Tools to help you focus on what is important
Read the chapter outlines to preview the topics and themes to come.
Consult the running glossary for definitions of the bolded Key Terms and People.
Preview chapter events and keep track of time with chapter timelines.
Use the review questions at the end of each major section to check your understanding of key concepts.
Read the focus questions at the start of each chapter to think about the main ideas you should look for as you read.
xl To the Student
Special features introduce the way historians work and help you learn to think critically about the past.
Numerous individual primary-source documents offer direct experiences of the past and the opportunity to consider sources historians use.
Contrasting Views provide three or four often conflict- ing eyewitness accounts of a cen- tral event, person, or development to foster critical thinking skills.
Seeing History pairs two visuals with background informa- tion and probing questions to encourage analysis of images as historical evidence.
New Sources, New Perspectives show how new evidence leads historians to fresh insights—and sometimes new interpretations.
Terms of History identify a term central to history writing and reveal how it is hotly debated.
Taking Measure data reveal how individual facts add up to broad trends and introduce quantitative analysis skills.
To the Student xli
Art and maps extend the chapter, and help you analyze images and put events in geographical context.
Full-size maps show major historical developments and carry informative captions.
Web references direct you to visual activities designed to help you analyze images.
Mapping the West summary maps provide a snapshot of the West at the close of each chapter.
“Spot” maps offer geographical de- tails right where you need them.
xli i To the Student
Tools to help you remember the chapter’s main points and do further research
For print and Web resources for papers or further study, consult the For Further Explo- ration boxes at the end of each chapter, which guide you to annotated lists of suggested ref- erences, additional primary-source materials, and related Web resources.
Test your knowledge of the important concepts and historical figures in the Key Terms and People lists, which include page references to the text discussion and running glossary definition. These definitions are also in the glossary at the end of the book.
Answer the Review Questions, which repeat the chapter’s end-of- section comprehension prompts.
Answer the analytical Making Connections questions, which will help you link ideas within or across chapters.
Read the chapter conclusions to review how the chap- ters’ most important themes and topics fit together and learn how they connect to the next chapter.
Visit the free online study guide, which provides quizzes and activities to help you master the chapter material.
Review the Important Events chronologies to make sure you under- stand the relationships between major events in the chapter and their sequence.
To the Student xli i i
In each chapter of this textbook you will find many primary sources to broaden your understanding of the development of the West. Primary sources refer to firsthand, contemporary accounts or direct evidence about a particular topic. For example, speeches, letters, diaries, song lyrics, and newspaper articles are all primary sources that historians use to construct accounts of the past. Nonwritten materials such as maps, paintings, artifacts, and even architecture and music can also be primary sources. Both types of historical documents in this textbook — written and visual — provide a glimpse into the lives of the men and women who influenced or were influenced by the course of Western history.
To guide your interpretation of any source, you should begin by asking several basic questions, listed below, as starting points for observing, analyzing, and interpreting the past. Your answers should prompt further questions of your own.
1. Who is the author? Who wrote or created the material? What was his or her author- ity? (Personal? institutional?) Did the author have specialized knowledge or experi- ence? If you are reading a written document, how would you describe the author’s tone of voice? (Formal, personal, angry?)
2. Who is the audience? Who were the intended readers, listeners, or viewers? How does the intended audience affect the ways that the author presents ideas?
3. What are the main ideas? What are the main points that the author is trying to con- vey? Can you detect any underlying assumptions of values or attitudes? How does the form or medium affect the meaning of this document?
4. In what context was the document created? From when and where does the docu- ment originate? What was the interval between the initial problem or event and this document, which responded to it? Through what form or medium was the document communicated? (For example, a newspaper, a government record, an illustration.) What contemporary events or conditions might have affected the creation of the doc- ument?
5. What’s missing? What’s missing or cannot be learned from this source, and what might this omission reveal? Are there other sources that might fill in the gaps?
Now consider these questions as you read “Columbus Describes His First Voyage (1493),” the document on the next page. Compare your answers to the sample obser- vations provided.
How to Read Primary Sources
xliv To the Student
1. Who is the author? The title and headnote that precede each document contain in- formation about the authorship and date of its creation. In this case, the Italian ex- plorer Christopher Columbus is the author. His letter describes events in which he was both an eyewitness and a participant.
2. Who is the audience? Columbus sent the letter to Raphael Sanchez, treasurer to Fer- dinand and Isabella — someone who Columbus knew would be keenly interested in the fate of his patrons’ investment. Because the letter was also a public document writ- ten to a crown official, Columbus would have expected a wider audience beyond Sanchez. How might his letter have differed had it been written to a friend?
3. What are the main ideas? In this segment, Columbus describes his encounter with the native people. He speaks of his desire to establish good relations by treating them fairly, and he offers his impressions of their intelligence and naiveté — characteristics he implies will prove useful to Europeans. He also expresses an interest in converting them to Christianity and making them loyal subjects of the crown.
4. In what context was the document created? Columbus wrote the letter in 1493, within six months of his first voyage. He would have been eager to announce the suc- cess of his endeavor.
5. What’s missing? Columbus’s letter provides just one view of the encounter. We do not have a corresponding account from the native Americans’ perspective nor from anyone else travelling with Columbus. With no corroboration evidence, how reliable is this description?
