1. Explain connections between the Scientific Revolution and its antecedents such as Greek rationalism, medieval theology, Muslim science, Renaissance humanism, and new global knowledge .
  2. Explain the cultural, religious, and scientific impact of astronomical discoveries and innovations from Copernicus to Newton.
  3. Analyze the importance of discoveries in mathematics, physics, biology, and chemistry for European society.
  4. Explain the development and significance of the “scientific method.”
  5. Explain the importance of royal societies and other international networks in disseminating scientific ideas and methods.
  6. Account for the coexistence of the new scientific rationalism with traditional learning and practices such as astrology, magic, and witchcraft.
  7. Analyze and interpret primary sources using APPARTS.

Map of the World and it's empires during the 1700's

Setting the Stage: 1700


  • The Moghul Empire was already in the midst of a steady decline during this era.
  • The Muslim Moghuls had always been able to maintain power by allowing Hindus to serve in the government. When Aurungzebe assumed the throne and began an anti-Hindu campaign, he shook the stable pillar upon which his power rested and loyalty toward the Moghul throne wained.
  • Hindus threw their support behind the Deccan sultans in the north and made it impossible for Aurungzebe to unite the north and south of the country. Upon his death in 1707, a power struggle ensued to take hold of what remained of the empire.
  • False Security: geography, huge population, and religion. Reality: too much diversity and lack of popular loyalty for the central government.
  • Overtaxation impoverished the general population.
  • Mismanagement of wealth: Taj Mahal for example.
  • The Portuguese, British and French had all been staking claims in port cities on India's west coast. Although they did not directly contribute to the decline of the Moghul Empire, their strength and presence made them convenient successors.


  • The end of the Manchu conquest ushered in a period of peace and prosperity during the Ming Dynasty. Although the arts and scholarship reached new heights from a Chinese perspective, they were very conservative intellectually. They looked to the past rather than the present.
  • Tribute system: Established power over dominion and neighbors through collecting symbolic gifts in exchange for more valuable gifts to prove how dominant the mother country was. China extended its tribute system again during this time to Tibet, Korea, Indo-China and Burma.
  • Self-reliance = no major trade with outside regions. Foreign traders were limited to only a few ports and not allowed to mix with Chinese society.
  • Technology allowed maintenance of power within borders. However, the Chinese did not seize on the gains they had made in weaponry (gunpowder) and sailing to gain an advantage against the Europeans.
  • Goal: Expand and control borders to create one people.
  • Challenges: Inability to navigate foreign cultures and gain technological advantage made them vulnerable to outside challenges when Europe became crazed for Chinese goods.

Middle East

  • A slow, steady decline
  • Internal weakness based on power struggles with regional pashas and the Caliph, which made it difficult to raise taxes.
  • Lack of taxes led to corruption at the regional level, which meant the Caliph had a hard time maintaining a strong, loyal army. This led to constant power struggles within the central Caliphate. Increased employment of Europeans in the army and navy signified this decline and weakness.
  • No technological advances occurred during this time and the Caliph began relying on European technology, especially in the military.
  • The rise of the Safavid family in Persia created a rival to the Caliph. Persians were traditionally Shi'ite Muslims and did not recognize the authority of the Caliph because the Caliph was the symbolic leader of Sunni Muslims. The advent of this rival dynasty forced the Ottoman Empire to fight a two-front conflict with the Europeans to the west and the Persians to the east. The Persians were also locked in a two-front war at times between the Ottomans to the east and the Mughal Empire to the south.


  • Divided geographically by the Sahara desert: North is controlled by Ottoman Empire and South is largely tribal. In addition to geographical separation by this massive desert, the internal areas of Africa were largely inhospitable for major development because of unnavigable rivers and dense jungles.
  • Any unity that existed was centered just south of the Sahara in western Africa around salt and gold trade with Muslims in North Africa. Ghana and Mali, in particular, were extremely wealthy kingdoms with significant cultural achievements, but they declined long before the era under study.
  • There is little evidence of contact with other civilizations. Any major technological developments appear to have been brought to sub-Saharan Africa rather than taken from the civilizations there.
  • Evidence of formal education and prestige only existed in northern Africa.
  • Slaves became Africa's only major world export in this time period. While this trade did enhance the wealth of some tribal societies, it inevitably robbed sub-Saharan Africa of its strongest, most able-bodied human resources and further inhibited its potential.*
  • So little was known about Africa that it was mainly considered a nuisance because it prevented Europe from reaching India and the spice islands more easily.
*Slavery in some shape or form was widely practiced in all civilizations prior to the African slave trade. However, the introduction of the Atlantic slave trade introduced new benchmarks for slavery; this became the first time that slaves were determined by race rather than other factors such as prisoners of war, religion, or established social class.

The Americas

  • All of the major indigenous civilizations present in the Americas upon the arrival of the Spanish (the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas) were not developed enough to make an impact on the world. Their brutal religious practices, disloyal subjects, isolation and lack of advanced technology made them relatively easy prey for the Conquistadors. Much of their legacy today stems from the crops they cultivated which later became wildly popular around the world: corn, potatoes, squash and chocolate.
  • The Treaty of Tordesillas established the Line of Demarcation around the globe, giving Spain the right to conquer all lands west and Portugal the right to conquer all lands east of it. This allowed Spain and Portugal to take the lead in exploring and colonizing the Americas, Africa and Asia.
  • Indigenous populations sharply declined due to contact with Europeans, largely because of infectious diseases, weapons, and advanced technology. The Europeans required labor to develop and maintain a healthy trade of new, valuable commodities such as sugar, tobacco, rice, cotton, indigo, and other desired crops. With the rapid decline of the native people, they turned to African slavery to supply their labor.
  • Different philosophies entered into the development of the Americas as more and more Europeans began staking claims there. Major differences arise when national and private interests converge in the growth of the Americas. Rivalries from continental Europe begin to cause major conflicts in the Americas.
  • The opportunity for economic and religious freedom also draws people from all western European countries to eclipse the situations they were born into at home.
  • By 1700, only a fraction of the Americas had been fully explored.


  • Power had always consolidated in Russia behind the princes of Muscovy who had the support of the Orthodox Church. One famous Muscovite, Ivan III (a.k.a. Ivan the Terrible), helped Russia expand considerably leading into this era.
  • Peter the Great later continued these gains and introduced sweeping reforms to Russia by looking towards his European neighbors to the west. His program of "westernization" brought dramatic changes to Russia, especially to the ruling classes. He established a new capital in St. Petersburg, introduced European technology to Russia and annexed new trading opportunities through claims to Baltic waterways.
  • Despite territorial growth and a new cultural outlook, Russian society at-large barely felt the impact. All changes stemmed from authoritarian rule, as it always had in Russia, even in economic endeavors. The inability for a merchant and industrial class to take form inhibited Russia's development.
  • The serf class actually expanded during this era. Over 2/3 of Russians were peasants under firm control of their owners. This ratio would not give Russia the opportunity to fully capitalize on its gains at this time.


How did Europe come to dominate all these other dynamic civilizations?

In a word, incentives. They had more incentives than the other civilizations did to dominate and lead the world at this time, creating a Western empire that still holds sway over the globe today. Wait, we probably better explain what we mean by incentives.

"Hello! How can I help your class today?"

"So an incentive is a picture of you, Mr. Benjamin Franklin?"

"Oh, no. I am just one incentive that tends to work as a good example. Just think of me more as a motivator."

"Ah, I think I am starting to get it. What you are trying to say is that you are a motivation tool so that people will try and work hard to get you. Is that correct?"

"Think of it more this way. Incentives, like myself, are any factor (financial or non-financial) that provides a motive for a particular course of action or counts as a reason for preferring one choice to the alternatives. I would ask your students what kind of things motivate them at this point in their lives."

"That is a good idea, Ben. Thanks!"

Activity #1

Now that we have established what motivates us as students, lets think about what motivates great civilizations. Go back up towards the top of the page and review the lecture notes. Go over the different regions and to the best of your ability answer the question, "What is the incentive for each of the regions/civilizations above?" You may work with a partner on this task. It is also acceptable to talk to regional experts and get a couple of ideas from them (for you to analyze of course).

Activity #2:

Consider the European world as best you can. What do we know about their civilization during the 1700's? Before we start any research let us impress ourselves as a class and see how much we already know. Let's use factors of analysis so that we can have a clearer picture.

  • Science/Technology
  • Government
  • Religion
  • Economics
  • Trade
  • Culture/Art
  • Military Strength
  • Philosophy
  • Social Hierarchy
  • Laws
  • Resources
  • Foreign Policy and Interaction

Now that we have broken down the state of Europe, what could be some of its incentives for the future?

Homework: Read the following chapter on "The Scientific Revolution." Be ready to discuss the key figures, events, and themes and bring questions. Remember to use the skills you have learned the last couple of say. When taking notes think in terms of factors of analysis (World During the 1700's), perspective (making primary sources) and breaking text down (APPARTS).

Mr. Spivey believes that Western Europe is the region that had the tools (factors) and motivation (incentives) to successfully take over other regions. For us to understand why we will start off be look at three factors: Recreating the Sciences, Division of Power in the Church and Philosophy. We will explore these three factors and learn how Mr. Spivey would create an argument for his idea.

Factor of Analysis #1-- The Scientific Revolution

Factor of Analysis #2-- The Reformation

Factor of Analysis #3-- Age of Discovery

Factor of Analysis #4-- The Enlightenment

Expectations for History Essays

Accumulating Project-- Enlightenment Staring You!