Mary. Mary was a Catholic and
attempted to restore Catholicism to England, while she was partially successful her reign ended with her
unexpected death in 1558. Elizabeth, a protestant, assumed the throne permanently established the
monarch of England as the head of the English Church. Elizabeth worked to establish a church for
England that would serve as a compromise between the Catholics and Protestants. The Anglican Church,
as it came to be called, included many of the rituals and trappings of Catholicism but services were
delivered in English and the Bible was translated into English, something very important to
Protestants. This compromise secured Protestantism in England.
Visit this BBC website for a history of Henry VIII.
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SSWH9 Analyze change and continuity in the Renaissance and Reformation.
g. Describe the Counter Reformation at the Council of Trent and the role of the Jesuits.
After losing much of Northern Europe to Protestant faiths, the Catholic Church responded with the
Counter Reformation. The Counter Reformation was a movement orchestrated by top clergy to clarify
church doctrine, increase membership and curb corruption. Between 1534 and 1563 the Catholic Church
made several moves to accomplish these goals. First, the pope authorized the creation of a new monastic
order known as the Jesuits. The Jesuit order accomplished three important tasks for the Church. First it
established a network of schools that vastly improved the quality of the clergy serving in the
Church. Next it organized missions to convert non-Christians to Catholicism and lastly the Jesuits slowed
the spread of Protestantism in Europe. In 1545 the pope called the Council of Trent, a meeting of
Catholic bishops and cardinals to establish a unified response to the Protestant threat. The Council
concluded that the majority of established Church doctrine was legitimate. This included the belief that
the Catholic clergies’
interpretation of the Bible was
final and not open to
discussion with laypersons,
faith alone was not enough for
salvation, believers must also
do good works to achieve
salvation (a direct rejection of
Luther’s Justification by
Faith), and Church doctrine
was equal to the Bible as a
source of religious truth. The
Council of Trent did
acknowledge that corruption
was a problem including the
circulation of misinformation
about the power of
indulgences. While the
Church refused to reject
indulgences outright, they did
call for reform in the promises
made to purchasers. In the
end the Counter Reformation,
or the Catholic Reformation as
it is also called, slowed the spread of the Protestant Reformation and secured Catholicism in much of
Southern Europe.
Visit this website created by the Jesuit Order for more information on their history and modern mission.
Council of Trent in Santa Maria Maggiore church,
Museo Diocesano Tridentino, Trento (Italy)
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SSWH10 Analyze the causes and effects of exploration and expansion into the Americas, Africa,
and Asia.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain the economic and religious motives for European
exploration and colonization from 15th to the 17th century. This should include the desire to access
Asian markets, exploit tropical agriculture, mine precious metals, and spread Christianity. Additionally
students should explore the technology that made this colonization possible. Students are also expected
to explain the effects of the European colonization of the Americas and Africa and the establishment of
European trading enclaves in Asia. Instruction should focus on the economic effects including the rise of
trans-Atlantic trade, the ecological effects including the Columbian exchange, the social effects including
growth of chattel slavery and political effects including the fall of indigenous empires in America and the
rise of European maritime empires.
Watch this Crash Course World History video for a quick overview of the age of exploration.
YouTube video

SSWH10 Analyze the causes and effects of exploration and expansion into the Americas, Africa,
and Asia.
a. Explain the roles of explorers and conquistadors.
The European maritime exploration that followed 1450 upset the known world, ending American
isolation and bringing about greater global interaction. It began with Prince Henry “The Navigator” of
Portugal who encouraged his country’s maritime exploration to the South, aiming to sail around Africa to
gain access to the Asian spice trade. In 1488, Bartolomeu Dias sailed around the southern tip of Africa,
followed by Vasco DaGama who sailed into the Indian Ocean, reaching India in 1498. There DaGama
established direct trade with India, bypassing the Italian and Muslim merchants who controlled the
overland trade routes.
Inspired by Portugal’s maritime success, Christopher Columbus looked for a shorter route to India by
heading West through the Atlantic instead of South around Africa. Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain
funded his exploration, motivated by the search for wealth and the desire to spread Christianity in
Asia. In 1492, Columbus landed in the Caribbean, believing that he had found his way to Asia, not
realizing that two continents stood in his way.
Following Columbus’ expedition, Europeans continued to look for ways through and around the New
World. In 1513, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, of Spain, crossed Panama, reaching the Pacific Ocean and
confirming that the New World was not part of Asia. Ferdinand Magellan, also sailing for Spain, further
settled the matter when he sailed around the southern tip of South America and sailed across the Pacific
Ocean to the Philippines.
For their part, English, French, and Dutch explorers began to look for a Northwest Passage to
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Asia. These included Jacques Cartier who explored the St. Lawrence River and Henry Hudson who
explored the Hudson River.
Spain’s continued exploration and conquest of the Americas set up its Golden Age that lasted until the
mid-1660s. In 1519, Hernan Cortez sailed to Mexico and conquered the Aztecs. Francisco Pizarro
traveled south to conquer the Incan Empire, claiming land for Spain from Ecuador to Chile. These
unlikely victories were made possible with the help of local dissidents, guns, horses, and a smallpox
epidemic that severely weakened the Amerindians. These conquests were notable for the ways the
Spanish plundered resources and forced conversion to Christianity.
The Age of Exploration
Visit this site from Houghton Mifflin Company for an interactive map of exploration.
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SSWH10 Analyze the causes and effects of exploration and expansion into the Americas, Africa,
and Asia.
b. Analyze the global, economic, and cultural impact of the Columbian Exchange.
The Columbian Exchange refers to the massive transfer of people, animals, plants, technology, language,
and diseases between the Old World and the New World. European settlers to the New World brought
African slaves with them. They also introduced wheat and grapes to the Americas, as well as cattle,
chickens, horses, and sheep, which
dramatically changed the cultures of
the Amerindians. For example, horses
gave the Plains Indians a greater
advantage when hunting buffalo. The
diseases that Europeans brought to the
New World, including smallpox,
measles, and influenza, devastated the
Amerindian populations.
The New World provided the Old
World with gold and silver, which
strengthened European
economies. The New World also gave
important high-calorie foods including
potatoes, corn, and manioc, in
addition to tomatoes, pumpkins, and
peppers, that became staples of Old
World diets. Historians suggest that
these high-calorie foods are one key
cause of the population growth that occurs in the Old World in this time period.
Visit Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History for an article by Alfred Crosby the man who coined
the term Columbian Exchange. This is an essential read for anyone teaching the Columbian Exchange.
Watch this Crash Course World History for a quick overview of the Columbian Exchange.
YouTube video

16th century drawing of Aztec smallpox victims demonstrate the impact of the
Columbian Exchange
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SSWH10 Analyze the causes and effects of exploration and expansion into the Americas, Africa,
and Asia.
c. Explain the role of improved technology in exploration.
Europeans’ efforts to explore oceans and new lands were aided by the development of four key
technologies. Cartographers developed the skills to create more accurate maps. Europeans also learned
how to use the astrolabe, a technology adopted from the Greeks and Arabs, which allowed them to
determine latitude at sea. Thirdly, they built better ships, called caravels, which were nimbler and sturdier
for ocean travel. This ship design combined the square sails of European ships with the triangular sails of
Arab dhows, and moved the rudder from the side to the rear of the ship, making it easier to sail into the
wind. Finally, use of the magnetic compass in open ocean navigation was perfected by European
navigators in this period.
European Caravels, from From Livro de Lisuarte de Abreu
Visit History Hub a history of the Age of Exploration.
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SSWH10 Analyze the causes and effects of exploration and expansion into the Americas, Africa,
and Asia.
d. Examine the effects of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on Africa and on the colonies in the Americas.
Slave trade was central to the Triangular Trade and led to the prosperity of port cities in the Americas,
Europe, and Africa. Estimates of slaves captured and transported across the Atlantic to New World
colonies run as high as 11 million, with an additional 2 million estimated lost as sea.
Europeans needing slaves for plantation labor in the New World traded muskets, tools, and textiles with
African elites for African slaves. African rulers and merchant elites remained in control of the African
continent and supplied Europeans with slaves captured
inland and brought to the coast.
The slave trade caused the decline of some African societies,
as their populations were devastated, especially of young
men and women. Other African societies rose in power as a
result of involvement in the slave trade. For example, the
Asante and Dahomey were able to prosper as slave traders
and held a strong bargaining position with the
Europeans. Some African leaders, such as King Affonso of
Kongo and the almamy of Futa Toro in northern Senegal
resisted the slave trade, though their efforts were ultimately
In the Americas, the slave trade allowed colonies in the
Caribbean, Brazil, and the south-eastern part of North
America to become huge economic successes by providing
unpaid labor on tobacco, rice, and sugar plantations. The
arrival of slaves in the Americas contributed to the
development of strict race based social hierarchies that led to
the long-term suppression of both slaves and free people of
African descent. Slaves also suffered from poor working
and living conditions; this contributed to high mortality rates
in the sugar and rice growing regions. Conditions were
slightly better in the tobacco growing regions of the
Chesapeake region. The importation of slaves to the
Americas brought a rich and vibrant African culture to the Caribbean, South America, and parts of North
America. This culture contributed to the language, diet, religion, and music of all of the of region.
Visit Remapping Debate for a terrific interview by Kevin Brown with Marcus Rediker on origin and nature of the
slave ships.
Listen to this 15 Minute History from the University of Texas at Austin for an explanation of the impact of the Slave
Trade on the Americas.
Handbill advertising a slave auction in Charleston,
South Carolina, in 1769
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SSWH11 Examine political and social changes in Japan and in China from the fourteenth century
CE/AD to mid-nineteenth century CE/AD.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain how foreign influences from Manchuria and Europe
transformed some Chinese political and social institutions and how resistance to this pressure for change
hindered China’s ability to face the growing power of European maritime empires. Students are also
expected to examine how the Japanese responded to the presence of Europeans and how this led to the
reactionary isolationist policies of the Japanese government.
View this Crash Course video for a quick overview of Chinese history.
YouTube video

SSWH11 Examine political and social changes in Japan and in China from the fourteenth century
CE/AD to mid-nineteenth century CE/AD.
a. Describe the impact of the Tokugawa Shogunate policies on the social structure of Japan.
Tokugawa Ieyasu established a feudal-style government in Japan that lasted from 1600 to 1868. The
Tokugawa Shogunate was a time of
peace and stability within
Japan. Internal trade thrived, road
systems grew, merchants and
artisans became wealthy, and cities
prospered and expanded. This was
also a time of isolation from the rest
of the world. The Tokugawa
shoguns kicked out Christian
missionaries, set strict trade
restrictions, and limited contact with
Each daimyo (lord) governed an area
and received taxes from
peasants. To maintain their power
and influence in a system of
decentralized political authority, the
Tokugawa Shoguns required
daimyos to live part time in the
capital. This put a financial burden
on the daimyos who had to travel
long distances as well as maintain
two households. Tokugawa shoguns
adopted a strict set of social classes
with the warrior class of samurai at
Japanese Shogun
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the top, followed by peasants, artisans, and merchants. Samurai, however, were not expected to fight, but
to serve as bureaucrats paid a salary from the shoguns. This left them dependent on their shoguns and
without opportunity to create independent wealth. Laws also limited women’s freedom to that allowed
by their husbands.
By the nineteenth century, the shogunate was overrun with corruption. Daimyo struggled financially to
meet the requirements of living part-time in Edo, especially since their wealth was primarily in land, not
cash. The samurai chafed in their roles as bureaucrats and lack of wealth, despite being noble. Peasants
struggled under heavy taxes, and merchants who had money, but were at the bottom of the social
structure, had no real power.
Isolation ended with the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States in the
1850s. Opponents of the deals the Tokugawa Shogunate made with the Americans and other foreigners
overthrew the shogunate and re-established an emperor, known as the Meiji Restoration.
Visit this site from the University of Colorado at Boulder for essay on Tokugawa Japan.
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SSWH11 Examine political and social changes in Japan and in China from the fourteenth century
CE/AD to mid-nineteenth century CE/AD.
b. Describe the impact of the Qing and Ming Dynasty policies on the social structure of China.
Together the Ming and Qing dynasties ruled China for over 500 years. The Ming dynasty, established in
1368 after kicking out the Mongols, aimed to restore China to its former greatness. Early emperors
financed sea-faring missions to India, Arabia, and Africa demonstrating the prowess of the Chinese sea
power in the early 15th century. This naval power was abandoned by later emperors who instead focused
their resources on strengthening the northern frontier. This included work on the Great Wall of China,
encouraging soldiers to migrate to the north, and relocating the capital to Beijing.
Ming emperors restored Confucianism and the civil service system. Social classes were set with the
scholar-gentry at the top. These were landed nobles who filled positions in the government. Farmers
were next in the social order followed by artisans and merchants at the bottom. The Ming emperors
repaired the canal system, and oversaw a period of growth in arts and literature as well as the economy
including both agriculture and specialized manufacturing. They also limited trade with the Europeans to a
single trading post near Canton under imperial supervision.
Qing Era facility for the administration of civil service exams, John Clark Ridpath (1899). Royal Photograph Gallery. p. 107.
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In the early 1600s, the Manchu people captured part of Mongolia and Korea, and then in 1644 conquered
Beijing, beginning the Qing dynasty, which lasted until 1912. The Qing emperors were Manchu, not
Chinese, but ruled in the traditional Confucian style, continuing many of the Ming policies. They kept
Manchu and Chinese people separate, however. Qing emperors required Manchu people to learn Manchu
language and culture, and prohibited Chinese people from migrating to Manchuria. They also required
Chinese men to wear their hair in a queue as symbol of their submission to the Manchu.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Qing government struggled to meet the demands of its
booming population. Corruption increased, and the canal system deteriorated leading to floods and
famines. The Qing emperors also faced increasing pressure from the West to open to foreign trade. In
1796, peasants rebelled, led by the Buddhist White Lotus Society. The government restored order, but
was severely weakened. Frequent rebellions followed throughout the next century, including the Taiping
Rebellion which lasted from 1850-1864.
Visit this Khan Academy site for a student friendly history of Ming China.
Visit this site from Columbia University for a overview of the Ming and Qing economy and the role of
international trade.
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SSWH12 Describe the development and contributions of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal
Overview: Students will be expected to explain how the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals combined
traditional military technologies with innovations that included the use of gunpowder weapons to build
large empires with exceptionally centralized governments. Students should explore how each of these
empires contributed to trans-regional trade and intellectual development. Further, students should explain
how the geographic scope of the empires contributed to the diversity of the population which fostered
cultural development and political innovations.
Watch these Crash Course World History videos for quick overviews of Ottoman and Mughal Empires
YouTube video

