Class Whiteboards


Pro or Anti French Revolution?

Thomas Paine:

Edmund Burke:

The great debate on the great revolution…

Keep these questions in mind:

What was unique about Napoleon’s rise to power, as compared to the rulers of the past centuries?

What is the symbolism of Napoleon crowning himself emperor, as opposed to letting the Pope put the crown on him?

Why did Napoleon hold a grudge against his father and France?

Why did Napoleon see the French Revolution as good news?

How did Napoleon’s failed attempt at political reform in Corsica affect his feelings towards France?

Hello class!

Welcome to HIST 100, Western Civilization: Mesopotamia to the present. This is not your typical history class. For starters, I’m as new to this class as you are. It’s my first time teaching this course, but not my first time teaching.

History is fun. It’s what makes us what we are today. As a matter of fact, history happens every yesterday!

What is history and why should we study it?

Top 10 reasons to study history:

#10 – History is like being a detective. History is a mystery, so “doing” history is like putting together the clues that people left behind to find out what happened.

#9 – History helps us learn about order. Chronology is critical to the study of history. The order in which events happen is important. You can’t have the Emancipation Proclamation before the Declaration of Independence, or Charlemagne fighting Genghis Khan, or Cleopatra collaborating with Mary Curie.

#8 – History shows us how to understand different cultures, societies, and nations.

#7 – History teaches us about why politics, the economy, our society and our culture is the way it is. We can see the development of our current state of government only by studying the changes in political parties since the formation of the United States, and even then they were influenced by the political structure and atmosphere of England, which in turn has it’s own history of change influenced by Rome!

#6 – History helps us understand human nature. History is really the study of people’s choices, what they did, why they did it, and what happened because of those actions. When we study the past we can learn about our present, which will improve our future.

#5 – History helps us understand ourselves. When we understand human nature, we understand ourselves (assuming we are humans).

#4 – Studying history helps you become a better student. Understanding the evolution and change of science, technology, engineering, math, and any other subject means you don’t have to repeat mistakes, you learn from others, and you can build on what has already been done.

#3 – History helps us to make good choices. We can see what the consequences were to other people  who have made similar decisions. For instance, we know what happens when the lowest class of society is continually oppressed and abused. The French and Russian Revolution’s are particularly bloody examples.

#2 – History helps us be good citizens. Learning about the past informs and educates us about how things were, how they changed, and how they can be. Thinking historically, helps us to think critically of sources, authors and explanations. Studying history helps you evaluate, synthesis, analyze, and interpret information becoming an informed individual. And an informed and “educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” TJ

#1 – Hist 100  is required to graduate from George Mason University.

The Civilization of the West.

In this class we are going to learn about the history of the “West”, as in “Western Civilization”, but where is the WEST? The first lesson to learning history is that everything depends upon your perspective.

Image from xkcd comic

What is a civilization? What characteristics define a people as civilized?

Traditionally, a civilization has been defined as an urban society that subsists on agriculture, which allows a diversification of activity, social stratification, complex political structures, complex economies, advancing technologies, and literacy.

An uncivilized society usually is characterized by savagery, human sacrifice, cannibalism,  illiteracy, torture, slavery. But how many times has our “civilized” society perpetrated these acts of barbarism?


In this class I hope you come away knowing three things:

  1. Learning about the past is fun!
  2. Everything that makes up today is influenced by the past.
  3. Everything we “know” is influenced by the “filters” through which we look.

Another life’s lesson is this: The effort you put into a class is directly proportional to the learning and enjoyment you receive from participating.


Thanks to the following sites for ideas on putting together the Top 10 list: