Browse Exhibits (14 total)

Capital, Consumption and Economic Organization in Early Modern Europe

Zach Irvin

This exhibit aims to explore the many ways in which the early modern European economy organized itself in a common public sphere. From explorers, philosophers, monarchs, and peasants, the exhibit will situate these many historical agents within the major economic developments in an attempt to understand the people who were truly shaping Europe’s economic trajectory.

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Development of Education in Early Modern Europe

Benjamin Wightman

This exhibit displays several places and objects that are representative of broad changes in the education of Early Modern Europe, starting with an overview of Medieval education in the 12th century, and ending with the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft in 1792. Throughout this time, education itself becomes much more diverse, growing to include humanistic subjects and the sciences. It also became available to an increasingly wider circle of people, from a tiny intellectual circle in the early Renaissance to European elite patrons, all the way to the general public in the 18th century. Women had difficulty securing a place in the history of education throughout this era, and education continued to have strong ties with religion. Despite the fact that many influential scientific thinkers were incredibly devout, science came into conflict with religion. The history of scientific development is intrinsically intertwined with that of education, as scientific development pushed the boundaries of what could be taught. Education itself proved to be dangerous to the established Church, as one purpose of education is to teach people to think for themselves, which caused some to question the established order. The Church found that the best way to respond was to educate people in their own way. In general, the ideological trends of the Early Modern period slowly bring more and more importance to education in society, and in doing so bring more and more members of society to education.

Literature/Writing in Early Modern England

Cassidy Bins

A collection of literature, letters, and political documents by English writers.

Maritime History in Early Modern Europe

McLain Sidmore

A collection of items, images, and text that follow the progression of maritime history during the early modern period, through a focus on European voyaging, conquest, and colonization throughout the world. 

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Medicine in Early Modern Europe

Jack Williams

A collection of documents describing the changes and developments in medicine during the Early Modern Period, as well as its interaction with overall developments during this period.

Politics and Power in the Holy Roman Empire

Andrew Fitch

A collection of images and documents that provide a glimpse into the politics and power struggles of the Holy Roman Empire in the Early Modern Period. Emphasis is placed on attempts to both establish and resist Hapsburg power and German unification.

Politics from Classical Antiquity to the Early Modern Period

Moses Jehng and Michael Schultz

This exhibit examines the political developments of Early Modern Europe and their roots in the philosophy of Classical Antiquity (Ancient Greece and Rome), highlighting the preservation and reconceptualization of ideals that occurred between the periods. The exhibit is intended to provide the reader with a grasp of Early Modern European political philosophy/politics and its foundations. Through this, an understanding of the deeply interconnected nature of intellectual history will be fostered.

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Religion and Power in Spanish Culture

Elliot Cahn and Teddy Wolfe

The Early Modern period in Spain ranged from the marriage of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile in 1479 to Napoleon’s invasion of Spain and imprisonment of King Ferdinand VII in 1808. In this span, Spain formed from the fusion of distinct kingdoms, developed into the most dominant nation in Europe, and suffered a decline at the height of its powers that ended in military defeat to stronger nation. Since the union of Castile and Aragon, Spanish rulers focused on expanding their influence, which was achieved through marriage bonds with other European monarchies and active participation in the wars of Europe. Spain initially engaged in the same forms of development as their neighbors. It accumulated colonies, especially in the New World, and its monarchy centralized and consolidated power.

This progress, however, was achieved at the expense of future reforms. Spain was slow to accept changes with foreign origins and the social structure, which allowed aristocrats to become wealthy from renting their lands, prevented political and economic innovations that were successful in other parts of the continent. The financial drain of war, colonization, and bureaucratic mismanagement made it difficult for Spain to retain its might as a nation, which allowed for successful revolutions against its authority. The worsening economic situation also led to popular discontentment and rioting, which continued to destabilize the country. The French invasion in the early 19th century dismantled the remaining mechanisms of monarchical power and allowed for even more Spanish protectorates to declare independence. While Spain was once the most powerful nation in Early Modern Europe, its inability to adapt hindered its capacity to compete with the other powers of the continent.

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Student Essays

The student essays produced for History 139, Fall 2018.

The Early Modern Period in the Low Countries

Adam Smart

This exhibit traces the early modern period of Europe through the regional lens of the Low Countries, a region which constitutes the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. This period spans from the 1430s to the 1790s, but the exhibit mainly focuses on the developments of the 16th and 17th centuries in the northern region of the Netherlands controlled by the Dutch Republic.

The Papacy in Early Modern Europe

Matthew Walsh

A collection of texts, engravings, and other images pertaining to Europe's most influential religious leader and the development of the institution throughout the Early Modern period.

Tracing Modern Political Ideology in Early Modern Europe

Deren Owji

Many historians choose to define the Enlightenment era essentially as the beginning of modern political thought as we know it today. The period in the 18th century saw the development of defining principles of modern Conservatism and Liberalism through philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, and Edmund Burke. However, an issue arises with strictly defining this period as the base of all modern political concepts. By looking at Europe in the early modern period as a whole, starting with the Renaissance to the works of the Enlightenment, ideas which potentially evolved into later political philosophy can be traced through published theories, literature, and art. Starting with sparks of Christian Humanism in the Northern Renaissance, the progression of state external sovereignty principles in the aftermath of religious conflict, to Absolutist theories of government structure, political ideas presented themselves in a myriad of ways. It becomes evident that the development of political thought occurred continuously throughout the early modern period.