YouTube video

SSWH12 Describe the development and contributions of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal
a. Describe the development and geographical extent of the Ottoman, Safavid, and the Mughal
The 14th and 15th centuries saw the rise of both land and
maritime empires. Both the maritime empires of the
Europeans and the land empires of the Muslims learned to
successfully weaponize gunpowder. While the Chinese
and Mongols had used gunpowder in combat in the past, it
was the empires of the 13th and 14th century that utilized
it with great success. Cannons blew down the ancient
walls that protected cities leading to a new age in military
conflict. Walls could no longer secure a king or emperor’s
hold on territory. The Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal
empires combined the use of gunpowder weapons with
more traditional cavalry armed with composite bows with
great success.
In the early 1300s, the Ottomans took over most of
Anatolia before quickly moving into Europe and securing
the Balkans within the century. Timur, a Turko-Mongol
leader challenged their expansion in 1402, when he
captured the Sultan and took territory. This led to a civil
war in the Ottoman Empire, after which Murad II gained
power and began another period of expansion continued by
Mehmed II who captured Constantinople, renaming it
Istanbul. Suleyman “the Magnificent” presided over the
Ottoman Janissary, Herzog August Bibliothek
Wolfenbüttel, 1703
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Ottoman Empire’s golden age. At its height, the Empire reached into Europe, including Hungary and
nearly Vienna. It controlled most of Eastern Europe, west into the Caucasus Mountains, Mesopotamia,
around to parts of Arabia, and Northern Africa along the Mediterranean Sea. Importantly, it controlled
the link between Europe and Asia at Gallipoli on the Dardanelles strait.
The Safavid Empire was bounded on the West by the Ottomans and on the East by the Mughals. It
encompassed much of current-day Iran, and parts of Iraq. The Safavids lost territory in the 1500s to the
Ottomans and Uzbeks. In 1587, Abbas the Great came to power and reformed the military, modeling it
after the Ottoman military, including the use of slave-soldiers loyal only to the Shah. He defeated the
Uzbeks in 1598 and in subsequent years, regained all territory that had been lost. He moved the capital to
Isfahan and built it into a great economic, religious, and political center. After his death in 1629, the
empire declined for the next century when the last Safavid ruler abdicated in 1722.
The Mughal Empire began in 1526 when Babur attacked and conquered the Turkish Muslims in Delhi,
gaining control of the city and surrounding area. The empire lasted without significant external threat
until 1857. Akbar, Babur’s grandson, managed to achieve peace and loyalty from the Hindu Indian
population by marrying one of the Rajput princesses and giving Rajputs government positions. He also
removed the head tax levied on all non-Muslims. The Mughal Empire reached its height during the reign
of Shah Jahan who secured almost all of India, except for a portion in the South. His son, Aurangzeb,
seized power and instituted a strict observance of Islamic law. He ended religious toleration, taxing
Hindus and destroying their temples. This created a costly civil war between Muslims and Hindus that
drained the empire’s finances and led to peasant revolts against increased taxes that combined to weaken
the empire.
Read this article from the Gettysburg Historical Journal for a history of the role gunpowder and composite
bows in rise of the Ottoman Empire.
Visit this site for a detailed article on the use of slave soldiers in the Ottoman Empire.
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SSWH12 Describe the development and contributions of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal
b. Describe the cultural contributions of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires.
In the Ottoman Empire, social classes were not fixed by birth, but individuals could move between the
two classes based on merit. The Ottomans also accommodated for religious diversity. Non-Muslims
lived in separate religious communities called millets. They remained under the Sultan’s rule, but had
their own governments, laws, customs, courts, and taxes. Millets were also responsible for their own
education and safety. As Sultan, Suleyman improved the justice system, built fortresses, roads, bridges
and mosques. He supported the arts, which thrived under his rule, including detailed miniatures and
illuminated manuscripts.
When Ismail declared himself Shah of the Safavid Empire in the early 1500s, he also switched from
Sunni Muslim to Shi’ite, and decreed that his subjects must similarly convert. This transformation was
enforced through a century of wars and persecutions, but it succeeded in giving Persians an identity
distinct from their Sunni neighbors.
Shah Abbas the Great who ruled the Safavid Empire from 1587 to 1629 centralized the government,
encouraged foreign trade and manufacturing, especially carpet weaving and luxurious fabrics. He
strengthened the economy by lowering taxes on farmers and herders. He built Isfahan into a world-class
city with wide streets, a large central square, mosques, monuments, public baths and open markets. Shah
Abbas tolerated non-Muslims, for example, bringing Armenian Christians to the capital to grow the silk
trade and allowing them to govern themselves. He also welcomed artists, poets, and scholars at court.
The Mughal Empire under Akbar experienced a flourishing economy as a result of his improved tax
system that was based on a village’s 10-year average production and allowed for no taxes during lean
years. Akbar was tolerant of all religions and supported both Hindu and Muslim arts, including a
blending of Persian, Islamic, and Hindu styles in architecture. This is best exemplified in the Taj Mahal
built by Shah Jahan. Sikh faith also emerged out of this blending of Muslim and Hindu
cultures. Aurangzeb, in contrast to the rulers before him, ended government spending on lavish buildings,
imposed Islamic law throughout the empire, and persecuted non-Muslims.
Visit these sites from the BBC for a brief history of the Safavid Empire and Mughal Empire..
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SSWH13 Examine the intellectual, political, social, and economic factors that changed the
worldview of Europeans from the sixteenth century CE/AD to the late eighteenth century CE/AD.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain how and why Europe experienced an intellectual
awakening in the sixteenth century that led to a scientific revolution. Students are expected to explain
how this scientific revolution led to the decline of superstition and the rise of reason in European
intellectual circles and how this contributed to modern scientific processes. Further, students are expected
to link these scientific advances to the rise of Enlightenment philosophies on the proper role of
government in people’s lives. Students should explain how the ideas of Enlightenment philosophers were
a radical deviation from traditional 17th and 18th century political theory and how it laid the groundwork
for modern republican, federal, and democratic forms of government.
Visit this site from the Ohio State University for information and lesson plans on the Scientific
Revolution and Enlightenment.
SSWH13 Examine the intellectual, political, social, and economic factors that changed the
worldview of Europeans from the sixteenth century CE/AD to the late eighteenth century CE/AD.
a. Explain the scientific contributions of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton and how these ideas
changed the European worldview.
Nicolaus Copernicus, a Polish scientist, published his argument for a helio- or sun-centered universe in
1543. Although his work received little notice, it importantly abandoned Ptolemy’s geo- or earthcentered construction of the universe that had been the
accepted understanding since the AD100s. His case
for the helio-centered universe denied experience: one
could see the sun moving around the earth and
couldn’t feel the earth moving at all.
More than 60 years later, Johannes Kepler, a Danish
mathematician tested and proved Copernicus’ idea
using models and mathematics. He also discovered
that planets orbit the sun, not in a circle, but in an
oval-shaped ellipse.
In Italy, Galileo Galilei looked in his telescope and, for
the first time, saw mountains and valleys on the moon,
spots on the sun, rings around Saturn, and moons
orbiting Jupiter. He thus further proved that not
everything in the universe revolved around the
earth. He also disproved Aristotle by demonstrating
that all objects fall at the same rate. His work,
Copernican heliocentrism theory diagram
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published in 1632, created an uproar in European society. His challenge to the ancient worldview and
church teachings was so upsetting that he was tried before the Inquisition and forced to recant his
English scientist, Isaac Newton, built on the work of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo in the 1680s. He
realized that the same force, gravity, that made objects fall to the earth also kept the planets in their orbits
around the sun. He explained the laws of motion and developed mathematics to measure motion.
With the discoveries of these scientists, educated Europeans no longer believed the universe was being
held in place and order by God. They had to abandon ancient views of the universe and long-standing
church doctrine. Instead, they began to acknowledge the workings of physics and new understandings
brought about by the Scientific Revolution.
Visit this page from for readings and lectures on the Scientific Revolution.
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SSWH13 Examine the intellectual, political, social, and economic factors that changed the
worldview of Europeans from the sixteenth century CE/AD to the late eighteenth century CE/AD.
b. Identify the major ideas of the Enlightenment from the writings of Locke, Voltaire, and Rousseau,
and their relationship to politics and society.
John Locke, an English philosopher who lived through the English Civil War, argued that a contract
existed between government and people. In this contract, the people gave up some rights to the
government, but kept their “natural rights” of life, liberty, and property. The government, in turn, existed
to protect these natural rights, which were superior to all laws and governments. Accordingly, Locke
rejected absolute monarchy as a form of government. He believed individual rights are the foundation of
society, argued for private property, and stood against taxation without representation. He also believed
that subjects had the right to overthrow an oppressive government.
Voltaire, a French writer, used wit and satire to criticize the French monarchy, nobility, and church
control. He wrote against the slave trade, inequality, prejudice, and bigotry. He vigorously defended
religious freedom and the freedom of speech.
In contrast to other Enlightenment thinkers, Jean-Jacques Rousseau did not trust reason. He also stood
against strong governments. He argued that while some government control is necessary, such rule
should be kept to a minimum. Moreover, governments should be freely elected, and the collective good
should be valued above that of individuals.
These Enlightenment thinkers heavily influenced revolutionaries around the world, including in America
and France.
Visit this site from Khan Academy for a student friendly guide to the Enlightenment.
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SSWH14 Analyze the Age of Revolutions.
Overview: Students will be expected to analyze the cause and effect of the disproportional distribution of
political power and financial obligations to the state in a society. Students should explore the relationship
between taxation and the distribution of power in society and understand that when a segment of the
population is alienated from power but expected to make economic contributions to the state or elite in
the form of taxation or labor revolution will very likely ensue. Students should also understand that
societies that disproportionately allocated resources to a minority of the population are also prone to
revolution. Further, students should explore the pattern of revolution and counter-revolution to
understand that dramatic change in a society frequently inspires a backlash that is often violent and may
restore, at least to some extent, that society to a pre-revolutionary status quo. In this unit, student will
examine these patterns primarily in France with other examples provided in England, Russia, and the
Watch these Crash Course World History videos for brief overviews of the major revolutions of the age.
YouTube video

YouTube video

YouTube video

YouTube video

SSWH14 Analyze the Age of Revolutions.
a. Examine absolutism through a comparison of the reigns of Louis XIV and Tsar Peter the Great.
Medieval European feudalism had placed the majority of political power in the hands of a vast and
diverse landed nobility. Beginning in the 1300s the kings of Europe began to consolidate their power and
by the late 1600s some kings, include King Louis XIV of France were able to wield almost total power
over their states.
Louis XIV became king at age of four in 1643. In his youth the nobility of France violently resisted his
minister’s attempt to consolidate political power in the name of the king. At times, this violence was so
severe that it threatened the life of the young king. In 1661 Louis assumed power over government. With
the memories of riots and rebellious nobles fresh on his mind, Louis was determined to consolidate his
power over the state.
Louis’s power was threatened by three groups: the common people of France who could be quite
dangerous when moved to rioting, the Catholic clergy, and the landed nobility. Louis devised effective
strategies to deal with each of these threats. To deal with the threat of riotous commoners, Louis simply
moved his palace out of their reach. In 1682, Louis moved his court and center of government to a
enormous palace twelve miles outside of Paris called Versailles. The remote location of Versailles helped
keep Louis safe from rebellious commoners. The loyalty of the Catholic clergy was solidified in 1685
when Louis announced the repeal of the Edict of Nantes, an 87-year-old decree of religious tolerance that
allowed Protestants to worship freely. Louis’s repeal of the Edict drove protestants out of France, hurting
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the economy but pleasing Catholic leadership. The biggest challenge to Louis’s power was the
nobility. Louis implemented a number of strategies to deal with them. First, Louis replaced most of his
government officials with commoners called intendants. The intendants were much easier to control
because they owed their status and power to Louis’s generosity and they could be dismissed, arrested and
in extreme cases executed at will. Intendants collected taxes, administered justice, and served as the
king’s council. To further control the nobility, Louis pressured the nobles to live at the Palace of
Versailles with him. The enormous palace could house up to ten thousand people and its large staff
organized lavish banquets, dances, and games that kept the nobility too busy to cause any trouble for the
king. Historians have called the Palace of Versailles the amusement park of absolutism for its ability to
neutralize potential threats to the king with entertainment.
Louis XIV Palace of Versailles by Pierre Patel of the Palace of Versailles circa 1668
Like Louis XIV, Peter the Great of Russia came to power during a period of political consolidation. The
Romanovs of Russia like the Bourbons of France spent generations slowly wrestling power from a feudal
nobility. Like Louis, Peter managed to build an absolutist state in which he wielded almost total
power. However, the challenges that faced Peter were far greater than those that faced Louis. When
Louis XIV came to power in 1643, France was already one of the most powerful countries in Europe with
a modern army and navy and colonies in North America. Russia was only tenuously linked to the outside
world by a small community of Dutch and German merchants in Moscow and a single port that was
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frozen most of the year in Archangel. Russian society was still dominated by feudal tradition with a large
and powerful landed nobility known as boyars who still depended on serfdom for labor. Like Louis,
Peter’s power was threatened by this nobility and the Church clergy, in this case Eastern Orthodox instead
of the Roman Catholic. Unlike Louis however, Peter also faced the challenge of geographic isolation and
a need to modernize technologically, politically, and economically.
As a young man, Peter spent a great deal of time exploring the neighborhoods of Moscow were foreign
merchants resided. From this experience he learned that Russia would have to look to the west instead of
the east in the future. Shortly after taking power in 1696 Peter set off on a grand tour of
Europe. Traveling in disguise, Peter studied the military, political structures, economy and cultures of the
European states. Upon returning to Russia, Peter instituted a series of reforms to modernize and
Westernize Russia and consolidate his power. To modernize and Westernize Russian society Peter
established a newspaper, elevated the status of Russian noblewomen, ordered Russian boyars to wear
European style dress and shave their traditional beards, and established schools of navigation, arts, and
science with European trained faculties.
To consolidate his power over the nobility, Peter used a similar strategy as Louis XIV. Just as Louis
removed the nobility from government positions and replaced them with intendants drawn from the
commoners. Peter removed the nobles of the most powerful families from his government and council of
advisors and replaced them with men from lesser families. He rewarded these new appointees with
generous land grants which won their loyalty and respect. To deal with the power of the Orthodox
Church, Peter abolished the position of patriarch, the traditional head of the church and replaced it with a
Holy Synod that was directly under his control. With power firmly in his hands, Peter modernized the
Russian army and built a navy which allowed Russia to take territory from Sweden and establish a warm
water port at St. Petersburg. Peter ordered that the city at his new port be built in the western Baroque
style as it would serve as his modern capital and “window on Europe”
Visit the website of Palace of Versailles for history, slideshows, and interactive maps.
Visit this site from the University of Boston for information and links related to Peter the Great.
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Standard -SSWH14 Analyze the Age of Revolutions.
b. Identify the causes and results of the revolutions in England (1689), United States (1776), France
(1789), Haiti (1791), and Latin America (1808-1825).
England (1689)
The causes of the Glorious Revolution in England date back to the first two kings of the Stuart Dynasty,
James I and Charles I. By the early 1600s, a new form of Protestantism was taking hold in England,
Puritanism. Puritans argued that the Church of England needed to be purified of Catholic ritual, James
and Charles disagreed. James and Charles also struggled with their subjects over taxation. This conflict
over taxation became particularly bad during the reign of Charles I. In 1628 Parliament refused to give
the king money unless he signed the Petition of Right which placed several limits on the powers of the
king. Charles signed the document but ignored it for the duration of his reign. Further, Charles I started
to raise revenue without the consent of Parliament through fees and fines on the English people. This
abuse of power provoked the English Civil War that lasted from 1642 to 1649.
Parliament defeated the king’s forces in the civil war and in 1649 King Charles I was beheaded for
treason. The leader of Parliament’s military, Oliver Cromwell, took power and promised to create a
republic but established a military dictatorship instead. This military dictatorship, called the
Commonwealth, lasted until Cromwell’s death in 1658. In 1659 the English Parliament reconvened and
voted to restore the Monarch. The oldest son of Charles I, Charles II was invited to take the throne. The
relationship between Parliament the king during the reign of Charles II was generally congenial. Charles
II agreed to a law that gave his subjects the right to habeas corpus and respected Parliament’s traditional
right to control taxation.
In 1685 Charles II died and his Catholic brother James II became the king. James II was far less
cooperative. He violated English laws, appointed Catholics to high office, and dissolved
Parliament. This behavior led several members of Parliament to reach out to James II’s Protestant
daughter Mary. In 1688 seven members of Parliament invited Mary and her husband William, the Prince
of Orange to invade England and overthrow James II. James gave up without a fight and William and
Mary became the king and queen of England in the Glorious Revolution.
William and Mary cooperated with Parliament and together they created a constitutional monarchy for
England in which the monarch and Parliament required mutual consent to govern. Parliament drafted and
the monarchs signed the English Bill of Rights which protected the rule of law and speech.
United States (1776)
By the mid-1700s the British colonies in North America enjoyed thriving economies and a great degree of
political autonomy. The generally congenial relationship between the colonies and Britain began to sour
after the French and Indian War ended in 1763. The war put Britain in a considerable amount of debt and
the British Parliament believed that the colonies had a responsibility to help pay off this debt. Up to this
point, Britain had only placed taxes on imports and left internal taxation to colonial assemblies to approve
and levy. This tradition changed after the French and Indian War. Britain imposed a variety of revenue
measures between 1763 and 1776 including the Stamp Act and Tea Act. The colonist, in part influenced
by European Enlightenment ideas, rejected these taxes on the principle that they lacked representation in
the Parliament that imposed them. Colonial protests against this taxation provoked a series of measures
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designed to pressure the colonist into compliance. These measures included military occupation, closure
of Boston harbor, and the suspension of colonial governments. The escalating conflict between Britain
and the colonies culminated in the Declaration of Independence which was issued by the Second
Continental Congress after a series of attempts at compromise failed. The Declaration of Independence,
written by Thomas Jefferson, put the ideas of Enlightenment thinkers like John Locke into practice. The
Revolutionary War ensued and by 1781 America emerged victorious and independent. The newly
independent United States initially formed a weak central government under the Articles of Confederation
but by 1788 formed a government that combined the principles of the Enlightenment philosophies of John
Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire.
France (1789)
While the Glorious Revolution of England and the American Revolution successfully and permanently
implemented the principles of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution’s success was short
lived. French society on the eve of the revolution was deeply divided into three groups. The First Estate,
less than one percent of the population, was made up of the Catholic Clergy. This small group controlled
an enormous amount of wealth and about ten percent of the land in France. The Second Estate was also a
small group, just over one percent, made up of the hereditary nobility. The nobles owned about thirty
percent of the land and controlled most of the key government and military positions. The remainder of
the population, including the urban middle class, poor, and rural peasantry constituted the Third
Estate. France was ruled by Louis XVI who attempted maintain the opulence and absolutism of his
grandfather Louis XV but a massive national debt made this nearly impossible. Louis XVI’s attempts to
deal with this debt set into motion the events that would lead to the Revolution.
In a desperate attempt to find a solution to the debt
crisis, Louis XVI called together the French
national legislature, the Estates General, in
1788. Inspired by the Enlightenment ideals of the
American Revolution, the Third Estate used this as
an opportunity to voice concerns about the abuse
of power and mismanagement of state funds by the
king. Some members of the First Estate joined
with the Third Estate and called for the creation of
a National Assembly to draft a constitution for
France. This National Assembly hoped to make
France a constitutional monarchy along the lines of
Britain. In the hopes of stopping this, the king
ordered the Third Estate locked out of the meeting
of the Estates General. The Third Estate
responded by finding an alternative location to
meet, a tennis court. Here, they swore not to
disband until France had a
constitution. Meanwhile as the arguments of the
Estates General spilled into the streets of Paris,
mobs of poor Parisians stormed the Bastille on
July 14th 1789. The Bastille, a prison and armory,
Cartoon depicts the Third Estate of France carrying the other
two Estates on their back. Bibliothèque nationale de France
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was an important symbol of the king’s power. With the National Assembly determined to write a
constitution and the common people controlling the streets of Paris change was inevitable.
The National Assembly drafted the Declaration of the Rights of Man but Louis XVI continued to resist
change. In October 1789 food shortages provoked the women of Paris to march on the King’s palace of
Versailles to demand that Louis and his family return to Paris to help the people. Louis complied and for
the next two years France was reshaped into a constitutional monarchy.
As the French Revolution became increasingly radical, neighboring kings began to worry that the
revolution might spread. Threats from Prussia and Austria provoked war which embolden French
nationalism and drove the Revolution even more radical. A new constitution abolished the nobility and
confiscated Church lands. In 1792 Louis XVI attempted to escape to Austria where he hoped to gain
assistance from the Austrian monarchy to restore his power in France. Louis and his family were
captured during their escape attempt and the king and his wife Marie Antoinette were found guilty of
treason and beheaded.
After the death of the king, France became a republic controlled by an elected National Convention. The
dominant party in the National Convention, the Jacobins, was determined to radically transform France
into utopian democratic republic of virtue that fully realized the ideas espoused in the
Enlightenment. This government implemented radical change like forcing priests to marry, establishing a
new calendar that counted forward from the founding of the Republic instead of the birth of Jesus, and
transforming churches into Temples of Reason. This change was led by the leader of the Jacobin party
Maximilien Robespierre. Robespierre felt that the greatest threat to the realization of the republic of
virtue was from counter-revolutionaries inside France. He tasked the Committee of Public Safety with
identifying and eliminating this threat. 40,000 people were executed by the Committee of Public Safety
and 300,000 more were imprisoned during what came to be known as the Reign of Terror in
France. Instead of suppressing counter-revolutionary sentiment, the Reign of Terror emboldened it. In
July of 1794 the National Convention voted to arrest Robespierre, a few days later he was executed by
With Robespierre gone, the National Convention began to undo the most radical changes of the
Revolution. A new, more conservative and less democratic constitution was adopted and a new
government called the Directory was formed. The Directory failed to restore security after the chaos of
the Reign of Terror leading to a coup d’etat by Napoleon Bonaparte a French General and the almost
complete dismantling of democratic republican governance in France until the second revolution in
Haiti (1791)
The French Revolution spurred revolution in other parts of the world including in their colony Saint
Domingue (Haiti). Saint Domingue was the most valuable colony among France’s overseas
possessions. Slave based plantations produced sugar, cotton, indigo, and coffee. Like France on the
verge of the Revolution, Saint Domingue’s population was also deeply divided. A small population of
white plantation owners controlled the economy and government. A slightly larger free mixed- race
population called the gens de couleur constituted a middle class, most of which was of modest
means. The majority of the population was made up of African slaves. With the onset of the Revolution
in France, the gens de couleur began to demand political equality. Unrest between the white population
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and the gens de couleur created an opportunity for the
slaves to rise in rebellion. In 1791 Toussaint
L’Ouverture, a former house slave, organized the slave
rebellion into an effective fighting force that was able free
all of the slaves on the island. Meanwhile in France, the
National Convention abolished slavery in all of France’s
overseas possessions making the former slaves of Saint
Domingue French citizens. Toussaint L’Ouverture was
recognized by the French Republic as the leader of the
colony. After Napoleon seized power in France and the
radical reforms of the Revolution were undone he turned
his attention to Saint Domingue. France was in desperate
need of money; Napoleon hoped to supply that money by
reestablishing slavery in Saint Domingue. In 1802 a
French army invaded Saint Domingue but after two years
of bloody conflict the French were defeated and Haiti
declared itself an independent republic.
The Haitian Revolution had repercussions far greater than
establishing the second independent republic in the
Americas. The final defeat of the French in 1804 sent a
flood of white refugees to the United States. These
refugees spread the story of the successful slave revolt in
Saint Domingue. These stories bred fear among the
slaveholding population of the American south, leading to
new legislation strengthening the institution of slavery in America. The fear of slave rebellion also spread
to the other islands of the Caribbean. This fear greatly delayed independence movements in the island
colonies as the white population feared that they would be unable to suppress a rebellion without the help
of their mother country. The Haitian Revolution also caused the United States to double in size. After
Napoleon lost Haiti in 1804, he decided to raise the money he hoped to earn in Haiti by selling the
Louisiana Territory to the United States.
Latin America (1808-1825)
Like many pre-revolutionary states, Latin America was a deeply divided society. Political power was
virtually monopolized by a European born elite known as peninsulars. Economic power and wealth was
primarily in the hands of American born whites known as creoles. The rest of the population, the vast
majority, was made up of mixed race mestizos, Indians, and free and enslaved Africans. The opportunity
for revolution in Latin America came with Napoleon’s invasion of Spain and Portugal. Many of the
creoles of Latin America were educated in Europe where they picked up the ideas of the
Enlightenment. When the Spanish king was replaced with a Frenchman, these creoles refused to support
the foreign monarch and revolution ensued. Early creole revolutionaries faced defeat because they failed
to rally the mestizo, Indian and African populations to their cause. With time however, leaders like
Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín built large armies in South America by promising Enlightenment
inspired reform. Bolívar and Martín fought Spanish forces from 1811 to 1824 winning independence for
all of Spanish South America. A similar, though more conservative process played out in Mexico leading
Toussaint Louverture. From a group of engravings
done in post-Revolutionary France. (1802)
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to Mexico’s independence in 1821. The early revolutionary movement in Mexico started among the
Indian and mestizo peasants in 1810 when a Spanish priest named Miguel Hidalgo led an attack on
Mexico City. This peasant uprising scared the creoles who cooperated with peninsulars in putting it
down. But, by the 1821 Mexico’s creoles were ready for independence which they achieved in
September of 1821.
Brazil’s path to independence lacked the violence of the other independence movements of the
Americas. The royal family of Portugal fled to Brazil after Napoleon’s invasion. In 1820, King John VI
returned to Portugal to restore this power and left his son Pedro as regent of Brazil. Pedro was deeply
inspired by the Enlightenment and declared Brazil an independent empire in 1822. Pedro proved to be
more liberal and reform minded than his subjects which eventually led to his abdication in 1831. His son,
Pedro II took power and ruled until 1889 when the monarchy ended and Brazil became a republic.

Visit this site from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for details on the role of art in the French Revolution.
Listen to this 15 Minute History from the University of Texas at Austin for details on Simon Bolivar’s
role in Latin American Revolutions.
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SSWH14 Analyze the Age of Revolutions.
c. Explain Napoleon’s rise to power, the role of geography in his defeat, and the consequences of
France’s defeat for Europe.
Napoleon Bonaparte was a successful and popular general during the French Revolution. This popularity
combined with the exhaustion that the French people felt after ten years of revolution gave Napoleon the
opportunity to seize power in 1799. The French people were ready for a strong leader who could restore
order. When Napoleon organized a military coup and took power, it was received with delight by the
French people. A plebiscite held in 1800 confirmed this when the French people overwhelming voted to
approve a constitution that gave almost total power to Napoleon as the First Consul of the French
Republic. The French people’s love of Napoleon grew as he instituted a series of reforms that upheld the
popular changes made during the revolution like equality under law and private property rights while
rolling back unpopular changes like the restrictions on the Catholic Church. Napoleon also instituted a
series of new reforms that proved very popular including a national bank, national public education, and
the Napoleonic Codes that created a uniform system of law for the whole country. While the Napoleonic
Codes limited civil liberties the order and prosperity that Napoleon brought to France ensured his
popularity with the people.
Map of Europe when Napoleon was at his height of power.
The New International Encyclopædia, v. 7, 1905, facing p. 290 (top pane).
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Napoleon was so popular that in 1804 he was able to crown himself the Emperor of France with the
support of the French voters. As emperor, Napoleon set out to create a true empire for France. In a series
of military victories French armies defeated their European neighbors and created the largest European
empire since Rome. Napoleon’s endless ambition proved to be his demise however. In 1812 he decided
to lead an army of 600,000 into Russia to punish the country for selling grain to France’s enemy
Britain. The Russian Czar ordered his troops to lure the French army deep into Russia and destroy
everything as they retreated. In the fall of 1812 the French army took the city of Moscow, however
before retreating the Russians burned the city. Lacking shelter, food, and supplies Napoleon was forced
to order his army back to Europe. Marching back across Russia in November proved terribly destructive
to Napoleon’s army. Men died from ambushes by Russian troops, exhaustion, hunger, and the
cold. When Napoleon returned to France he only had 30,000 soldiers left.
After Napoleon’s defeat in Russia his European enemies banded together to remove him from power. A
combined army of Russian, Prussian, British, and Austrian soldiers forced Napoleon to abdicate in
1814. Napoleon briefly went into exile on the island of Elba in the Mediterranean. He returned to France
in 1815 and attempted to restore his power but he was finally defeated at Waterloo and permanently
exiled to the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic.
With Napoleon gone diplomats from Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia met at the Congress of
Vienna. Their goal was to firmly squash the spirit of liberalism and nationalism that made the French
Revolution and Napoleon possible. Generally, this goal was realized. While liberal nationalism led to
revolutionary movements in Italy and Spain the conservative order established at the Congress of Vienna
was able to dominate for the next 30 years.
Visit this interactive PBS website for history and lessons related to Napoleon.
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SSWH15 Describe the impact of industrialization and urbanization.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain the process by which the production of goods shifted
from small scale cottage industry to large scale factory production. Further, students are expected to
explain the impact of this transition on population distribution, living standards, social class structures
and economic and political philosophy. Students should understand that this period in history represents
a major turning point in the development of society with far reaching consequences.
Watch this Crash Course World History video for a quick overview of the industrial age.

YouTube video

SSWH15 Describe the impact of industrialization and urbanization.
a. Analyze the process and impact of industrialization in Great Britain, Germany, and Japan.
While many of the key elements of industrialization, including mass production and mechanization, first
appeared in Song China around the 12th century it was in 18th century Britain that sustained innovations
in technology that led to dramatic and permanent transformations of society. Several factors converged to
make Britain the birthplace of the industrial revolution. First, the British Isles were rich in many of the
key ingredients to early industrialization including coal, iron, waterways, and harbors. Next, Britain
experienced an agricultural revolution in the 18th Century. This agricultural revolution was made
possible by the convergence of two events: exploration and enclosure legislation in the British
Parliament. Exploration brought the Columbian Exchange which led to the introduction of new crops like
potatoes and corn to the cool climate of Britain which increased agricultural yields. Large landowners
pressured the Parliament to pass legislation that privatized common lands and allowed property owners to
enclose these lands in fences and hedges. This enclosure and privatization of land increased the
availability of land for exploitation and gave landowners the financial security needed to begin
experimenting with innovative agricultural practices like the introduction of American crops, crop
rotation, selective breeding, and the mechanization of planting. The agricultural revolution produced two
other key ingredients in industrialization: capital and labor. Innovation in farming increased efficiency
and output, this enriched property owners, increased population and displaced workers. Traditionally, the
majority of Britain’s poor worked as tenant farmers on the large estates of the old nobility, but with the
agricultural revolution many of these tenant farmers became unnecessary leading to a migration to urban
areas where they became a reliable and affordable labor force.
Britain’s abundant natural resources, capital, and a large labor force was marshalled to feed the ever
increasing demand for manufactured goods both at home and abroad. At home, population growth fueled
this demand and abroad British colonization of the Americas, the African slave trade and the Asian trade
in luxury goods fueled the demand. Traditionally, British manufacturing was done in small batches in
workshops and homes but beginning in the mid-1700s production began to shift to factories. In 1759
Josiah Wedgwood transformed the production of pottery by introducing division of labor. Each worker
was given on small simple task in the manufacture of pottery. This change increased productivity and
quality and decreased costs. Wedgwood became a model for mass production in Britain. Mechanization
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of production quickly followed, this time in the textile industry. A rapid succession of inventions and
innovations, including the spinning jenny in 1764, the water frame in 1769, the power loom in 1784, and
the cotton gin in 1793 fully mechanized the production of cloth by the turn of the century.
Machines became more efficient, dependable and affordable with the regular use of iron, the introduction
of steam power and use of interchangeable parts. While iron had been in use for thousands of years, its
production up until the late 1700s was extremely labor intensive. Discovers in the late 1700s allowed the
iron workers to efficiently remove impurities greatly increasing output and bring down costs. In 1764,
James Watts developed a steam engine that with time ended dependence on waterways for power and
transportation. By the 1820s steam engines powered factories, trans-Atlantic ships, and railroads. In
1801, Eli Whitney, an American, introduced the use of interchangeable parts to the manufacture of
firearms. Like the other innovations, interchangeable parts increased productivity and quality and
decreased costs. The use of interchangeable parts spread to other industries quickly and after its adoption
by British firms it became known in Europe and the “American system of
While the industrial revolution started in Britain, with time, the industrial powerhouse of Europe became
Germany. In the 18th century, Germany, as a nation-state did not exist. Instead, the German speaking
lands were divided into a multitude of kingdoms, principalities, duchies, and a variety of other forms of
political union. The most powerful of these was the Kingdom of Prussia. In around 1835, Prussians with
the support of their government began to study the British model for industrialization. They imported
British machines, hired British engineers and sent their children to study industrial management in
England. By the 1850s textile factories, iron works, railroads, and coal mines were, according to German
economist Max Wirth “sprout[ing] from the earth like mushrooms.” By the turn of the century, Germany,
now unified into a single German Empire, was a major industrial and military power in the world. By
1913, German industrial output surpassed Britain and was second only to the United States.
Industrialization in Europe and the United States created an endless demand for more raw materials to
produce goods and more markets in which to sell those goods. This led to European and American
imperialism in the mid1800s. Africa and Asia fell
victim to this imperialism with
almost all of Africa, South
Asia, Southeast Asia and
coastal China under the control
of either a European nation or
the United States by 1900. In
the midst of this scramble for
colonies, Japan was faced with
the very real possibility of
becoming the victim of
At the start of the 19th century,
Japan was basically a feudal
society loosely ruled by the Saxon Machine Works in Germany, c. 1905
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Tokugawa Shogunate. For the last 165 years Japanese law forbid most foreign interactions. While some
legal trade and a fair amount of smuggling had kept Japan loosely connected with the outside world, this
official isolation meant that Japan had missed most of the political, social and technological advances of
the last 150 years. This meant that when the United States Navy showed up in 1853 to demand trading
and docking privileges in Japan, the Shogun was in no position to refuse. The shogun accepted the Treaty
of Kanagawa which opened Japan to US business interests. In 1864, British and French ships shelled the
southwestern coast of Japan in retribution for Japan’s treatment of their nationals. This shelling, the
provisions of the Treaty of Kanagawa and knowledge of the failures of China to repel European and
American military force inspired a rebellion against the shogun who was seen by many as weak and
incompetent. A brief civil war followed and in 1868 the shogun was removed from power and a new
government was formed called the Meiji Restoration. While the leaders of this government claimed to be
restoring power to the emperor, in reality he remained a figurehead and the country was ruled by a small
group of oligarchs.
The Meiji government was determined to prevent Japan from falling victim to imperialism. To this end,
they instituted a wide range of reforms designed to make Japan into a modern country in all
respects. Hundreds of Japanese students were sent to study in the United States, Britain and
Germany. American, British and German experts of all stripes were hired to come to Japan to train
Japanese bureaucrats, military officers, educators, and students. A network of public education was
established that included vocational, technical, and agricultural schools as well as research
universities. Japan created a modern conscript army fashioned after Prussia, a modern navy fashioned
after Britain, and a modern imperial government bureaucracy fashioned after Germany. The Japanese
government established state owned factories that produced textiles and consumer goods for sale
abroad. Once the profitability of these factories was secured, the state sold the factories to groups of
private investors called zaibatsu. Profits from the sale of these factories funded the reforms allowing
Japan to avoid dangerous foreign debt.
The efforts of the Meiji government were incredibly successful. Rather than become the victim of
imperialism, Japan became an imperial power in its own right by 1900. In 1905, Japan shocked the world
by defeating Russia in the Russo-Japanese War.
Many of the consequences of industrialization were common to all three of these countries. As already
discussed, industrialization made each of these countries major military powers who used this power to
establish overseas empires. For the British this empire include large parts of Africa, all of South Asia,
and ports in China. The Germans held a colony in New Guinea and several colonies in Africa and Japan
controlled Korea, Taiwan and Manchuria. At home industrialization undermined the old social order left
over from each countries’ feudal past. The old hereditary nobilities’ influence declined as wealth shifted
to a new urban middle class who managed and owned businesses. A new urban working class emerged
that was ruthlessly exploited for their labor until they were able to organize and demand reforms. For
some, industrialization brought a dramatic increase in their standard of living. Consumer products of all
kinds became affordable and the quality and durability of these products increased dramatically. For
others, factory work proved more dangerous and exhausting than farm labor leading to a decline in the
standard of living. Globally, communication increased as steam power shortened trips across oceans and
continents and the telegraph made instant global communication possible.
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Visit this site from Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute for a detailed article on the industrial Revolution.
Visit this site from the BBC to play a game that will help explain industrialization in Britain.
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SSWH15 Describe the impact of industrialization and urbanization.
b. Examine the political and economic ideas of Adam Smith and Karl Marx.
The Industrial Revolution brought sweeping and rapid changes to people at all levels of
society. Dramatic increases in the standard of living for some and decreases for others paired with the
shift of economic and political power to the middle class left many reeling for an understanding of the
new social and economic order. Contemporary discussions of this topic are often overly simplified
focusing only on the most radical aspects of 18th and 19th century economic philosophy. While some
early industrial societies did adhere to Adam Smith’s ideas on Laissez-faire in its pure form and some late
industrial societies attempted to follow Karl Marx’s ideas on Communism with fidelity; the majority of
the industrialized world found an equilibrium somewhere in the middle that included economic and
political ideas beyond just those of Smith and Marx.
Smith’s ideas developed as a response to mercantilism. Mercantilist ideas on economic policy dominated
Europe from 16th to the 18th century. These policies used state power to tightly regulate trade and
business with the goal of accumulating gold and silver in the home economy. With the onset of
industrialization in the late 18th century and the mass production of high value manufactured goods
calculating wealth based solely on gold and silver reserves began to seem grossly inaccurate. In 1776,
Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations, in this work Smith argued that a nation’s wealth is best
calculated by totaling the amount of goods and services produced by a nation’s people (essentially
GDP). Considering this, he believed that government policies should be designed to increase wealth
based on this new understanding. Smith believed that everyone, rich and poor, would benefit from this
approach. In the The Wealth of Nations, Smith outlined the basic principles of Laissez-faire
capitalism. He argued that individuals always work for their own self-interest and that in a society in
which everyone is allowed to pursue their own self-interest, a collective benefit is realized. Essentially
the argument was that when people work to improve their own lives they make life better for everyone
else. For this societal benefit to be realized, Smith argued that the government should completely
deregulate the economy. He believed that if business could be conducted free from government
interference, a nation’s wealth (calculated based on the total about of goods and services produced) would
be maximized. These ideas became government policy in Britain and United States in the 19th century,
but over time they were modified with the principles of other economic philosophies like utilitarianism
which accepted Smith’s ideas on personal freedom but argued that government needed to step in from
time to time to protect the people.
The forerunner to Karl Marx’s communist philosophy was socialism. The economic principles of
socialism were developed in the first half of the 19th century. Socialist thinkers like Charles Fourier and
Henri de Saint-Simon argued that the major means of production like factories, mines, and railroads
should be government controlled. Government control would ensure that the benefits of these means of
production would be realized by all members of society. In 1848 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
published The Communist Manifesto. This short work contained economic philosophy, social history,
political ideologies and a revolutionary call to arms. In this work Marx and Engels argued that economic
inequality was the most important force driving human history. Human history was a series of class
struggles, Roman plebs versus patricians, feudal lords versus serfs, and in the 19th century the urban
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working class (proletariat) versus the middle class (bourgeois). Marx and Engels predicted that the
proletariat would rise in revolution and overthrow the capitalist order and over time create a utopian
communist society. They believed that this revolutionary change would come in stages. First the
workers would seize the means of production and overthrow the government. Once in control, workers
would create a “dictatorship of the proletariat” which would seize all private property and re-distribute it
equitably. Once equality was established the need for government would wither and humanity would live
in a purely communist society where the means of production would be collectively owned and operated
by the people for the public good.
While, few of the ideas of the early socialists or the communist ideas of Marx and Engels were
implemented in the 19th century, in the 20th century many countries around the world experimented with
these philosophies. Several countries, including to some extent the United States, implemented socialist
policies related to state control of the means of production. For example, many railroad networks were
brought under state control after the world wars. Marxist philosophies drove revolutions in other parts of
the world, most notably in Russia and China. None of these revolutions were able to realize the full
vision of the communist ideas laid out in the Communist Manifesto. Each revolution stalled at the stage
of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” which in all cases devolved into a dictatorship of communist party
Reforms in the 20th and 21st century have balanced Smith’s argument for freedom with Marx and the
socialist’s argument for equality in most states around the world. This has led to the prevalence of a
hybrid system augmented by more recent scholarship in the fields of economics and political science for
most countries.
Visit this Khan Academy site for a student friendly explanation of capitalism and communism.
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SSWH15 Describe the impact of industrialization and urbanization.
c. Examine the social impact of urbanization, include: women and children.
The cities of industrialized nations grew at unprecedented rates in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The
impact of this rapid urbanization varied greatly by class. Families that owned and managed businesses
enjoyed large homes, new churches, museums, trolley systems, and theaters all paid for with the profits
from industrialization. Women in wealthy or middle class families might work for a few years before
marriage but once married most conformed to the social norms of the day, called Victorian morality by
historians. These social norms were based on the principle of separate spheres. According to this idea,
men were uniquely suited for the demands of business while women best fulfilled the role of homemaker,
mother, and moral arbiter of the family. The role of moral arbiter did give some women the opportunity
to pursue leadership roles outside of the home in the many reform movements that emerged in this
period. Some wealthy and middle class women became important leaders in reform movements. Among
other things, these movements worked
to end slavery, limit the use of alcohol,
end child labor, improve the life of the
urban poor, and win the vote for
women. The children of wealth and
middle class families, particularly boys,
received quality educations that
prepared them to work in the same roles
as their parents.
For the working class, cities were
crowded, pollution was common,
housing was small and poorly built, and
municipal infrastructure supported
business interests more than quality of
life. Rapid growth meant that urban
planning was unusual and most cities
were made up of narrow winding streets,
shoddy construction, and lacked or had inadequate city services like water, sewers and policing. This
made urban life dangerous for the working class. Disease and fire were common and working class
neighborhoods were often so dangerous that they received nicknames like Hell’s Kitchen. Wages among
the working class kept families in poverty and forced women and children into the workforce. A typical
urban factory worker spent fourteen to sixteen hours on the job. This transformed family life like never
before in human history. In agricultural
societies, peasant families typically
worked together and work hours that
varied by season. Now men, women
and their children worked in different facilities for most of the day year round. Women with young
children might find work in the home, taking in laundry, sewing, or embroidery. However, wages were
often so low that families had to send children to work as young as five years old. Most working class
children grew up with no education and few options for escaping a future that mirrored that of their
Child coal miners – drivers and mules, Gary, W. Va., mine. Lewis Wickes Hine
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Visit the Fordham University World History Sourcebook for primary source documents on life in the
industrial revolution.
Visit this site from the BBC for details on working conditions in the Industrial Revolution.
Visit this site from Columbia University for an article on the Meiji Restoration.
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SSWH16 Analyze the rise of nationalism and worldwide imperialism.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain the factors that led to the rise of group identity in the 19th
century and how this group identity manifested itself as nationalism. Students should focus on how
threats from foreign powers drove the development of nationalism and how nationalism was harnessed by
the state to build empires. Students should explore how 19th century nationalism was both similar to and
different from earlier group identities that focused on loyalty to a ruler instead of loyalty to a group of
people with a common identity (a nation). Further, students should explore the role of industrialization in
the development of the second phase of imperialism in the 19th century and how this imperialism led to
exploitation, violence, modernization and nationalist movements outside of Europe.
Watch this Crash Course World History video for a quick overview of nationalism and imperialism in
world history.

YouTube video

YouTube video

SSWH16 Analyze the rise of nationalism and worldwide imperialism.
a. Compare and contrast the rise of the nation state in Germany under Otto von Bismarck and Japan
during the Meiji Restoration.
Germany as a political unit had only vaguely existed as the Holy Roman Empire before its rise as a
modern nation-state in 1871. Japan on the other hand was generally unified under a feudal imperial
system for more than 1,000 years prior to its emergence as a modern nation-state in 1867. In both cases,
nationalism, rooted in a shared common identity, drove this unification. Also, in both of these cases,
threats from foreign powers awakened this national pride which was then harnessed by an authoritarian
government who used a combination of industrialization and military might to forge a modern nationstate.
Both the people of the German lands and the people of the Japanese islands shared a common identity that
unified them culturally. While regional dialects existed in both areas, both the Germans and Japanese
were generally unified by a common language family that differentiated them from neighboring
people. Both regions also shared a common history, real and mythical stories of common ancestors
provided another force for unification. Other common elements for culture, like religion and social
customs, further served to create a sense of sameness that could be used to breed nationalism when
threatened by outsiders.
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For the German’s threats from abroad were largely manufactured by the authoritarian leader of
unification, Otto Von Bismarck, the Prussian Prime Minister. Bismarck assumed leadership in the most
powerful of the German states after a failed attempt at liberal reform. Bismarck, with the support of the
Prussian King Wilhelm I, declared in 1862 that he would rule Prussia with “blood and iron”, which he did
quite efficiently. While the German speaking lands were loosely organized into a weak political union in
1815 called the German Confederation, this was dominated by Austria-Hungary. Bismarck was
determined to create a German empire ruled by the Prussian King. To accomplish this, Bismarck incited
three wars with neighboring states. Each of these wars stirred national pride among the German speaking
states as Prussia easily defeated her enemies. First Denmark then Austria and finally France surrendered
to Prussian armies. With each victory, more German states unified with Prussia and by January of 1871,
King Wilhelm I
became Kaiser
Wilhelm the emperor
of Germany which
included almost all of
the German speaking
lands in
While Bismarck
largely manufactured
the foreign threats that
inspired nationalism in
Germany, the foreign
threats to Japan were
very real. Unlike
Prussia, Japan was far
from a great power in
the mid-1800s. For
more than 200 years,
Japan had been mostly
isolated from the
outside world. Modest
trade with China,
Korea and the Dutch
had not exposed Japan to the benefits of industrialization and as a result by 1850 Japan was still a feudal
society with technology that matched. Japan was well aware of China’s defeats in the first Opium War
and British, French, Russian, and American ships were regularly appearing on the horizon. Japan’s
leader, Tokugawa Yoshinobu was ill prepared to deal with this threat. The situation became
unsustainable in 1853 when the United States navy arrived in what is now Tokyo Harbor under the
command of Commodore Matthew Perry. The large black naval ships powered by steam and armed with
cannon shocked the Japanese who defended Japan with swords and bows. Perry brought a letter from
President Millard Fillmore that asked Japan to open its ports to US trade. Perry told the Shogun that he
would be back in one year with a larger fleet for the answer. Lacking the technology to defend Japan, the
German States before Unification
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Shogun agreed to the demands when Perry returned the following year. The capitulation of Yoshinobu
coupled with British and French naval attacks in the south of Japan inspired indignation in the Japanese
people. Like in Germany, foreign threats bred nationalism. In this case nationalism led to regime change
as the Japanese people looked to their symbolic head of state, the emperor. Traditionally the Japanese
Emperor wielded little to no political power. This tradition essentially stayed the same but the Emperor,
Meiji as he came to be called, became a powerful symbol of unity and pride for the Japanese
people. With this new sense of pride, the authoritarian oligarchies of the Meiji government was able to
rally the people to the cause of reform. These reforms included industrialization, described in SSWH15a,
political consolidation, and westernization.
As Germany and Japan evolved into modern nation-states, both turned to industrialization (see
SSWH15a) to build powerful militaries. National pride and economic opportunity motivated both nations
to turn to empire building. Germany built a vast empire in Africa and Southeast Asia while Japan took
large parts of East Asia.
Read this article from The American Sociological Review on the rise of nation-states around the world. It
includes details on Germany and Japan.
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SSWH16 Analyze the rise of nationalism and worldwide imperialism.
b. Assess imperialism in Africa and Asia, include: the influence of geography and natural resources.
European and later American and Japanese imperialism in the 19th and 20th century was a natural outgrowth of industrialization. Business interests needed raw materials like metals, coal, rubber, cotton, and
palm oil to mass produce goods in their factories. Then, to ensure sustained profits, new markets were
needed to sell those goods. These economic factors combined with a new wave of nationalism to feed the
mass production of military might which was used by the European, American and Japanese states to
conquer and sustain vast empires. In 1815 Western European and North American states controlled 35%
of the earth’s habitable territory, by 1914 these same powers controlled 85% of this territory. While
industrialization added new motivations for this second wave of imperialism, many of the forces that
drove the imperialism of the 16th century continued. Imperialist states continued to seek access to luxury
goods and for the Europeans and Americans the motivation to spread Christianity continued.
While little justification beyond spreading Christianity was needed for 16th century Europeans, in the
19th century Enlightenment ideals made unjustified conquest morally troubling for some. To satisfy this
moral dilemma, European and American imperialist presented two philosophies that justified their
conquests. Some looked to Darwin’s book On the Origin of the Species and found in it a natural
explanation for this conquest. They reasoned that if natural selection led to progress in the realm of
biology the same would be true for society. Proponents of Social Darwinism argued that powerful
American and European states were justified in their conquest by an evolutionary advantage. More
sentimental imperialist argued for White Man’s
Burden. According to this principle, imperialism was
actually a benevolent act intended to help less advanced
people catch up to the civilized world.
Europeans first established colonies in Africa in the 17th
century. The Dutch established a colony in South Africa
and the Portuguese formed a colony in Angola. The tropical
regions were generally safe from European power because
of the prevalence of tropical diseases like malaria. Medical
advances in the 19th century like the use of quinine to treat
malaria greatly reduced the threat of disease and shortly
after, Europeans began the systematic conquest of the
continent. The British arrived in the south in the early
1800s. British colonization pushed the descendants of
Dutch settlers, called Boers north into the territory of the
Zulu and Xhosa were they established two independent
countries. The discovery of gold and diamonds in these
territories brought war with the British and a dramatic
expansion of British territory in South Africa. Around the
same time, the French began a brutal campaign to take
Northwest Africa and by 1880s France, Britain, Portugal,
Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain were racing to take over
the continent in what is called the Scramble for Africa. The
European powers met in Berlin in 1884 to devise a plan for
European control of the continent. By the time they were
An advertisement for Pears’ Soap, from the 1890s,
instructing whites to promote cleanliness among
other races.
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done, only two countries remained independent, Ethiopia which managed to modernize fast enough to
fight off an Italian attempt at conquest and Liberia which was protected by the United States. Europeans
began to drain African natural resources including palm oil, ivory, rubber, gold, diamonds, metals, and
The European rule in Africa was a mixture of economic exploitation, racist subjugation and well-meaning
reform. While Belgium, Germany, and Portugal tended to be more ruthless and Britain and France more
benevolent all of the Europeans contributed to economic exploitation, ethnic tension and
modernization. Both natural resources and luxury goods were harvested and mined for the exclusive
benefit of the European overlords. Ethnic tensions between African groups were exacerbated by poorly
placed borders and sometimes exploited to facilitate European control. Violent conflict killed thousands
as modern European armies crushed poorly equipped but determined Africans. However, at the same
time, schools, hospitals, and infrastructure were built that became an asset to the African people. The
slave trade was suppressed and in a few places educated African elite were allowed to help in
administration. European rule spurred African nationalism, unified diverse peoples and eventually
planted the seeds for independence in the 20th century.
Like Africa, imperialism in Asia dates back to the Age of Exploration. As with Africa, Europeans gained
early footholds in Asia in the 1500s and 1600s but the vast Asia empires of the Europeans were not
established until the 1700s and 1800s. First the Portuguese, then the Dutch and finally the French and
British established colonies of varying size and consequence in Asia during this period.
While the Portuguese, Dutch, and French established coastal footholds in South Asia, it was the British
who ended Mughal rule and brought all of South Asia into their empire. The colonization of South Asia
was carried out by the British East India Company which was motivated by lucrative commodities like
cotton, spices, tea, and opium. The British East India Company (BEIC) used a combination of diplomacy
and warfare to gain control of India. By the mid-1700s the once powerful Mughal Empire had become
highly decentralized, the BEIC capitalized on this and offered services including military protection, tax
collection, and administration to local rulers in exchange for access to trade. Over time, the BEIC became
the dominate power in the region and political power shifted from the Mughal Emperor and local rulers to
the BEIC officers. To facilitate BEIC administration of such a vast territory, the company employed a
multitude of both native administrators and soldiers (called sepoy).
The company’s control of South Asia brought a mixture of exploitation and benefit. Mismanagement and
greed caused famines and cholera epidemics. The philosophy of “white man’s burden” brought schools,
hospitals, and improved food distribution systems. Trade brought railroads and telegraphs.
Highly lucrative commodities like cotton and opium combined with India’s strategic location along trade
routes to East Asia made India the “crown jewel” of the British Empire for over 90 years.
While decentralized political authority and lucrative commodities like cotton made Mughal India
susceptible to European Imperialist, political arrogance and ignorance combined with lucrative goods like
silk, porcelain, and tea made China a target. The Qing Dynasty of China continued to view their home as
the Middle Kingdom surrounded by barbarians with nothing to offer the culturally superior Chinese. This
attitude led to the creation of the Canton System. The Chinese government limited foreign merchants to a
small number of ports, with Canton being the most significant. At these ports, merchants were only
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allowed to purchase Chinese goods with silver bullion. When Western diplomats protested this trade
imbalance and asked to the right to sell European goods in China, the Chinese government responded by
dismissing the usefulness of European goods to the Chinese. To remedy this trade imbalance, the British
turned to highly addictive opium, which they began to market for recreational use in Chinese
ports. British marketing efforts were wildly successful and before long the trade imbalance was reversed
and massive numbers of Chinese were addicted to opium.
Commodities like rubber, petroleum, and metals combined with a strategic location along key trade routes
motivated Dutch, French, German, American and British corporations and governments to establish
colonies in Southeast Asia.

