Intermediate World History B: Our Modern World, 1400 to

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Intermediate World History B:
Our Modern World, 1400 to 1917
Course Overview
Continuing a survey of World History from prehistoric
to modern times, K¹² online lessons and assessments
complement the second volume of The Human Odyssey,
a textbook series developed and published by K¹².
This course focuses on the story of the past from the
fourteenth century to 1917 and the beginning of World
War I. The course is organized chronologically and, within
broad eras, regionally. Lessons explore developments in
religion, philosophy, the arts, and science and technology.
The course introduces geography concepts and skills as
they appear in the context of the historical narrative. Major
topics of study include:
• The cultural rebirth of Europe in the Renaissance
• The Reformation and Counter-Reformation
• The rise of Islamic empires
• Changing civilizations in China, Japan, and Russia
• The Age of Exploration, and the civilizations that had
been flourishing in the Americas for hundreds of years
prior to encounters with Europeans
• The changes that came with the Scientific Revolution
and the Enlightenment
• Democratic revolutions of the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries
• The Industrial Revolution and its consequences
• Nineteenth century nationalism and imperialism
• The remarkable transformations in communications
and society at the turn of the twentieth century
Course Outline
History is the study of the human past—the story of
change over time. It’s a story based on evidence. Our
physical world is the setting that helps shape the story,
and real people are its heroes. Historians ask questions
about all of these elements. Why did Europeans of the
Middle Ages build cathedrals? How did the shoguns of
Japan maintain their power? What inspired explorers to
set sail across the seas? Join our odyssey through history.
The questions are endless; the answers, amazing.
• Getting Started
A Renaissance Begins in Europe
Most Europeans lost touch with classical Greece and
Rome in the centuries after the fall of the Roman empire.
They lost touch with each other and with Asia when trade
declined. But in Italy, there were constant reminders of
what had been. People used stones from the Colosseum
to build their homes. They walked beneath great
aqueducts, and scholars still read classical works. When
the plague subsided and trade picked up in the fourteenth
century, Italian artists, scholars, and authors were ready
to try out new ideas, and there were merchants who could
afford to help them. We know this period of enormous
achievement as the Renaissance.
• Europe Reborn: Discovering Greece and Rome
• Cities Spur Change
• Genius in Florence
• Rome Revived
The Spread of New Ideas
The Renaissance wasn’t limited to Italy, and it wasn’t
limited to new styles of art and literature. Ideas spread
north from Italy and artists and thinkers across Northern
Europe used those ideas to create their own distinct
styles. Renaissance ideas spread into other fields as
well. Ideas that we take for granted today in politics and
religion came about during the Renaissance. Machiavelli
questioned the political world, while Luther and Calvin
questioned the practices and beliefs of the Christian
Church and the Church examined itself. Europe and the
world would never be the same.
• The Renaissance Beyond Italy
• The Reformation Splits Christendom
• The Counter-Reformation and Beyond
New Powers in Asia
While European culture grew and redefined itself, political
and cultural changes occurred in Asia, too. Almost every
part of Asia had suffered hardship during Mongol rule. Now,
each region developed its own political and cultural identity.
Great Muslim empires rose in Western and Southern Asia,
and the religious differences within Islam led to political
conflict in some places. Farther east in China, the Ming
dynasty achieved greatness and supported tremendous
cultural accomplishment. In Japan, a feudal system
maintained control. And in Russia, rulers borrowed cultural
ideas that would become distinctly Russian.
• Three Islamic Empires
• Ming China and Feudal Japan
• Russia Rising
Intermediate World History B: Our Modern World, 1400 to 1917
Europe Seeks Asia and Meets the Americas
Asia had much to offer and Europeans knew it. But how
could they get the spices, silks, porcelain, and all the rest?
The Ottomans controlled the ancient Silk Road, and it
was terribly dangerous to travel through mountains and
deserts anyway. But what if ships could sail to Asia and
back again? New ship design and new navigation aids
might make such trips possible. The race was on. The
explorers and those who sent them knew what they were
after. They had no idea that they would actually find whole
worlds unknown to them. At the same time, the people
of the powerful empires across the seas knew nothing
of Europe or Asia or Africa. They had no idea what was
about to happen.
• Portugal and Spain Explore, and the Age of Exploration
• Filling in the Map
• Old Civilizations
Exploration Changes the World
Gold, glory, and God. The Spanish and Portuguese
conquistadors and their sponsors knew what their
goals were, and they were willing to go to great lengths
to achieve them. Guns and germs helped them defeat
two great empires. But the conquistadors could not
have predicted the long-term and often unintended
consequences of their actions. Farming changed on three
continents. Diets changed. Thousands of people willingly
crossed the oceans to start new lives. Millions were
kidnapped and forced to cross the oceans as slaves. And
millions more died of disease and abuse. We still feel the
consequences today.
