World History 9B, Assignment Two, Changes in Europe


Assignment Two
Changes in Europe
Packet, Deadline December 14, 150 points

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web site for History 9B.




What events were happening in Europe at the time of rapid world expansion?
How did absolutism and expansionism support each other? How did they collide?

phillip ii of spain

Phillip II of Spain


Between 1500 and 1800, Europeans began to support an idea of government roughly known as absolutism. Basically absolutism is the idea that absolute power should be vested in one or more rulers. In today's society, we would compare absolutism with despotism, but at the time many saw it a sign of security.

It may seem odd to us today that at the same time the Renaissance was flourishing, Europeans were establishing more and more powerful monachs, but nevertheless, that was the case.


Students will identify and explain the causes and effects of absolutism in Europe by choosing one leader from the time period 1500 to 1800 and developing an in-depth understanding they can then share with class members.

Essential questions

  1. How did your ruler fit with other absolutists of the time? How did they differ? (BTW, it doesn't count to say 'they were the leader of ___________ and the others weren't'.
  2. Give us a brief biography of your ruler. Include the details of their birth and life and how they came to the throne.
  3. What issues was your ruler's nation facing at the time of their rule? Be specific! Don't use generic statements.
  4. How did their rule affect future generations? Again, be specific.
  5. How did they deal with religious factions? Almost all of them had to deal with this. How did they do it.

Special instructions

You will create a short, but thorough presentation that answers the above questions about the rule you choose. You will also create an essay of a few paragraphs that summarizes the above. You will email those paragraphs to me and they will be posted at the bottom of this web page. You will also email the link to your presentation to me and I will post it above the essays.

Your total class time for your presentation will be about 7 minutes.

You may work in groups of four or less. You are not required to work in a group.


Max, Ryan, Jett, Eli, Friedreich I of Prussia

Hannah, Megan, Grace, Peter the Great of Russia

Addie, Marz, Izzy, Cathan, Augustus III of Poland

Javier, Rylan, Catherine the Great of Russia

Riley, Zoey, Josten, William III of England

Taylor, Robyn, Ella, Marin, Catherine the Great of Russia

Elena, Napoleon

Roy, Gavin, Josh, Louis XIV of France

Grace, Queen Elizabeth I of England

Roy, Isaac William, Garrison, Leopold





Presentation Rubric
Is each answer complete? Is the language use correct and easy to follow?
25 points possible per answer

Are the answers essentially correct, but key points are missing? Is the language use correct and easy to follow?
20 points possible per answer

Do the answers use generic statements without clear conclusions and are the points vague and difficult to understand? Is the language use obscure and does it contain frequent errors?
15 points possible per answer

Are the answers random and vague? Does the language use containg frequent errors? Are the answers pointless statement that could be applied under any set of circumstances?
10 points or less per answer

Essay Rubric
The essay rubric is the same as the above. 25 points are possible for the essay.



Group Summaries and Presentations

Max, Ryan, Jett, Eli, Friedreich I of Prussia
To view their presentation, click here.


Frederick the 1st of Prussia

Frederick of Prussia was born on July 11, 1657, and died on Feb. 25,1713. He was born of Frederick William, and Louise Henriette. When he got to age thirty, he got into the elector position of Prussia. This eventually lead him to the throne 13 years later. 

Frederick was a Ruler of Prussia at one time, and he did some things the same as his ancestors and something’s different. Like many monarchs, he tried to protect his country from Russia, the Roman Empire, and other countries that wanted to take over. We was different though. He was not  as aggressive as some of his ancestors toward other countries. So he wasn’t to much alike is relatives in conclusion. He still of course fought back though. 

Frederick the  1st kept his country of Prussia stable with the new ideas of who would go to war. Instead of the nobles going to the warfront, he sent the slaves and peasants. This in turn got the slaves into nationalism for their country. This meant that they loved their country country much more, and were indulged to keep it running. This taught the future generations of rulers in Prussia how to rule. 

Frederick and Prussia had many complications and struggles during this time of his ruling. Financial Problems, nourishment problems with water and food supply, army complications, and financial problems thus leading to tax raises. Army complications Leading to peasants of Prussia being in the army instead of nobles increasing nationalism and setting a good example for Prussia’s next rulers. Last of all Prussia didn’t really deal with religious factions which is not usual for many absolutists.


Hannah, Megan, Grace, Morgan, Peter the Great of Russia
To view their presentation, click here

Peter the Great
    Peter the Great once said, “It is my great desire to reform my subjects, and yet I am ashamed to confess that I am unable to reform myself.” Peter was a very intelligent adolescent, a strong leader, and left a very great legacy.
    To begin with, Peter was a very intelligent child. He was born in Moscow, Russia in 1672. His father was Czar Alexis and his mother was Natalya Kirillovna Naryshkina (Czar’s second wife).  He was the youngest of 14 children. At a very young age Peter had a very well educated tutor, Nikita Zotov. He was very interested in drawing and learning. After his tutor left, Peter was very sad and tried his best to learn by himself until age ten. In 1682 at age ten, he started to rule jointly with his brother, Ivan the 5th.
    Secondly, Peter kept rising into power and becoming a better leader. Ivan the 5th died in 1692, after ruling jointly with his brother for 10 years. During the Renaissance Europe was becoming westernized and getting more technology, but the modernization skipped Russia. Due to this, Peter needed to reform many things. During Peter’s reign he strengthened his navy, reorganized his army to western standards, secularized schools, and strengthened the Orthodox church. As a child he valued education so much it resulted in helping all his people get a better education, understand science better, and receive more technological advancements. Due to Peter’s rule they became a great european nation.
    Lastly, Peter was a great example on how to be a responsible, and proactive leader. In 1721 he received the great title “Great Father of the Fatherland”, or “The Great”. Even Though he was a great leader sometimes he would become cruel and tyrannical. On February 8, 1725 Peter died. He was buried in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, located in St. Petersburg. He left a legacy of getting many things done, though he was not perfect and sometimes unethical, he improved Russia and westernized them in just a few years.