Listen to this 15 Minute History from the University of Texas at Austin on the Scramble for Africa.
Read this review of Mike Davis’s Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the
Third World to see one historian’s evaluation of the impact of European imperialism.
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SSWH16 Analyze the rise of nationalism and worldwide imperialism.
c. Examine anti-imperial resistance, include: Opium Wars, Boxer Rebellion, and the Indian Revolt of
During the early 1800s, British opium incapacitated Chinese workers and drained silver from the Chinese
economy. In an attempt to stop the trade, which the Chinese considered illegal, the Qing trade
commissioner seized large amounts of opium from British warehouses in Canton and destroyed it in
1839. This act provoked the first of two Opium Wars between the British and Chinese. The Qing
Dynasty relied on a pre-industrial military that was no match for the professionalism and technology of
the British Navy. The First Opium War ended in 1842 and the second in 1860. After both wars, the
Chinese were forced to sign “unequal treaties” that opened more ports to Western trade, lowered tariffs,
surrendered Hong Kong to the British, and legalized the opium trade.
After these defeats and a massive internal rebellion known as the Taiping, some Chinese officials
believed that it was time for reform. A campaign for economic and military reform called the selfstrengthening movement began but had little success because
of opposition from the ruler Empress Dowager Cixi. Cixi
instead placed her faith in a secret martial arts brotherhood
known as the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists,
also known as the Boxers. The Boxers organized an ill-fated
plan to drive foreign powers from China and restore the full
glory of Qing rule. The Boxer Rebellion was crushed by a
multi-national force that included several European nations,
Russia, Japan and the United States. After this defeat, the
Qing Dynasty was so weakened that it never recovered and a
revolution in 1911 removed the last emperor from power and
established the Chinese Republic.
In South Asia, British cultural arrogance combined with the
British East India Company’s (BEIC) massive reliance on
natives to staff their army brought rebellion in 1857. Rumors
began to spread among the sepoy soldiers in the BEIC army
that their religious beliefs and practices were being
consciously ignored by their British officers. These rumors
combined with years of Indian resentment to British rule led to
a massive and bloody rebellion that took the company a year to suppress. This Sepoy Rebellion led the
British government to seize control of the colony from the BEIC and for the next 90 years, South Asia
was administered directly by the British government.
Visit this site from MIT for an essay on the first Opium War.
Read this article about the role of US Marines in the Boxer Rebellion from Prologue Magazine.
Boxer Rebels
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SSWH17 Demonstrate an understanding of long-term causes of World War I and its global impact.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain the convergence of industrialization, imperialism,
nationalism, militarization, and the alliance system in the years leading up to World War I. Students
should be able to explain how these factors created the “powder keg of Europe” in the Balkans that
sparked the global conflict. Further, students should be expected to explore the impact of
industrialization on warfare and compare this impact on the various battlefronts. Finally, students will be
expected to analyze the impact of the war on the participate nations, focusing on how peace in World War
I put into motion many of the developments that caused World War II.
Watch these videos from Crash Course World History for an overview of World War I.

YouTube video

YouTube video

YouTube video

YouTube video

SSWH17 Demonstrate an understanding of long-term causes of World War I and its global
a. Identify causes of the war, include: nationalism, entangling alliances, militarism, and imperialism.
The cause of World War I was a complicated combination of factors that grew out of the European
Industrial Revolution. As industrialization swept across Europe in the 19th century so too did an
insatiable demand for raw materials and new markets. These demands pushed Europe into the second
phase of imperialism that culminated in the almost complete colonization of Africa, Asia, and
Australia. As the Europeans scrambled to conquer territory and establish colonies they came into conflict
with each other, old land based powers like the Ottomans and Russians, and new powers like the
Americans and Japanese. This competition for colonies combined with the manufacturing capacity
brought by industrialization led to massive military build-ups. Militarism in industrialized nations created
an intense competition to outgun rivals through the mass production of the tools of war. Militarism
brought instability, leading European states to form military alliances aimed at balancing the power
among rival states and maintaining peace in Europe. However, these alliances tended to be secret and
unstable which had the effect of intensifying competition and distrust. This intensification, competition,
and distrust fostered nationalism among both the great powers of Europe and suppressed ethnic groups
like the Slavs.
European nationalism in the early 20th century became a force for unification and division. This
contradiction proved to be very dangerous as the century progressed. As a force for unification,
nationalism drove the cause of empire both at home and abroad. The German, Austro-Hungarian,
Russian, and Ottoman Empires clung to lands inhabited by minority ethnic groups. Just as the threat of
foreign domination inspired nationalism among the German people in the 19th century, in the 20th
century this same force inspired Slavic nationalism. In the early 20th century the Slavic population of
Europe was divided into a few small independent states like Serbia and larger empires like Austria-
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Hungary. Serbia rose as the principal advocate for Slavic unity, much like Prussia had been for German
unification. In June of 1914, a ultra-nationalist Slavic organization called the Black Hand organized and
successfully carried out the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian crown prince Archduke Franz
Ferdinand. The Black Hand hoped that this assassination would weaken Austria-Hungary’s hold on its
Slavic territories and help create a unified Slavic state. Instead, it caused World War I.
While Austria-Hungary knew that the Serbian government had not been directly involved in the
assassination, this did not stop them
from directing their anger towards
Serbia. Austria-Hungary made a
series of humiliating demands of
Serbia. Serbia turned to its ally
Russia who promised to support them
in the event of an invasion. AustriaHungary turned to its ally German,
Germany promised support. AustriaHungary invaded Serbia, the tangled
network of military alliances kicked
in and the world was at
war. Germany, Austria-Hungary, the
Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria fought
together as the Central Powers and
Britain, France, Italy, Russia, Japan,
United States and several others
formed the Allied

Visit this site from the Office of the Historian at the Department of State for details on why the US
entered World War I.
Visit this site from The National World War I Museum for an interactive timeline of the war.
Capture of Black Hand assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Sarajevo. 28 Jun
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SSWH17 Demonstrate an understanding of long-term causes of World War I and its global
b. Describe conditions on the war front for soldiers, include: new technology and war tactics.
World War I was fought on three principal fronts: the western front between France and Germany, the
eastern front between Russia and Germany, and at sea between the British and Germany.
The Western Front quickly developed a reputation for slaughter. Known as the meat grinder, the Western
Front was a 500-mile long network for trenches, bunkers, minefields, machine gun nests, and artillery that
ran from Switzerland to the English Channel. The Western Front epitomized both the success and failure
of early 20th century industrialized warfare. The mass production of weapons and ammunition made
defensive positions easy to hold but weak transportation technology made offense difficult. As a result,
the Western Front was generally a stalemate on which
opposing armies hurled metal and poison gas at each
other; this resulted in massive casualties on both sides
but few territorial gains. Life on the Western Front for
soldiers was quite horrible. Soldiers were confined to
trenches and underground bunkers by the constant
threat of artillery, gunfire and poison gas. Trenches
were muddy leading to chronic foot infections known
as trench foot, serious cases could lead to
amputations. Vermin were everywhere and disease
was common.
Fighting along the Eastern Front demonstrated the
superiority of highly industrialized nations over their
less industrialized counterparts. By 1914, Germany
was an industrial powerhouse, however Russia was
only in the most nascent phase of industrialization. As
a result, Germany dominated the Eastern Front and
Russia was only able to hold off German forces with
superior manpower and support from their allies. In
the end, Germany’s domination of the Eastern Front
led to a revolution in Russia and Russia’s subsequent
withdraw from the war in 1917.
The Allied victory in World War I was largely a result
of the success of the British Navy. Britain utilized its
vast surface flight and underwater mines to blockade
Germany. This blockade cut off Germany’s access to its colonies and much need raw
materials. Germany responded with an attempt to utilize its submarine fleet to blockade Britain. While
Germany had some limited success with this blockade, it proved to be the deciding factor in bring the
United States into the war. A German U-boat sank the passenger liner Lusitania in 1915 which had
several American civilians on board. The sinking of the Lusitania was an important factor in shifting US
public opinion towards war. The US entered the war in 1917 and with the support of American factories,
the American Navy, and American soldiers the Allies were able to outlast the Central Powers leading to
an Allied victory in 1919.
Allied soldiers on the western front in World War I. Photo
by Captain Frank Hurley
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Beyond the primary areas of conflict in Europe and the North Atlantic battles raged in Africa, the Middle
East and Asia. Soldiers from the European colonies served in these battles as well as on the Western
Front. The deployment of troops from all over the world spread a particularly deadly strain of
influenza. From 1918 to 1919 soldiers spread a strain of influenza that killed one in forty of those
infected to almost every person on earth, killing more than 20 million people.

Visit this site from the BBC for modern photos of World War I battlefields.
Visit this BBC website for an interactive map of the western front.
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SSWH17 Demonstrate an understanding of long-term causes of World War I and its global
c. Explain the major decisions made in the Versailles Treaty, include: German reparations and the
mandate system that replaced Ottoman control.
When the war ended in 1919 the defeated Central Powers believed that all of Europe was equally to
blame for the conflict and expected the peace terms to reflect this. When negotiations began at the Paris
Peace Conference in 1919 it quickly became clear that the victors felt differently. The Allied negotiations
at the Paris Peace Conference were dominated by the United States, Britain, France and Italy. Woodrow
Wilson of the United States arrived at the conference with a plan, called the Fourteen Points, that was
designed to make World War I the war to end all wars. The representatives of Britain, France, and Italy
were less concerned with this idealistic goal and more concerned with punishing the Central Powers for
causing the war. In the end the treaties that emerged from the conference included some of the idealism
of Wilson’s Fourteen Points and a great deal of the punishment planned by the European
representatives. While five treaties were actually negotiated and executed at the Paris Peace conference
(one for each of the defeated nations), the treaty
imposed on Germany, the Versailles Treaty, proved the
most consequential.
Several of the ideas in Wilson’s Fourteen Points were
realized by the Versailles Treaty. The League of
Nations, an international body designed to prevent war
by creating a forum for conflict resolution was
established. Wilson’s beliefs about national selfdetermination were largely realized with the creation of
the countries of Poland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia,
Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Austria, and
Hungary out of lands once controlled by the German,
Russian, and Austro-Hungarian Empires. In theory,
Wilson’s calls for decolonization were heard with the
creation of the mandate system. According to the treaty,
the overseas colonies of Germany and the non-Turkish
speaking lands of the Ottoman Empire were to become
temporary mandates of the League of Nations. As a
mandate, each of these territories would be temporarily
assigned to one of the Allied powers, mostly Britain and
France. The mandate holder was supposed to administer the territory temporarily while preparations were
made for independence. In practice most of the mandates simply proved to be new colonies for the
mandate holder. In the long-term, the mandates in the Middle East proved the most consequential. In the
British mandate of Palestine, Britain promised in the Balfour Declaration to create a Jewish State, over
time this created conflict with the Palestinian Arabs already living in the region.
Other provisions of the Treaty of Versailles reflected the strong belief by the British, French and Italian
representatives that Germany should be punished for the war. These provisions included:
• The war-guilt clause that forced Germany to accept blame for the war.
• The loss of 13% of Germany’s total land area including Alsace and Lorraine.
• Disarmament which only allowed Germany to maintain a token army of 100,000 troops.
American cartoon depicting the injustice of the Treaty of
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• $32 billion in reparations to be paid by Germany to Britain, France and Belgium.
These provisions designed to punish Germany humiliated the German people and laid the foundation for
the rise of Hitler in the 1930s. Further they aggravated the United States Senate who refused to ratify the
Treaty of Versailles. Without ratification, the United States never joined the League of Nations. Without
the United States as a member, the League of Nations was severely weakened and failed to maintain
peace in the years leading to up to World War II.

Visit this site from the Office of the Historian at the Department of State for details on Wilson’s 14
Visit this site from the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum for details on the legacy of the Treaty
of Versailles
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SSWH17 Demonstrate an understanding of long-term causes of World War I and its global
d. Analyze the destabilization of Europe in the collapse of the great empires.
With the Allied victory in the First World War, four great European empires came to an end. The
German Reich under the Hohenzollern dynasty ended and was replaced by the Weimar Republic. The
Weimar government was generally weak and ineffective because of a lack of public confidence and
political infighting among the multitude of political parties. The Habsburg dynasty of Austria-Hungary
fell as this empire was split into several successor states. Austria became a republic. Hungary went
through a period of political instability during which it had succession of governments. In Russia, three
hundred years of Romanov rule ended with the Bolshevik Revolution, replacing the tsars with communist
party rule. In the territory lost by these empires several new nation-states were created, including Poland,
Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Political, social and economic
insecurity dominated in these new states in the years after the war. To the south, the Ottoman Empire
ended in 1922 when the Ottoman sultan was replaced by the Turkish Republic.
Visit this site at Washington State University for an article on the impact of the fall of the Ottoman
Empire on the modern world.
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SSWH18 Examine the major political and economic factors that shaped world societies between
World War I and World War II.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain how the political legacy of the First World War
converged with regional and global economic challenges like income inequality, inflation, and
unemployment to undermine public confidence in many governments. Students should explore how the
lack of confidence in government led to the rise of authoritarian and in some cases totalitarian regimes in
Russia, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan. Further, students will be expected to explain how the rise of
these regimes led to World War II.
SSWH18 Examine the major political and economic factors that shaped world societies between
World War I and World War II.
a. Determine the causes and results of the Russian Revolution from the rise of the Bolsheviks under
Lenin to Stalin’s first Five Year Plan.
Nicholas II, the last tsar of the Russian Empire spent much of his early reign highly distracted by family
concerns, including his son Alexei’s hemophilia. This distraction was exacerbated by the royal family’s
close association with Rasputin, a Russian peasant priest that claimed to talk to Mary and heal the
sick. Rasputin was heavy drinker and a womanizer whose association with the family was exploited by
political opponents. In addition to the personal failings of the tsar, the Russian state was severely
outgunned as it faced more industrialized nations in war. First in the Russo-Japanese war, then in the
First World War Russia was regularly humiliated by defeats. In both cases, Russia’s lack of industrial
infrastructure and the weak leadership of the tsar led to these defeats. During World War I, military
defeat was coupled with major food shortages leading to open rebellion in Russia cities. These rebellions
culminated in the February Revolution of 1917 during which the tsar was forced to abdicate and a liberal
Provisional Government was formed. While the Provisional Government attempted economic and
political reform they were not enough for the Russian people. The Russian people wanted peace but this
government continued the fight in World War I.
The systemic problems of a massive peasant population, lack of industrial infrastructure, and inequitable
distribution of land combined with the immediate problems of food shortages and massive war causalities
to lay the groundwork for a radical revolution. The radical revolution came in October of 1917 when the
communist Bolshevik Party led by Vladimir Lenin seized power in a violent coup. A bloody civil war
ensued between the Bolshevik forces known as reds and the tsarist and republican forces called the
whites. The Russian Civil War lasted until 1920 when the reds emerged victorious.
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Once firmly in power, Lenin set up a one party dictatorship and began the conversion of Russia (now
called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) into a communist state. The conversion proved difficult
because Russia could not easily conform the path laid out by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the
Communist Manifesto. The vast majority of the Russian population was made up of peasant farmers not
urban industrial workers as Marx and Engels had predicted. In light of this, Lenin decided to slow the
transition in 1921 by establishing the New Economic Policy (NEP) which was designed to gradually
move the Soviet economy to centralized communist
party control.
Lenin died in 1924 and a power struggle emerged
between two of his closest associates, Joseph Stalin
and Leon Trotsky. In 1928, Stalin orchestrated the
exile of Trotsky and consolidated his control over the
Soviet government. Stalin rejected the gradual path
laid out in the NEP and instead organized a massive
and rapid conversion of the Soviet economy and
society into his vision of communism. This
conversion was carried out through a series of FiveYear Plans. During the first Five-Year Plan, Stalin
ordered the construction of massive industrial
infrastructure including factories and transportation
networks. To fund these projects, Stalin ordered the
collectivization of agriculture. Private farms were
replaced with massive state owned and managed
collectives. The grain produced on these collectives
was sold abroad and the funds were used to pay for
industrialization. The export of this grain, resistance
to collectivization and inefficiencies on collective
farms led to massive food shortages in the Ukraine.
From 1932 to 1933 more than four million Ukrainians
died what was called the Great Famine.
Stalin used propaganda to create a powerful cult of personality that maintained his popularity despite the
suffering he imposed on his people. Secret police rounded up political opponents, dissenters, and
counter-revolutionaries. From 1936 to 1938 Stalin ordered the execution of about one million of his
people and sent millions more into exile in Siberia. These efforts created a totalitarian communist state
and made the Soviet Union into a global industrial power.