Note: You can use these same questions to analyze visual images. Start by determining who created the image — whether it’s a painting, photograph, sculpture, map, or arti- fact — and when it was made. Then consider the audience for whom the artist might have intended the work and how viewers might have reacted. Consult the text for in- formation about the time period, and look for visual cues such as color, artistic style, and use of space to determine the central idea of the work. As you read, consult the captions in this book to help you evaluate the images and to ask more questions of your own.
The B.C.E./C.E. Dating System “When were you born?”“What year is it?”We custom- arily answer questions like these with a number, such as “1987” or “2004.” Our replies are usually auto- matic, taking for granted the numerous assumptions Westerners make about how dates indicate chronol- ogy. But to what do numbers such as 1987 and 2004 actually refer? In this book the numbers used to specify dates follow a recent revision of the system most common in the Western secular world. This sys- tem reckons the dates of solar years by counting backward and forward from the traditional date of the birth of Jesus Christ, over two thousand years ago.
Using this method, numbers followed by the abbreviation B.C.E., standing for “before the com- mon era” (or, as some would say, “before the Christian era”), indicate the number of years counting backward from the assumed date of the birth of Jesus Christ. B.C.E. therefore indicates the same chronology marked by the traditional abbre- viation B.C. (“before Christ”). The larger the num- ber following B.C.E. (or B.C.), the earlier in history is the year to which it refers. The date 431 B.C.E., for example, refers to a year 431 years before the birth of Jesus and therefore comes earlier in time than the dates 430 B.C.E., 429 B.C.E., and so on. The same calculation applies to numbering other time intervals calculated on the decimal system: those of ten years (a decade), of one hundred years (a century), and of one thousand years (a millen- nium). For example, the decade of the 440s B.C.E. (449 B.C.E. to 440 B.C.E.) is earlier than the decade of the 430s B.C.E. (439 B.C.E. to 430 B.C.E.). “Fifth century B.C.E.” refers to the fifth period of 100 years reckoning backward from the birth of Jesus and covers the years 500 B.C.E. to 401 B.C.E. It is earlier in history than the fourth century B.C.E. (400 B.C.E. to 301 B.C.E.), which followed the fifth century B.C.E. Because this system has no year “zero,” the first century B.C.E. covers the years 100 B.C.E. to 1 B.C.E. Dating millennia works similarly: the second millennium B.C.E. refers to the years 2000 B.C.E. to 1001 B.C.E., the third millennium to the years 3000 B.C.E. to 2001 B.C.E., and so on.
To indicate years counted forward from the traditional date of Jesus’ birth, numbers are fol- lowed by the abbreviation C.E., standing for “of the common era” (or “of the Christian era”). C.E. therefore indicates the same chronology marked by the traditional abbreviation A.D., which stands for the Latin phrase anno Domini (“in the year of the Lord”). A.D. properly comes before the date be- ing marked. The date A.D. 1492, for example, translates as “in the year of the Lord 1492,” mean- ing 1492 years after the birth of Jesus. Under the B.C.E./C.E. system, this date would be written as 1492 C.E. For dating centuries, the term “first cen- tury C.E.” refers to the period from 1 C.E. to 100 C.E. (which is the same period as A.D. 1 to A.D. 100). For dates C.E., the smaller the number, the earlier the date in history. The fourth century C.E. (301 C.E. to 400 C.E.) comes before the fifth century C.E. (401 C.E. to 500 C.E.). The year 312 C.E. is a date in the early fourth century C.E., while 395 C.E. is a date late in the same century. When numbers are given without either B.C.E. or C.E., they are pre- sumed to be dates C.E. For example, the term eigh- teenth century with no abbreviation accompany- ing it refers to the years 1701 C.E. to 1800 C.E.
No standard system of numbering years, such as B.C.E./C.E., existed in antiquity. Different people in different places identified years with varying names and numbers. Consequently, it was difficult to match up the years in any particular local sys- tem with those in a different system. Each city of ancient Greece, for example, had its own method for keeping track of the years. The ancient Greek historian Thucydides, therefore, faced a problem in presenting a chronology for the famous Pelo- ponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, which began (by our reckoning) in 431 B.C.E. To try to ex- plain to as many of his readers as possible the date the war had begun, he described its first year by three different local systems: “the year when Chry- sis was in the forty-eighth year of her priesthood at Argos, and Aenesias was overseer at Sparta, and Pythodorus was magistrate at Athens.”
A Catholic monk named Dionysius, who lived in Rome in the sixth century C.E., invented the
xlvi Authors’ Note
The system of numbering years from the birth of Jesus is far from the only one in use today. The Jewish calendar of years, for example, counts for- ward from the date given to the creation of the world, which would be calculated as 3761 B.C.E. under the B.C.E./C.E. system. Under this system, years are designated A.M., an abbreviation of the Latin anno mundi, “in the year of the world.” The Islamic calendar counts forward from the date of the prophet Muhammad’s flight from Mecca, called the Hijra, in what is the year 622 C.E. The abbreviation A.H. (standing for the Latin phrase anno Hegirae, “in the year of the Hijra”) indicates dates calculated by this system. Anthropology commonly reckons distant dates as “before the present” (abbreviated B.P.).
History is often defined as the study of change over time; hence the importance of dates for the historian. But just as historians argue over which dates are most significant, they disagree over which dating system to follow. Their debate reveals per- haps the most enduring fact about history — its vitality.