History Midterm Study Guide

History Midterm Study Guide - History Midterm Study Guide...

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History Midterm Study Guide What is Mark’s thesis? Eurocentrism? Rise of the West? Marks’s reason for writing The Origins of the Modern World is to understand how the world become industrialized, organized politically by nation states, and distinguished by a growing gap between wealthy and poor parts of the world. Most explanations for the modern world focus on Europe and the rise of the West because Europe has dominated the world the past 150 to 200 years. As a result, historians explain reasons for European dominance by searching in Europe. Marks does not agree with the rise of the West narrative. The rise of the West explains why the modern world is defined by European features. After Spaniards conquered American civilizations, Europeans attributed their superiority to their Christian religion and later to a Greek heritage of secular, rationalistic, and scientific thought. Later, the Industrial Revolution and French Revolution reinforced the idea of European dominance and superiority in the minds of Europeans. As the Industrial Revolution began, British political economists Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo described the ideas of capitalist development in the West as progressive and Asia as backward. Marxist thinkers explain the rise of the West as a result of colonialism, slavery, and the exploitation of colonies in American and Asia. Another aspect that Marks disagrees with is Eurocentrism. Eurocentrism views history from a European point of view and emphasizes the superiority of European culture. Europe is viewed as the center of the world and capable of changing when the rest of the world is not. However, Marks’s thesis is that explanations for the origins of the modern world focus too much on Europe. Marks believes in explaining the modern world in a non- Eurocentric way. By broadening the storyline to all parts of the world, a more thorough understanding of the modern world is gained. Eurocentrism may view the Industrial Revolution as the result of English innovativeness, politics, determination, and dominant culture. On the other hand, Marks’s non-Eurocentric narrative explains the Industrial Revolution as the result of global developments involving India, China, and New World colonies. Marks states that the dominance of the West did not occur until the early nineteenth century. He further explains by mentioning Asia was “the economic engine driving global trade” beginning in the 1400s. Until 1800, Asia was the source of silver demanded by China and India. In addition, Asia was the ultimate source of manufactured goods, such as textiles and spices. One of Mark’s key points is that European dominance and the rise of the West was contingent and not certain to occur. Due to certain developments in Europe and many other causes, Europe was able to gain an advantage over Asia. Europe and Asia began to experience environmental limits that halted further growth. However, Britain was home to easily accessible coal deposits and was able to
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This note was uploaded on 09/29/2011 for the course HIST 104 taught by Professor Ingrao during the Spring '08 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.

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History Midterm Study Guide - History Midterm Study Guide...

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