Visit this page from PBS on the role of propaganda in the Bolshevik Revolution.
Stalin era propaganda celebrating industrialization.
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SSWH18 Examine the major political and economic factors that shaped world societies between
World War I and World War II.
b. Describe the rise of fascism in Europe and Asia by comparing the policies of Benito Mussolini in
Italy, Adolf Hitler in Germany, and Hirohito in Japan.
Fascism as a political philosophy was born in Italy in 1919 and spread to other countries in Europe and
South America. A Fascist like regimes emerged in Japan during the 1930s under the military dictatorship
headed by Hideki Tojo. These regimes were characterized by ultra-nationalistic antidemocratic dictatorships. The leaders of these regimes argued that democracy was ineffective in solving
the problems faced by a nation and that the glory and pride of a state was best maintained by a strong
totalitarian leader.
In the case of Italy, Germany and Japan these regimes emerged out of democratic states after an economic
crisis. In Germany and Italy, these economic crises were made worse by perceived national humiliations
resulting from the peace negotiations after World War I. The treatment of Germany in the Treaty of
Versailles enraged many Germans and Italy’s inability to gain land during the post war negotiations
angered many Italians. The inability of the democratic governments of Italy, Germany and Japan to solve
the economic crisis and the blame that the German and Italian governments received for post war
humiliation ultimately led to their downfall.
Democracy failed in Italy first. Rising inflation and unemployment in the early 1920s led to social unrest
and a rise in the influence of the Socialists and Communist parties in Italy. These conditions generated
fear among the middle and upper classes who became impatient with the government’s inability to
maintain order and prosperity. Benito Mussolini’s Fascist party began to win support from these groups
when Fascist party members known as Black Shirts began to attack Communist and Socialists on the
streets. In 1922, with growing support from the middle and upper classes, Mussolini led a march of
30,000 Fascist party members on Rome. Fearing a revolution, King Victor Emmanuel III named
Mussolini Prime Minister. Over the next several years, Mussolini consolidate his power as Fascist took
control over the Italian parliament and seceded parliamentary authority to Mussolini. By 1925 Mussolini
had almost complete control over government.
Now known as Il Duce, Mussolini built a totalitarian regime that abolished democracy, banned opposition
political parties, jailed opponents, limited speech, censored the press, outlawed strikes, and utilized an
intense propaganda machine to maintain the obedience of the citizenry. Though his methods were harsh,
Mussolini was generally respected at home and abroad. Successful reforms modernized Italy with
highway construction, industrial development, and literacy campaigns.
The failure of democracy in Germany and Japan came with the onset of the Great Depression. Inspired
by Mussolini, Hitler formed the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi) in 1919 and in 1923 he
tried to replicate Mussolini’s success in the March on Rome with a coup attempt in Munich. The Beer
Hall Putsch as it is now called was a failure and resulted in a prison sentence for Hitler. Hitler served
nine months of his five-year sentence during which he authored Mein Kampf a manifesto of his political
beliefs and goals. In Mein Kampf Hitler reiterated Mussolini’s ideas about the weakness of democracy,
and communism. He agreed with Mussolini’s conclusion that an ultra-nationalist dictatorship by a single
strong leader was the best way to maintain order and restore the pride and prosperity of the
state. However, Hitler augmented Mussolini’s Fascist Party platform with the principle of German racial
superiority. Hitler argued that the German people (along with a few other northern European populations)
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were the members of the ancient Aryan “race” and
therefore naturally superior to the rest of the world’s
population. In Mein Kampf, Hitler established the
basic goals of the Nazi party. Like the Fascists of Italy
and the Militarists of Japan, the Nazis would end
democracy, build a strong military, use government
power to improve the economy, and expand their
territory. Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo (supported by
Hirohito) all believed that their nation’s success
depended on the conquest of new territory.
Hitler’s rise to power was very similar to
Mussolini. During the 1920s Hitler built a power base
that included a Nazi Party militia called the Brown
Shirts. Like the Black Shirts of Italy, Hitler’s Brown
Shirts used the threat and sometimes actual violence to
win political influence. After the collapse of the
German economy in the Great Depression the Nazis
became Germany’s largest political party. Like in
Italy, they gained support from the middle and upper
classes by opposing the threat of a communist
revolution. In 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg
named Hitler chancellor (a position similar to prime
minister). Hitler immediately called for new elections
for the Reichstag or German parliament. He hoped
that his increasing popularity would lead to a Nazi
majority. Six days before the election the Reichstag
building mysteriously caught fire. Nazi party leaders blamed the fire on the Communist Party and called
on citizens to elect Nazis to protect the nation from the threat. Nazis won a slim majority in the Reichstag
and like in Italy they began to vote to secede their power to Hitler. In 1934, Hitler was named Führer,
taking complete control of the German government. Like Mussolini he built a totalitarian regime that
abolished democracy, banned opposition political parties, jailed opponents, limited speech, censored the
press, outlawed strikes, and utilized an intense propaganda machine and police force to maintain the
obedience of the citizenry. And, like Mussolini, Hitler enjoyed widespread support because of successful
reforms that dramatically reduced unemployment, increased industrial output and improved
Unlike Italy and Germany, Japan never had a single man with total government control. Instead a small
group of military leaders ruled with the support of the Emperor Hirohito. Of these men Hideki Tojo
emerged as the most powerful. In the Japanese parliamentary democracy of the 1920s the civil
government had no control over the military. According to the constitution, the military reported directly
to the Emperor. Traditionally the Japanese emperors did not yield power, this meant that the military was
essential independent in its authority. Until the Great Depression, the military generally respected the
authority of the civil government over the affairs of the Japanese state but when economic hard times
turned the Japanese people against the civil government in 1929, the military stepped into take
control. Social unrest and popular support facilitated the militaries gradual seizure of power. By 1931,
Nazi propaganda celebrating the tools of totalitarianism.
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the military invaded Manchuria without the authority of the civil government and by 1941 Hideki Tojo,
the head of the military became prime minister.
Like in Italy and Germany, militaristic nationalism supported the power of the new regime. In Japan this
nationalism was supported by a religious movement, State Shinto. State Shinto gave the Japanese regime
a race based political ideology similar to the Germans. As Nazism argued that the Germans were entitled
to build an empire in Europe based on their perceived racial superiority, State Shinto argued that the
Japanese were a master race destined to rule Asia.
Like their counterparts in Europe, the Japanese regime commanded the obedience of the population and
enjoyed widespread popularity because of their success in coping with the Great Depression.
Visit this site from the University of Boston. It includes readings and helpful links on the rise of fascism.
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SSWH18 Examine the major political and economic factors that shaped world societies between
World War I and World War II.
c. Describe the nature of totalitarianism and the police state that existed in the Soviet Union, Germany,
and Italy and how they differ from authoritarian governments.
The totalitarian regimes of the Soviet Union, Germany and Italy utilized three tools to exert control over
both the state and the population. These tools include extensive networks of police that operated both
publicly and in secret, state run propaganda networks that controlled the flow of information and built
powerful cults of personality around the leader, and complex layers of legislation that legalized the
dictatorial rule of the head of state and limited the civil liberties of the rest of the population.
The NKVD in the Soviet
Union, the Gestapo and SS in
Germany, and the OVRA in
Italy served as the eyes and
ears of Stalin, Hitler and
Mussolini respectively. Each
dictator maintained an
extensive network of police
that had the authority to use
covert methods to monitor the
civilian population. These
police networks benefited
from a truncated judicial
system that allowed for swift
punishments that included
death, prison, forced labor,
and exile. While all three
used internment camps to
house political dissidents,
Germany and the Soviet Union interned dissidents at levels unprecedented in human history. German
concentration camps and Soviet gulags housed millions of German and Soviet citizens who challenged or
were simply accused of challenging the authority of the regime.
State run propaganda networks like the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in Nazi
Germany controlled the flow of information to the population. Soviet, German, and Italian propaganda
departments censored foreign and domestic media, eliminating anything deemed unfit or dangerous to the
regime. State agencies in all three countries produced print, audio, and film media designed to
indoctrinate the population and glorify the leader. In the Soviet Union, the glorification of Stalin was so
successful that inmates sentenced to years of forced labor in Siberian gulags often wrote letters to Stalin
asking for help, falsely believing that their misfortune was the product of a mistake not the policies of the
The Communist, Nazi, and Fascist Parties in each country utilized the legislative bodies of each state to
pass legislation that transferred massive power to the leader and severely limited the civil liberties of the
population. Freedoms of speech, assembly, and the press were severely reduced in each country.
Inmates in a Soviet gulag, c. 1930
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The extent of power wielded by these totalitarian regimes far surpassed the scope of power held by other
authoritarian regimes. While authoritarian monarchs and dictators have managed to take almost complete
control over government in most phases of human history, there are few examples of states like Nazi
Germany, the Stalinist Soviet Union, and Fascist Italy in which the leader was able to wield extensive
power over both the government and the population.

Visit the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy for a detailed look at totalitarianism.
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SSWH18 Examine the major political and economic factors that shaped world societies between
World War I and World War II.
d. Explain the aggression and conflict leading to World War II in Europe and Asia; include the Italian
invasion of Ethiopia, the Spanish Civil War, the Rape of Nanjing in China, and the German violation
of the Treaty of Versailles.
World War I left many feeling like war no longer had a place in society. Attempts were made to reduce
the likelihood of conflict including the creation of the League of Nations and the Kellogg–Briand Pact
which renounced war as a tool of state. These efforts failed; by the 1930s a series of regional conflicts
began. Over the course of the decade, these regional conflicts drew the attention of an increasing number
of global powers and by the 1940s they culminated in the Second World War.
In 1931, Japan invaded the northern Chinese territory of Manchuria. Japanese business interests were
heavily invested in the regions iron and coal resources. The Japanese military used an explosion along a
Japanese owned railroad in the Manchurian town of Mukden as a pretext for invasion. Once in control,
the Japanese set up a puppet
government to ostensibly give
independence. Members of the
League of Nations saw the
invasion for what it was, Japanese
imperialism. The League
demanded that Japan withdraw
from Manchuria. Japan opted to
stay in Manchuria and withdraw
from the League of Nations
instead. The Japanese invasion of
Manchuria was the first in the
series of regional conflicts that led
to World War II.
Encouraged by the League’s
failure to contain Japanese
imperialist ambitions in Asia,
Benito Mussolini of Italy ordered
an invasion of Ethiopia in
1935. Like the Japanese, Mussolini sought to glorify his nation through imperial conquest. Further he
wished to avenge an Ethiopian defeat of Italy in the 1890s. Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia,
appealed to the League of Nations for help. The League condemned the invasion but none of the great
powers did anything to stop him. In fact, the British allowed the Italian military to use the Suez Canal to
move supplies and troops to East Africa for the invasion.
In the same year that Mussolini invaded Ethiopia, Hitler announced that Germany would no longer obey
the troop limits placed on them by the Treaty of Versailles. The League condemned this move but did
nothing. In March of 1936, Hitler violated the treaty again by moving German troops into the
demilitarized buffer between Germany and France called the Rhineland. While the move stunned
members of the League, they took no action. Britain argued for a policy of appeasement in the hopes of
Without the United States as a member, the League of Nations was largely
ineffective. Artist: Leonard Raven-Hill, 1919
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maintaining peace. In October of ‘36 Germany and Italy formed an alliance to which they added Japan in
November forming the Axis Powers.
In July of 1936, Francisco Franco a Spanish General led a revolt against Spain’s Republican
government. Franco and his supports in the military wished to establish a fascist regime similar to that of
Hitler and Mussolini. A civil war broke out that lasted until Franco’s victory in 1939. Mussolini and
Hitler sent troops and equipment to support Franco during the civil war; only the Soviet Union supported
the forces of the Spanish Republic.
In 1937 German and Japanese aggression continued. In July of 1937 Japan mounted a full scale invasion
of China. The better equipped Japanese forces advanced quickly and by December of 1937 they took the
Chinese capital city of Nanjing. In what is called the Rape of Nanjing, Japanese troops killed 200,000
prisoners of war and civilians and raped 20,000 women. The treatment of Chinese civilians in Nanjing
was savagely violent and public with many photographers recording the carnage.
In November 1937 Hitler announced plans for the Anschluss, the unification of Germany and
Austria. While this move was prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler carried out the annexation of
Austria in March of 1938 with little resistance from other European nations. Next he turned to the
German speaking region of Czechoslovakia called the Sudetenland. Hitler demanded that this land be
turned over to Germany in September of 1938. German, French, British, and Italian leaders met to
discuss these demands in Munich. Hoping to maintain peace through appeasement, France and Britain
agreed to the German annexation of the Sudetenland at the Munich Conference. In March of 1939 Hitler
took all of Czechoslovakia. With this move it became increasing clear that appeasement would not
prevent war; Britain and France pledged to declare war on Germany if Hitler threatened Poland.

Visit this site from Stanford Education Group for details and lesson material on appeasement.
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SSWH19 Demonstrate an understanding of the global political, economic, and social impact of
World War II.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain how cooperation by the Allied powers during World War
II led to the defeat of the Axis powers. Further, students should examine how cooperation between the
United States and the Soviet Union broke down in the final days of the war leading to the tensions that
caused the Cold War. Students are also expected to explain the impact of the war on the civilian
population, with special attention to those that fell victim to the Holocaust. In the years following the
war, students are expected to explain how post-war political and economic tension led to the spread of
both capitalist democracy and communism. Further, students should examine how the spread of
democracy and communism led to the creation of multi-national military and diplomatic alliances aimed
at keeping peace.
Watch these Crash Course World History videos for a Brief overview of World War II.

