1. Why did the Wars of Religion occur? To what extent was religion the thing they were fighting over? Why do these wars matter? 2. Which “Revolution” was the more “revolutionary,” in your opinion – the Scientific, the French, or the Industrial? Which had the greatest significance for later Western history?
3. What do you think Edmund Burke’s famous prediction towards the end of his Reflections on the Revolution in France, and the rise of Napoleon? Do you see Napoleon as a power-hungry zealot, as a social reformer true to the Revolution, as an example of the corruptibility of power, or in some other way? 4. One of Martin Luther’s most important books is called The Freedom of a Christian; Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan argued that only Absolutism could offer freedom to society; Immanuel Kant’s essay “What is Enlightenment?” declared that “a loss of civil freedom is necessary to ensure the freedom of the mind”; the slogan of the French Revolution called for “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” (that is, “Freedom, Equality, and Brotherhood”). How did the ideas of freedom change over the 16th-19th centuries in western Europe, and why do these changes matter?