• Clash of Civilizations
• The Spanish and Portuguese Empires
• The Columbian Exchange
• Songhai, Benin, and the New Slave Trade
Changing Empires, Changing Ideas
Elizabeth I was quite a woman and quite a ruler. One of
England’s most powerful monarchs, she had an entire
age named for her, and the explorations she sponsored
led to the colonies that became the United States.
But England faced difficult times after Elizabeth, and a
political revolution there meant that no English monarch
would ever again have so much power. At the same time,
a revolution in science changed the way people think
and started “modern times.” Have you ever examined
something to find out more about it? Or conducted a small
experiment? Do you believe you can figure a lot of things
out for yourself by using your mind? Then you are part of
an enlightened age.
• Elizabethan England and North American Initiatives
• England: Civil War and Empire
• The Scientific Revolution
• The Enlightenment: An Age of Reason
The world changed in many ways between 1300 and
1800. Think of all that happened and all the people who
influenced what happened. Which individual had the
most influence on the way people thought, particularly
in Europe? Could it have been Leonardo da Vinci? Or
Johannes Gutenberg? How about Martin Luther, or John
Locke, or Isaac Newton? Prepare to choose someone
who interests you as a topic for research and writing.
• Writing from Research
Age of Democratic Revolutions
England’s revolution was just the beginning. Educated
people in many places read and thought about what
had happened in England and what John Locke had
said about the purpose of government. They gathered in
French salons to discuss politics as well as philosophy
and art. And the more they thought about it, the more
they grew dissatisfied with the status quo—the way things
were. In British colonies like Virginia and Massachusetts,
in France, in the Spanish colonies of Latin America,
and even in Russia, the time had come for change. A
revolution is just that—a dramatic change—and the world
was about to witness a series of revolutions. How many
would succeed? How difficult would they be?
• The World Turned Upside Down: The American
• The French Revolution
• Napoleon: From Revolution to Empire
• Latin American Independence Movements
• The Russia of the Romanovs
Revolutions in Arts, Industries, and Work
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw remarkable
political revolutions. But not all revolutions are about
government. In the midst of the political changes taking
place in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there
were revolutions taking place in arts and industries, in
economics, and in communication and transportation,
too. Everyday life may have changed more between 1750
and 2000 than in all the human history before that. Much
of that change gave people longer lives and less labor.
But some of it brought human misery and indescribable
hardship—problems the world is still trying to solve.
• Romantic Art in an Age of Revolution
• Britain Begins the Industrial Revolution
• A Revolution in Transportation and Communication
• Hard Times
• Slavery in a Modern World
Intermediate World History B: Our Modern World, 1400 to 1917
Picturing Your Thoughts
A picture is worth a thousand words. So what is a whole collage of pictures worth? When you put it together thoughtfully,
a collage can speak volumes and even prove a point.
• Picturing Your Thoughts
Nations Unite and Expand
Can you name the nations of Europe? If you thought
of Italy and Germany as two of them, you would be
right. But that wasn’t true 150 years ago. As old as their
cultures and histories are, Italy and Germany are fairly
young as unified nations. The United States had to fight
to be unified 150 years ago, too. But once those issues
were settled, there was time for enormous innovation. A
new industrial revolution occurred and it resulted in both
astonishing inventions and a need for raw materials and
markets. A new race started; this one for empire.
• Growing Nationalism in Italy and Germany
• The United States Fights and Unites
• Age of Innovation
• The New Imperialism
End-of-Course Review and Assessment
Congratulations! You have almost finished the course.
To wrap up World History, read some conclusions
about the world between 1400 and 1917, and draw
some conclusions of your own. Then, demonstrate your
knowledge in the Year-End Assessment.
• Review
• Assessment
Lesson Time and Scheduling
Total lessons: 180
Lesson time: 60 minutes
Standard Curriculum Items
The Human Odyssey, Volume 2: Our Modern World, 1400
to 1914, edited by Klee, Cribb, and Holdren
(K12 Inc., 2005)
Answers and Questions
People of the nineteenth century were confident that they
could change things for the better. So when cities grew
too fast and workers lived there in filth, it was time to take
action. Scientists worked on disease. City governments
worked on sanitation. Industrial workers organized
unions to gain better conditions, and women demanded
a voice. Writers and artists looked for answers to serious
questions, too, as did musicians. And entrepreneurs—
business leaders with vision—saw the cities and the
people in them in a whole new way.
• Organizing for Change
• Reaching Millions
• Culture Shocks
• Remarkable Individuals
The Dawn of the Twentieth Century
The world seemed to be getting smaller and smaller as the
twentieth century opened. Canals made travel from one
part of the world to another faster and safer. Soon, people
would be traveling at unimaginable speeds through the air,
as well. And ideas about who people are and what rights
they have brought people together in their demands for
self-rule. In Southeastern Europe, in Central Europe, in
India, and in China and parts of Africa, people developed
a sense of nationalism, identity with their own country.
And they demanded the freedom to throw off the old
empires and rule themselves.
• Rising Expectations in Waning Empires
• Linking the Seas and Reaching for the Skies
• Wrapping Up
Intermediate World History B: Our Modern World, 1400 to 1917

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