YouTube video

YouTube video

SSWH19 Demonstrate an understanding of the global political, economic, and social impact of
World War II.
a. Describe the major conflicts and outcomes, include: North African, Pacific, and European theatres.
In August of 1939, Hitler and Joseph Stalin signed a nonaggression pact in which they agreed not to go to
war and to divide Poland. In September of ‘39 Germany’s army advanced quickly into Poland utilizing a
strategy that would, by 1941, facilitate the German conquest of most of Europe – the blitzkrieg. In the
blitzkrieg Germany airplanes and tanks advanced quickly surprising the enemy before they could mount
an effective defense. A massive infantry force followed and secured German control of the
territory. Britain and France declared war on Germany after the invasion of Poland but little happened
until April of 1940 when Germany invaded Denmark and Norway. With this invasion, full scale war
erupted in Europe. German forces moved quickly, by 1941 all of continental Europe with the exception
of the neutral countries of Sweden, Switzerland and Spain were under Axis control. Axis armies also
controlled most of North Africa. While Britain remained free, the Nazi air force began a devastating
bombing campaign of British infrastructure and cities. While the Battle of Britain was terrible for British
civilians it was unsuccessful in forcing a British surrender. In May of 1941, Hitler called off the attacks
deciding instead to focus on Eastern Europe. In June of 1941, Germany violated the non-aggression pact
and invaded the Soviet Union.
In the Pacific, the Japanese navy advanced quickly through the islands of the South Pacific. While the
United States was officially neutral, it was aiding the Allies in Europe with war material through the
Lend-Lease Act and attempting to slow the Japanese advance in the Pacific with an oil embargo. On
December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, bring the US into the
war. The Japanese followed this attack with invasions that brought virtually all of Southeast Asia under
their control.
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The Allies focused on the defeat of the Axis powers in Europe first. Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union
proved to be the first step in his defeat. The vastness of territory, massive manpower, and extreme cold
gave the Soviets an advantage that allowed them to stop the German advance along a front that ran from
Leningrad to Moscow to Stalingrad. By fall of 1942 the Axis powers of Europe faced defeats in North
Africa and by the winter of ‘43 the Soviets began to push Axis armies back in the Battle of
Stalingrad. North Africa was liberated from Axis control in May and an Allied invasion of Italy began in
July of 1943. In May of 1944, a massive force made up of British, American, Canadian and French
troops landed on the coast of Normandy in France. This D-Day invasion surprised the Germans who
expected the invasion to come 300 km to the northeast near the French port of Calais. From Normandy
the Allies moved south and liberated Paris then turned east moving toward Germany. Meanwhile Soviet
troops moved into Poland and Romania. The Allied advance from the west was slowed briefly by a
German offensive in the Ardennes Forest leading to the Battle of the Bulge. But, by early spring of 1945
the Allies entered Germany from both the east and west and on May 7, 1945 Germany surrendered
unconditionally. In the midst of this defeat, Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker in
Allied invasion of Normandy. Photograph 26-G-2517 from the U.S. Coast Guard Collection in the U.S. National Archives
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Allied success in the Pacific came in May of 1942 at the Battle of Coral Sea were they stopped the
Japanese advance to the south. In June the Allies stopped the Japanese advance east at the Battle of
Midway. After Midway the Allies began an offensive against the Japanese using a strategy called islandhopping. The allies would bypass islands on which the Japanese had established extensive defenses and
focus instead on poorly defended islands close to the Japanese mainland. While this strategy worked it
was slow and brutal leading to many casualties on both sides. By the fall of 1944 the Japanese navy was
severely weakened leaving Japan’s defense to the army. In desperation the Japanese deployed kamikaze
pilots who flew suicide missions to crash bomb laden planes into American ships. American forces
continued their advance toward the Japanese homeland, taking Iwo Jima in March 1945 and Okinawa in
June. America advisors told President Truman that a land invasion of Japan would lead to massive
causalities. Truman decided instead to use the recently developed atomic bomb. On July 26, 1945
President Truman issued the Potsdam Declaration in which he told Japan to surrender or face “prompt
and utter destruction.” Japan refused and on August 6, 1945 the United States dropped an atomic bomb
on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing more than 70,000 people. On August 9 the US dropped a
second bomb on Nagasaki, killing 70,000 more. Japan surrendered on September 2,
Visit this PBS website for an overview of the major battles of the Pacific.
Visit this page from West Point Academy History Department for a very detailed history of the European
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SSWH19 Demonstrate an understanding of the global political, economic, and social impact of
World War II.
b. Identify Nazi ideology and policies that led to the Holocaust and its consequences.
In Mein Kampf Hitler defined Nazi racial ideology. According to the Nazi party, the Germanic people of
Europe were the only pure descendants of the ancient Aryans. Nazism argued that the success of the
Aryans in spreading their language across Eurasia was proof of their superiority. Modern Germanic
peoples inherited this superiority and as a result were entitled to become a master race. Non-Aryan
peoples were ranked. Some groups were considered tolerable, while groups like the Slavs were
considered naturally inclined to slavery, the Roma were considered genetically criminal, and the Jews
were considered dangerous. Germanic people who threatened the purity and security of the race were
also viewed as a danger. Germans with severe congenital disabilities, mental illness, and criminal
backgrounds were considered a pollutant to the
German bloodline. Homosexuals were viewed as a
threat to the virility of the race. Over the course of
Nazi rule a variety of policies were put into action in
response to these ideas.
Approximately 100,000 German men were arrested for
homosexuality between 1933 and 1945. While most
homosexuals were held in traditional prisons between
5,000 and 15,000 were interned in concentration camps
where they were used as forced labor. Starting in
1934, 300,000 to 400,000 people were forced to
undergo sterilization procedures either because of a
disability or their ethnicity. Around 200,000 disabled
and mentally ill Germans were executed between 1940
and 1942 during Nazi euthanasia programs. In the
mid-1930s, Roma populations in Germany were
corralled by police and forced into government
camps. Around 1940 the Nazis began sending the
Roma to concentration camps where they were used as
forced labor, subjected to bizarre research by Nazi
doctors or executed. By the end of the war, as many as
200,000 European Roma were dead. When the Nazis
invaded Poland in 1939 they began to systematically
execute Polish Catholic professionals, teachers, and
government leaders. The Nazis believed that without
leadership, the Polish people would easily submit to
slavery. Approximately 3 million Polish Catholics were dead by the end of the war. Several thousand
German and Austrian Jehovah’s Witness were arrested in the late 1930s for refusing to swear loyalty to
the state. Many of these Witnesses were subjected to forced labor in concentration camps, more than
1,000 died in these camps.
While the Nazis targeted many groups in the Holocaust, the Jewish population of Europe was targeted
with particular fanaticism. Hitler exploited long held anti-Semitic feelings in Europe, arguing that the
Jewish population was at fault for most of the country’s hardships including defeat in World War I and
Concentration camp prisoners wore patches on their
uniforms to indicate their reason for incarceration.
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the financial crisis of the Great Depression. Hitler argued that Jewish people were dangerously clever and
worked in collusion to exploit the non-Jewish population of Europe. When Hitler took power in the
1930s he planned to drive the Jewish population out of Germany. In 1935 the Nuremberg Laws revoked
German citizenship from the Jewish population. Subsequent laws restricted Jewish business activities
and tightly regulated financial transactions. Hitler and the Nazi Party hoped this would pressure the
Jewish population to leave Germany, many did; but by 1940 most of the world refused to accept any more
German Jewish immigrants. In November of 1938 Nazi party members systematically attacked Jewish
owned property all over Germany. The windows of Jewish businesses, homes, and synagogues were
smashed leading to the name Kristallnacht or the night of broken glass. The following year, Nazi party
officials began forcing the Jewish population into walled ghettos in German and Polish cities. As the
ghettos became overcrowded and the war raged on, Nazis built massive concentration camps in Germany
and Poland where Jews from all over Europe were sent to work as slave laborers. In 1942, Nazi
leadership decided to carry out the “final solution to the Jewish problem,” the systematic execution of the
Jewish population of Europe. Before ‘42 Nazi SS units killed Jews with firing squads and mobile gas
chambers in box trucks but these methods were deemed too slow. In 1942 massive complexes were built
designed to kill and incinerate of up to 12,000 people per day. Most of these were in Poland. Inmates
arrived from all over Europe, those deemed fit enough to work became slave labor, the weak were sent to
gas chambers. By the end of the war 6,000,000 Jewish people were dead.
Visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website for a detailed history of the Holocaust.
Visit Yad Vashem for history, archives, and educational resources on the Holocaust.
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SSWH19 Demonstrate an understanding of the global political, economic, and social impact of
World War II.
c. Analyze the impact of the military and diplomatic negotiations between the leaders of Great Britain,
the Soviet Union, and the United States.
The first significant meeting between the leaders of Great Britain, the USSR, and the US took place in
1943 in the city of Tehran. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin discussed plans for the invasion of northern
France and another Soviet offensive in the east. The Soviet Union agreed to join the war against Japan
following the defeat of the Axis Powers in Europe.
Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met again in February of 1945 in the Soviet resort town of Yalta. By this
time, the allies were confident that the defeat of the European Axis Powers was within reach. At this
conference the allies discussed the future of Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe. The allies agreed to
divide Germany and Austria into four occupational zones, the Soviet Union, America, Britain or France
would each take responsibility for one of the zones. The capital of Berlin would likewise be divided. The
Soviet Union agreed to allow free elections in all of the Eastern European countries that it liberated from
Nazi control. Further, the Allies agreed to the basic structure of the United Nations. The US, Britain,
France, the Soviet Union and China would each be
given a permanent seat on the Security Council and
the power to veto any UN action. Stalin also
reaffirmed the Soviet Union’s commitment to declare
war on Japan.
The final major meeting of the leaders of the US,
Britain, and the Soviet Union was held in Potsdam,
Germany in July of 1945 after the Nazi
surrender. Roosevelt died in April of 1945 so he was
replaced by Harry Truman and Churchill was
replaced after an election by Clement Attlee. At this
meeting the allies implemented their plans for the
division of Germany into occupied zones and agreed
to the demilitarization of Germany. Further they
developed a plan to purge Nazi elements from
German society with a system of courts (the
Nuremberg Trials) designed to identify, try, and
punish war criminals. However, Stalin reneged on
his promise to allow free elections in Eastern Europe
kicking off the Cold War. Britain, the US and China
issued the Potsdam Declaration in which they threatened Japan with “prompt and utter destruction” if
they did not surrender immediately.
Visit these sites from the US State Department Office of the Historian for more information on the World
War II conferences.
British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, President Harry S.
Truman, and Soviet Prime Minister Josef Stalin at the
Potsdam Conference. National Archives and Records
Administration. Office of Presidential Libraries. Harry S.
Truman Library.
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SSWH19 Demonstrate an understanding of the global political, economic, and social impact of
World War II.
d. Explain Post-World War II policies and plans for economic recovery, include: the Marshall Plan for
Europe, MacArthur’s plan for Japan, and the formation of the United Nations, NATO, and the Warsaw
World War II left much of Europe in ruins, areas that were not physically destroyed suffered from
economic hardship and political distrust. In this environment of economic and political instability many
Europeans turned to the Communist Party. President Harry Truman declared in the Truman Doctrine in
March of 1947 that the United States would work to prevent the spread of communism. To this end, the
US Secretary of State, George Marshall proposed a $12.5 billion plan to rebuild Europe. Congress
approved the plan after the fall of Czechoslovakia to Communist in 1948. The plan was a great success,
the European economy recovered quickly and Communist Parties declined in popularity across Western
NATO and Warsaw Pact membership.
Like Europe, Japan was also in ruins after the war. The United States took responsibility for the post-war
occupation and administration of Japan. This occupation was overseen by General Douglas
MacArthur. MacArthur designed a plan that would democratize Japan, stimulate economic growth and
prevent future Japanese aggression. The wartime leaders of Japan were arrested and put on trial for war
crimes. Seven of the most egregious offenders were put to death. The emperor was spared from trial and
allowed to remain on the throne. MacArthur’s investigators claimed that Emperor Hirohito was only a
figurehead and did not direct the Japanese government during the war. Hirohito’s innocence is still a
matter of debate among historians. MacArthur did substantially decrease the Japanese emperor’s
influence in Japanese life and government however. Hirohito had to renounce both his claim to divinity
and all rights to direct the actions of government. MacArthur and his advisors wrote a new constitution
for Japan that made it into a constitutional monarchy like Britain. A two house legislature elected by all
citizens over the age of 20 would run the country. A bill of rights protected the basic freedoms of the
Japanese people.
To stimulate economic growth and opportunity in Japan, MacArthur developed a plan to redistribute
land. Large landholders were required to sell their holdings to the government who in turn sold it at low
cost to former tenant farmers. MacArthur also allowed factory workers to create independent labor
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Japan was permanently demilitarized. The Japanese armed forces was disbanded immediately after the
war and a provision was written into the constitution forbidding offensive war and the maintenance of a
military with offensive capabilities.
The failure of the League of Nations to prevent World War II led to it being disbanded and replaced by
the United Nations in 1946. The United Nations was chartered in 1945 and like the League was designed
to prevent war. The founders of the United Nations attempted to remedy some of the weaknesses of the
League of Nations by giving the United Nations the power to enforce its decisions. The UN was
organized into two bodies, the General Assembly in which all member countries were given an equal vote
and the Security Council. The principle role of the General Assembly included wielding international
opinion. The Security Council was given the power to issue enforceable directives. The Council
included eleven members, six elected by the General Assembly and five permanent members with veto
power. The five countries given permanent seats in the Security Council were the United States, the
United Kingdom of Great Britain, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the Chinese
Republic. Today the seat of the USSR is held by Russia and the seat of the Chinese Republic is held by
the People’s Republic of China.
The post war tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union came to a head in June of 1948.
The Soviet Union responded to the American, British and French decision to allow West Germany to
reunite and become an independent country by blockading West Berlin. Berlin was located inside of the
Soviet occupied zone of Germany. In June of 1948 the Soviet Union attempted to force the United States,
Britain and France into allowing the USSR to take control of West Berlin. They did this by closing off all
land access to the city. The US and Britain responded by airlifting supplies into the city. The airlifts
lasted until May of 1949 when the Soviet Union finally backed down and reopened land access. The
tension caused by the blockade of Berlin resulted in the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO). Ten western European nations plus the US and Canada formed a military alliance
in which they agreed that an attack on one would be considered an attack on all. The NATO alliance
went far in mitigating the threat of Soviet aggression in Europe but also increased Cold War tensions. In
1955 the Soviet Union formed its own military alliance known as the Warsaw Pact. Seven Eastern
European countries joined with the USSR in this alliance.
Visit this page from the US State Department for more details on the Marshall Plan:
Visit this page from the Marshall Foundation for more details on the Marshall Plan:
Visit the United Nations website for resources and history.
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SSWH20 Demonstrate an understanding of the global social, economic, and political
impact of the Cold War and decolonization from 1945 to 1989.
Overview: From 1945 to the 1980s the United States and the Soviet Union were bitter rivals competing
for global influence. This rivalry resulted from a tense end to World War II (see SSWH19), conflicting
geopolitical goals related to the spread of capitalism and communism, and an intense arms race. This
Cold War never resulted in armed conflict between the two superpowers but it did profoundly shape the
world in the period.
While studying this standard, students will be expected to explain the social, economic, and political
changes that took place in the Middle East, Africa, India, and China. Students should analyze the extent
to which these changes were shaped by the Cold War rivalry between the US and the USSR.
View this video from Crash Course World History for a quick overview of the Cold War.
YouTube video

SSWH20 Demonstrate an understanding of the global social, economic, and political
impact of the Cold War and decolonization from 1945 to 1989.
a. Explain the arms race, include: development of nuclear weapons and efforts to limit the
spread of nuclear weapons.
In an effort to beat both the Axis powers and the Soviets to the creation of a nuclear weapon, the United
States spent nearly $2 billion in research and development of the atomic bomb. By 1945, they had
successfully built two such bombs, which were dropped on Japan in August of the same year. The
Soviets secured nuclear weapons technology in 1949, and thus began an unprecedented arms race
between the Soviets and the Americans. In 1952, the U.S. built the first hydrogen-bomb, a weapon with
much greater destructive power, with the Soviets following suit within a year. The arsenals amassed on
each side created fear and tension between the two nations. It also created a balance of power based on
the principle of “mutually assured destruction,” meaning that each side could completely destroy the other
many times over.
Over the course of the Cold War, Soviet and U.S. leaders made efforts to limit the use and spread of
nuclear weapons. The United States, Soviet Union, and Britain signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in
1963. By banning tests in the atmosphere, space, and underwater, they hoped to minimize the
environmental impacts of radiation. The agreement, however, still allowed for tests to take place
underground. In 1968, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, signed by 137 countries, aimed to limit the
spread of nuclear weapons technology. Disarmament efforts continued through the 1970s, but were
impeded by the interests of the military and arms manufacturers as part of the military-industrial complex.
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Intercontinental ballistic missile schematic. Library of Congress
Visit this site from the American Museum of Natural History for a brief overview of the arms race.
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SSWH20 Demonstrate an understanding of the global social, economic, and political
impact of the Cold War and decolonization from 1945 to 1989.
b. Describe the formation of the state of Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
In 1939, Britain, who controlled Palestine, reversed its 1917 Balfour Declaration, which had promised to
secure a Jewish homeland. This deepened conflict between Jews and Arab Palestinians, both of whom
had historical claims to the land. Following World War II,
Holocaust survivors poured into Palestine, and built up
American support for their own nation-state. Tensions
continued to grow, and in 1947 Britain turned the problem
over to the United Nations. In November 1947, the
United Nations voted to separate Palestine into two
separate states: one Jewish, one Arab. This plan was
accepted by Jews, but rejected by the Arabs. In May of
the following year, Israel declared independence. Its Arab
neighbors quickly moved against the new nation. The war
ended with Israel winning the war and increasing its
territory, while some 700,000 Palestinians were uprooted
and left as refugees, their lands being given to Jewish
immigrants. This situation left peace unsettled in the
In 1967, Israel responded to Egyptian military
movements, and in six days of conflict won the Sinai
Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Golan Heights
from Syria, and the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem
from Jordan. This resulted in much greater territory for
Israel and many more Palestinian refugees. The
Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), led by Yasir
Arafat gained support among Arab Palestinians. The PLO
fought for the destruction of Israel through guerilla
warfare including, bombings and airplane
hijackings. Israel responded with force, and the conflict
In 1993, the PLO and Israel reached a peace agreement,
known as the Oslo Accords. This historic, yet fragile, deal
gave Palestinians the Gaza Strip and the West Bank
territories, where they could govern with limited selfrule. This would be done under an independent
Palestinian Authority, which recognized Israel and
pledged to end terror attacks. Both Jews and Arabs
rejected the Oslo Accords – Jews because Israel gave up land, and Arabs because they didn’t secure their
own state. The Palestinian terror campaign and violent Israeli reprisals continued. In 2003, the United
States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations presented a “road map for peace” to Israelis
and Palestinians, with steps to take toward a settled peace in the region. Little progress has been made,
each side blaming the other for slow movement toward peace.
United Nations map of the Partition of Palestine by
UNGA Resolution 181.
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Check out this resource from PBS for an overview of the Arab-Israeli Conflict that considers the point of
view of both the Palestinians and Jews.
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SSWH20 Demonstrate an understanding of the global social, economic, and political
impact of the Cold War and decolonization from 1945 to 1989.
c. Analyze the rise of nationalism and the revolutionary movements in Asia (i.e. India and
China) and Africa.
Indians had pushed for self-rule since the late nineteenth century, and demands grew louder following
World War I. During World War II, Mohandas K. Ghandi and the Indian National Congress started the
Quit India movement in an effort to achieve immediate independence from the British. The British
treated this movement as a rebellion, jailed Ghandi and 60,000 others. Meanwhile, the Muslim minority
wanted its own state, separate from the Hindus in India. In 1947, the British left India after hastily
partitioning the sub-continent into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. This partition was troubled from
the start, however, as Hindus and Muslims were often neighbors. Following independence Hindus and
Muslims turned on one another, the violence resulting in the death of nearly a million Muslims and 10
million more as refugees. In January 1948, a Hindu extremist assassinated Ghandi for his tolerance of
Muslims. Border clashes continued for decades in the Kashmir province on the border between India and
Pakistan. Other nationalist
groups also wanted
independence from India. In
the 1980s, Sikhs in the
Punjab province fought for
self-rule, a movement that
was put down by Prime
Minister Indira Ghandi. A
few years later, the Tamilspeaking Hindu minority in
Sri Lanka also pushed for
their own nation. The Indian
government similarly
squashed their efforts.
During the 1930s, China
suffered a civil war between
the Guomindang Nationalist
government headed by
Chiang Kai-shek and the
Communists led by Mao Zedong. Both sides paused the civil war to fight together against the Japanese
during World War II, but in 1945 the civil war resumed. The Nationalists’ policies eroded their popular
support, leading to Communist victory in 1949. Nationalist leaders fled to Taiwan and Mao founded the
People’s Republic of China.
Mao began the first Five Year Plan in 1953 which successfully increased agricultural and manufacturing
outputs. It was a violent campaign of land reform, however, that killed millions. In 1958, Mao instituted
the Great Leap Forward, which aimed to build on the first plan’s successes, but was a failure and resulted
in millions of people dying of starvation in just a few years. Mao pushed forward with the Cultural
Revolution in 1966, a program of violent social change designed to rid China of anything from the “old
way.” After Mao’s death in 1976, moderates gained power, introduced elements of a market economy and
led China to major economic growth.
Overcrowded train transporting refugees during the partition of India, 1947.
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World War II created a powerful wave of nationalism in African colonies. Africans began to push back
against colonization, especially after India gained independence. Each nation had its own struggle, and
the European powers all responded differently.
Africans in the Gold Coast, a British colony, were the first to gain their independence. Led by Kwame
Nkrumah, a man inspired by U.S. civil rights efforts, Marcus Garvey, and Mohandas Ghandi, Africans
held strikes and boycotts against the colonial power. They achieved independence in 1957, electing
Nkrumah as the first prime minister and changing the country’s name to an ancient African one, Ghana.
Ghana’s success provided more inspiration to other colonies. Kenya, though, had many more white
settlers, who owned the majority of the colony’s fertile land. Jomo Kenyatta led a nonviolent fight for the
land, but radicals turned to guerilla fighting. The British labeled these fighters the Mau Mau and put
thousands in concentration camps and killed thousands more. Kenyans finally achieved independence in
1963 and elected Kenyatta as their first president.
Southern Rhodesia was a self-governing British colony ruled by a small white minority. This white
minority claimed independence in 1965 in response to British pressure to govern by majority
rule. Africans responded with guerilla tactics and successfully opened the government to African
majority rule. Southern Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, and Robert Mugabe, the most radical candidate,
won the first free election in 1980 after which he instituted a one-party system limiting political
France anticipated that its colonies would become incorporated into France, but many Africans wanted
their independence. France struck a deal in 1958 that colonies like Senegal and Ivory Coast would be
members of the French Community and France would remain in charge of foreign policy, but the colonies
would have self-rule and would continue to receive French aid. In 1960, those colonies received full
independence. In Algeria, the National Liberation Front fought using guerrilla warfare from 1954 to
1962, when it finally won its independence from France.
Unlike Britain and France, Belgium had no intention of letting go of its colonies and did nothing to
transition them toward independence. As a result, when the Congo was thrust into sudden independence
in response to violent protests, civil war ensued. In 1965, army general Mobutu took control and built a
brutal dictatorship that lasted over 30 years.
African nationalists fought long wars against Portugal who held onto their colonies until 1974 when the
military took over in Portugal and pulled out of Africa. Guinea-Bissau, Angola, and Mozambique were
hurled into independence without a good foundation for either their governments or their economies.
South Africa had achieved self-rule in 1910, but a white minority held all political and economic
power. In 1948 the Afrikaner National Party, made up of Dutch descendants, instituted apartheid, a rigid
system of racial segregation designed to maintain white power. The African National Congress (ANC)
organized protests, and was banned by the government in 1960. For the next three decades, South Africa
helped white minorities in neighboring countries maintain their power as well. In 1989, President F. W.
de Klerk recognized the need for reform; he ended apartheid and the ANC ban.
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Visit this site for maps of the independence movements of the 20th century.
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SSWH20 Demonstrate an understanding of the global social, economic, and political impact of
the Cold War and decolonization from 1945 to 1989.
d. Analyze opposition movements to existing political systems, include: anti-apartheid,
Tiananmen Square, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In response to apartheid laws instituted in 1948 by the white Afrikaner National Party, the African
National Congress organized acts of peaceful civil disobedience. The government responded to one such
march by shooting and killing more than 60 peaceful demonstrators in Sharpeville. After this, the ANC
and Nelson Mandela embarked on a more violent course of action. The government banned the ANC in
1960 and arrested Mandela in 1964, but he remained a popular symbol of protest. Archbishop Desmond
Tutu and others continued the fight from within and outside of South Africa. Many South African whites
also joined the movement. In 1976, police shot black school children who were protesting, leading to
riots across the country. In the 1980s, the government made small concessions, but Black Africans were
still excluded from politics and segregated in civil life. In 1989, President F. W. de Klerk instituted
reforms that legalized the ANC,
ended apartheid, and freed Mandela
from prison. This, however, was
not enough to end the violence in
the nation. Finally, in 1994, the
first multi-racial election was
held. South Africans elected antiapartheid leader Mandela as
During the 1980s, when moderates
controlled the government
following Mao’s death, many
Chinese argued for more political
freedom and economic
reforms. This movement
culminated in Tiananmen Square in
Beijing. Hundreds of thousands of
protesters filled the square for
weeks calling for
democracy. Students staged a
hunger strike, and others built barricades. The government sent in troops and tanks, which finally broke
through the barricades and began to fire on the protesters killing or wounding thousands. More were
arrested. Through this show of force, the government maintained tight control and demonstrated the
limits of the reforms it was willing to make.
In 1961, Communists built a wall of concrete and barbed wire in East Berlin along its border with West
Berlin. They built and patrolled the wall to keep East Germans from escaping to the West, shooting
anyone caught trying to cross over. The wall became a symbol of a divided Europe and, in fact, a divided
world. As the Soviet system began to fall apart in the late 1980s, protests in East Germany convinced the
government, which no longer had Soviet backing, to open the borders. In 1989, Germans on both sides
of the wall, tore down the wall, which has since become a symbol of the collapse of communism.
The Berlin Wall. Photo by Thierry Noir, 1986
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 142 of 152
Visit this site from PBS Frontline for a detailed timeline of the Tiananmen Square protests.
Visit this site from Michigan State University for details and primary sources related to the end of
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 143 of 152
SSWH21 Examine change and continuity in the world since the 1960s.
Overview: Students will be expected to explain how nationalism, capitalism, communism, and social
reform movements continued to transform governments, reshape the map of the world, and caused violent
conflict in the second half of the 20th century. Further students must explain the factors that led to the
demise of the Soviet Union and the rise of the United States as the world’s only superpower. Students
should examine the proliferation of violence by non-state actors targeted at civilians that resulted from the
profound changes in this period and discuss the growth in the use of the term terrorism to describe these
Visit this site from Khan Academy for an overview of the history of this period.
SSWH21 Examine change and continuity in the world since the 1960s.
a. Identify ethnic conflicts and new nationalisms, include: Pan-Africanism, Pan-Arabism, and
the conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda
Pan-Africanism had its roots in the early 20th century, but reemerged in the 1960s and 1970s. It
advocated for Black Nationalism and the unity and cooperation of African peoples in Africa and around
the world. In the United States it manifested as the Black Power movement and inspired African
Americans to explore African cultural roots. In Africa, in an effort to correct damage done by
colonialism, the Organization for
African Unity was formed in
1963. The African Union, influenced
by the European Union, organized in
2002 to promote the political and
economic integration of African
Pan-Arabism also had its roots in the
early 20th century. This nationalist
movement emphasized Arabs’
common history and language, and
aimed to create a single Arab
state. After the 1960s, however, the
movement was much less about
merging Arab states together, and
more about creating institutions that
would promote trade, foster cultural exchange, build up common economic goals, and provide military
cooperation between Arab countries. It emphasized political cooperation while keeping the existing states
intact. In reality, however, the Arab states did little to achieve these goals as trade barriers remained in
place and the restricted movement of people continued. The Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s
highlighted the deep divisions that existed between Arab states.
African Union assembly in session.
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 144 of 152
Following World War I, Bosnia and Herzegovina were joined with Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and
Slovenia to form Yugoslavia, a country under Soviet influence. Once Soviet rule ended in 1990,
Yugoslavia, like other countries in Eastern Europe were politically free, but in poor economic
condition. Ethnic tensions came quickly to the surface. Yugoslavia, though united by a common
language was both ethnically and religiously diverse. In 1991, Croatia and Slovenia asserted their
independence. Bosnia followed suit in 1992, but Bosnia was less homogenous than Croatia or Slovenia,
and was plagued by violence from the start. Muslims were the largest group, but not a majority. Bosnian
Serbs, a smaller minority, wanted to remain with Serbian-controlled Yugoslavia. Bosnian Serbs began a
system of ethnic cleansing, using terror and murder, to rid Bosnia of Muslims. Foreign powers were slow
to intervene. When the UN made efforts to protect Muslims, Serbs continued to bomb Muslim area and
UN safe zones. NATO intervened in 1995, bombed Serbian targets and brought them to peace talks. The
talks resulted in the Dayton Accord, which gave Bosnian Serbs control over limited territory while
recognizing the authority of the Muslim-controlled state government.
Foreign powers were again slow to intervene in Rwanda in 1994 when Hutus massacred approximately
800,000 Tutsis in a matter of 100 days. The roots of this genocide date back to German colonial rule
which strengthened the Tutsi minority and set up a Tutsi monarchy. In 1961, a Hutu coup set up a Hutu
national government. Periodic violence flared up throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and again in 1991,
which led to negotiations that would allow Tutsis to be part of the government. Hutu extremists opposed
this move. The organized massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus began when a plane carrying the
Rwandan president was shot down over the capital. The extremists encouraged and estimated 200,000
Hutus across the country to participate in the genocide by killing their Tutsi neighbors. The killing ended
as the Tutsis fought back and took over the capital. UN peacekeeping forces arrived in meaningful
numbers in June, after 700,000 were already dead and millions more had fled to neighboring countries,
mostly Zaire.
Visit United States Holocaust Memorial Museum site for the transcript of the lecture: Genocide and Other
State Murders in the Twentieth Century by HELEN FEIN
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 145 of 152
SSWH21 Examine change and continuity in the world since the 1960s.
b. Describe the reforms of Khrushchev and Gorbachev and the breakup of the Soviet Union in
1991 that produced independent countries.
When Nikita Khrushchev came to power in 1958 he embarked on a policy of de-Stalinization. He
criticized and made Stalin’s crimes known. He eased censorship, softened restrictions on artists and
intellectuals, freed political prisoners, and ended the secret police’s fear tactics. He also enacted
economic reforms that gave more control to local communities and tried to refocus the economy to create
more consumer goods.
Mikhail Gorbachev took power in 1985 and issued broad reforms in the Soviet Union that then got away
from him. His reform efforts were two-pronged. Glasnost referred to “openness.” It ended censorship
and allowed people to openly discuss problems in the Union and with the Communists. Perestroika,
meaning “restructuring,” aimed to remake the government and the economy to allow for more efficiency
and more productivity. He worked to streamline
bureaucracy and allowed for limited private
enterprise. These changes resulted in economic
turmoil, food shortages, and high prices. The
reforms also opened the way for political unrest as
dissidents were allowed to have a voice. Eastern
European countries, seeing the Soviet’s weakness,
declared independence, and nationalism rose
throughout the Soviet Union. Gorbachev was unable
to hold them all together. A coup by hardline
communists against Gorbachev in 1991 failed, but it
severely weakened his ability to govern and maintain
the Soviet Union. He resigned later in the year,
ending the Soviet Union. As the Soviet Union fell apart, the remaining republics each declared their
Visit this site from the Office of the Historian at the State Department for a history of the fall of the
Soviet Union.
Stamp from USSR supporting perestroika and other reforms.
Text on the right reads “Acceleration, democracy, freedom of
speech,” 1988
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 146 of 152
SSWH21 Examine change and continuity in the world since the 1960s.
c. Analyze terrorism as a form of warfare in the contemporary world.
Terrorism is an ancient tactic, but its use around the world has increased since the 1960s. Terrorism
refers to violence against civilians for political purposes. It is meant to get the attention of governments,
and terrorists believe that even harsh reprisals are productive by garnering sympathy for their
causes. Terrorist acts include bombings, hijackings, kidnappings, and shootings. During the 1960s and
1970s, both sides of the conflict in Northern Ireland, Catholics and Protestants, used terrorist tactics. The
British sent in troops who violated the civil rights of IRA (Irish Republican Army) members and Catholic
communities. Peace was finally reached in 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement. Since the 1960s,
urban terrorists in Latin America have targeted banks, stores, police departments, public buildings and
military posts in fights against repressive governments and U.S. economic domination. Terrorist
organizations plagued civilians and governments throughout Latin America, notably in Peru, Columbia,
Brazil, and Mexico. Some were Marxist organizations; others were motivated by nationalism. In the
1990s, the terrorist organization al-Qaida, led by Osama bin Laden, targeted the foreign influence in Arab
countries, specifically by the
United States. In 1998 al-Qaida
built its terror brand with the
bombings of United States
embassies in Kenya and Tanzania,
and again with the bombing of the
USS Cole in 2000. Then, on
September 11th of 2001, Al-Qaida
orchestrated the hijacking of four
airplanes in the United States and
flew two of them into the World
Trade Center Towers in New York
City, and one into the Pentagon
outside Washington, D.C. The
fourth plane was retaken by the
passengers who crashed it into a
field in Pennsylvania. American
reprisals were swift and
harsh. Within a month, U.S. forces
were deployed to Afghanistan
where it was believed that the Taliban was harboring bin Laden. The government also responded with
increased watchfulness and a global “war on terrorism.”
Visit this site from Digital History for an article titled Terrorism in Historical Perspective.
The aftermath of the IRA terrorist bombing in Coventry on August 1939.
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 147 of 152
SSWH21 Examine change and continuity in the world since the 1960s.
d. Examine the rise of women as major world leaders, include: Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi,
and Margaret Thatcher.
Golda Meir became the first female prime minister of Israel in 1969. She had been a leader of the Zionist
movement in the 1920s when she migrated to Israel, and she supported the unrestricted immigration of
Jews to Israel. She soon became a leader of the Jewish Agency and signed Israel’s Declaration of
Independence in 1948. She became a member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and served as foreign
minister in 1956. As prime minister, Meir instituted major programs in housing and road
construction. She also tried to form enduring peace agreements with Arab countries, but these efforts
came to an unsuccessful end with the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Indira Gandhi grew up in the Indian independence movement and was jailed by the British for her
efforts. In 1964, she became the nation’s second prime minister, after her father, and initially proved
popular and energetic. She was voted out of office in 1977, but voted back in 1980. Soon after, Sikhs in
the Punjab region began to protest for an independent state. Thousands occupied the Golden Temple in
Amritsar, the holiest site for Sikh worship.
Gandhi sent troops to attack the demonstrators
and killed more than a thousand Sikhs. In
response, two of Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards
assassinated her within a few months.
Margaret Thatcher led the Conservative Party in
Britain from 1979-1990 as the first female prime
minister in Europe. She fiercely opposed
communism and embraced a free-market
economy. This led her to dramatically cut social
welfare programs, ease government controls on
business, reduce labor unions’ power, and
privatize state-run industries. She maintained
close ties with the United States throughout her
tenure. Her political decline came when she
replaced the property tax with the poll tax. The
poll tax was the same percentage of income, regardless of income level. It proved very unpopular, and
seeing that she would not win another election, Thatcher resigned in 1990.
Visit this site from the Journal of International Women’s Studies for a scholarly article on the rise of
female political power.
Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher, April 1976, Tel Aviv
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 148 of 152
SSWH22 Analyze globalization in the contemporary world.
Overview: Students are expected to analyze the unprecedented international economic and cultural
exchange that took place in the 20th and 21st centuries. Students should evaluate the technological
developments that facilitated this exchange. Further students should explore the rise of global and
transregional organizations designed to manage these interactions.
Watch these videos from Crash Course World History for a brief history of globalization.
YouTube video

YouTube video

SSWH22 Analyze globalization in the contemporary world.
a. Describe the cultural and intellectual integration of countries into the world economy
through the development of television, satellites, and computers.
The development of television, satellite, and computer technology since the 1980s has made it possible to
disseminate information around the world easily and immediately. Satellites are used for
communications, weather, navigation, and military purposes. Television spreads information and art to
large numbers of people simultaneously. American and British programs are broadcast internationally,
increasing the use of English as a principle world language. Yet, there remains diversity, as telenovelas,
for example, also find audiences outside of Latin America. CNN’s broadcast of the Persian Gulf War was
watched around the world and inspired international versions of the news network. Computers changed
problem solving and processing capabilities. They also provided artists of all types with new tools for
film, photography, music, and
writing. Miniaturization made
computers and many other
electronic technologies
available to huge numbers of
people. The Internet has
allowed people to exchange
information almost instantly, a
phenomenon that has been
dubbed the information
revolution. It has been
embraced as a vehicle for
business, dubbed “ecommerce,” and many
companies, both global and
local, use the internet for
marketing, sales, and research.
Location of CNN bureaus. Red indicates countries with a CNN bureau; blue indicates a
US state with a bureau. A list of these bureaus can be found here.
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 149 of 152
Visit this site for an article detailing the role of global media.
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 150 of 152
SSWH22 Analyze globalization in the contemporary world.
b. Analyze global economic and political connections; include multinational corporations, the
United Nations, OPEC, and the World Trade Organization.
Multinational corporations have been agents of technological change and global transfers of
wealth. Companies in industrialized nations had the economic power to invest directly in mines and
plantations in poorer countries. This was made even easier by international trade agreements and open
markets. Trade agreements also made it possible for companies to relocate to escape restrictions and
regulations imposed by any one nation, especially those in the industrialized world. Developing nations,
desperate for foreign investment offered fewer regulations, usually resulting in lower wages and fewer
environmental protections in these countries.
Countries around the world joined together in 1945 to create the United Nations. It was designed to
maintain peace and security for member nations, and promote international cooperation culturally,
politically, and economically. It is made up of a General Assembly in which each member nation has one
vote and a Security Council with ten rotating member states and five permanent state members. These
permanent members
have veto power. The
UN administers several
organizations that
promote peaceful
cooperation globally,
for example, the World
Health Organization to
fight disease and the
Food and Agricultural
Organization to guard
against food
scarcity. UNICEF
works to protect
children around the
world, and UNESCO
international cooperation as it relates to education, science, and culture.
In 1951, Iran nationalized its oil industry in an effort to receive greater economic benefit from its oil
reserves. A boycott of Iranian oil demonstrated, however, that individual countries had little power on the
world oil market. In 1960, oil countries in the Middle East and Latin America formed OPEC, the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to promote their collective interests in the global oil
market. OPEC has proven to have considerable political as well as economic power. This was most
clearly demonstrated in 1973 when, in response to support for Israel in the Yom Kippur War, OPEC cut
off shipments of oil to the United States and the Netherlands. This created high prices and an oil shortage
in the U.S. Price hikes that followed in 1974 hurt many other countries, including Japan and its
manufacturing industries that relied heavily on oil.
In 1995, over 100 nations joined together to create the World Trade Organization to facilitate free and
reliable trade around the world. It was designed to reduce trade barriers and enforce trade agreements
WTO Members WTO Members represented by the EU
WTO Observer States Non-members source
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 151 of 152
between nations. Free trade, however, was not universally beneficial. It put pressure on manufacturers
and workers in developed countries who lost job security and put pressure for domestic social and
political reforms on developing countries as conditions for financial support and investment. Division
over the WTO’s mission was also evident at a 2003 meeting. Nations were unable to come together when
developing countries pushed richer countries to lower their agricultural subsidies that left poorer countries
at a disadvantage in the world market.
Visit this site from Brown University for resources on trade in the globalized world.
World History Teacher Notes for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies
Georgia Department of Education
2.22.2021 Page 152 of 152
SSWH22 Analyze globalization in the contemporary world.
c. Explain how governments cooperate through treaties and organizations to minimize the
negative effects of human actions on the environment.
Industrialization around the world plundered natural resources and polluted the environment and nations
struggled to come together on solutions. Strip mines ruined land, pesticides destroyed soil, water, and
insects, oil spills killed marine life, air pollution led to acid rain, and the emission of greenhouse gases
contributed to global climate change. In 1984, a leak at a pesticide plant in India killed over 3,500
people. The meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Russia exposed thousands to lethal levels
of radiation. As developing nations worked to gain economic footing through industrialization, solutions
to overpopulation and environmental damage are challenging. These nations opposed environmental
treaties that would regulate pollution in a way that inhibits their industrial growth. They point to the
deforestation and pollution caused by industrialized countries in decades and centuries past. The Kyoto
Protocol adopted by over 100 nations at a meeting in 1997, as part of the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change, bound participating nations to meet certain emission reduction targets. It
put a greater burden on developed countries as they were the ones primarily responsible for the high
levels of greenhouse gases, but required action by all countries. Though signed by U.S. President
Clinton, the Senate never ratified the agreement, and thus the U.S. remained outside the Kyoto Protocol.
Visit this site for a scholarly article from the Journal of International Law and International Cooperation
for an article on the history of international cooperation related to the environment.

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