Addie, Marz, Izzy, Cathan, Augustus III of Poland
To view their presentation, click here

Augustus the III of Poland

Augustus was born on October 17, 1696, in Dresden, Saxony, Germany. His parents were Augustus II the strong and  Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth. 

Augustus married Archduchess Maria Josepha of Austria on August 1719. Together they had 16 children. Seven boys and eight girls. 

Augustus took the Polish throne when his father died in 1733. He reigned from 1734 to October 1763. For a total of almost 30 years. 

Augustus had total control over Poland like most of the Absolutists at this time. But people were trying to invade his land, and Augustus wasn’t big in defending, expanding,and exploring. 

Augustus brought higher education to the Polish elite by taking them to Saxony Universities. This resulted in powerful, young Poles bringing knowledge and fashion back to Poland.

The biggest issue he had to face was feuding between two families,  Czartoryski and Potocki. These families kept him from living in poland.   

Augustus III of Poland’s father he has followed in his steps of Christianity. His example showed Augustus to join the church. It also showed other people to join to because he was the leader. Making people want to do what he was doing.


Mr. Robbins


Javier, Rylan, Catherine the Great of Russia
To view their presentation, click here

Catherine the Great

By Javier Lozano & Rylan Harper

Catherine the Great, also known as Catherine the 2nd, was once known as Sophie Friederike Auguste. Born on April 21, 1729, she was the daughter of Christian August von Anhalt-Zerbst. At the age of 14, she was chosen to be the wife of Karl Ulrich, who was the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. And the marriage was a failure. For the next 18 years of her life, she was filled with regret and shame.

At the time, Russia was lead by the daughter of Peter the Great, Elizabeth. During her reign, the monarchy was greatly stabilized. She was dedicated to creating a court as glorious as the European court. This set up the way for Catherine. Luckily her husband was an impotent, alcoholic, neurotic, rebellious, obstinate, fanatical worshiper of Frederick the 2nd of Prussia. So Catherine was very calm and collected by comparison.

Despite the mix of humiliation and boredom, she enjoyed reading and preparing for her future rule. She was also (supposedly) very charming. Legend says she had 3 lovers. But all she really wanted to do was eliminate her husband and take control. And she had the chance when Elizabeth died, and her husband ended the 7-year war with Prussia. He decided to take out his wife. So Catherin decided to strike first, and gather an army to defeat him. From there she declared herself Empress of Russia.

 As a child, she wanted to make Russia a prosperous and powerful state. She also dreamed of establishing a reign of order and justice, of spreading education, creating a court to rival Versailles, and developing a national culture that would imitate and be much better than the French’s. Sadly her projects were so numerous she didn’t finish some of them.


Riley, Zoey, Josten, William III of England
To view their presentation, click here


William III of Orange

William III was born on November 4, 1650 to William II of Orange and Mary. His father had just died 3 months earlier. His mother died when he was ten years old. William married Mary II in 1677. He hoped to cement the the Anglo-Dutch alliance against Louis XIV through this marriage. In 1689, they successfully overthrew James II, who was the ruler of England. He was also Mary’s dad. In 1694 Mary died from smallpox. Then in 1702 in February, he was riding his horse in Hampton Court, when it stumbled on a molehill, throwing him off the horse. It broke his collarbone. His health was already very bad and it deteriorated super fast now with this injury. He died on March 8, 1702.

One of the issues that William had to face was the Battle of Boyne. This battle was between James the II and William the III. James’s troops were supplied by King Louis the XIV. James had planned to use Ireland as a base to overthrow William and regain his throne in England.  The Battle of Boyne took place in the year 1689.

He was the same as many other absolute monarchs in the respect that he did something that the other people in his kingdom disapproved of. Some of the other people were Parliament and the citizens. Ivan IV had the Execution of the Boyars. Charles I dissolved Parliament several times. James II got people worried that the Catholic church would be in total charge again. Louis XIV was over-ambitious to gain more land for his kingdom. William III was disliked by a lot of people because he overthrew the original ruler, James II. They had liked James and wanted him to be the ruler. They actually gave a toast to the mole who had built the molehill that William’s horse tripped on. They called him “The little gentleman in the black velvet waistcoat.”

William III of Orange was a protestant. He drove the Catholic forces of Louis XIV out of the Dutch Republic. This is what started the rivalry between these two men and their forces. James II was married to a Catholic Italian women, therefore making him Catholic.

When he won the Battle of Boyne, he stopped a war between churches. Lots of people would have different lives if this had happened, because the two churches would still be going at it. Depending on the potential outcome of the potential war, things could be better or worse than they are right now.

Taylor, Robyn, Ella, Marin, Catherine the Great of Russia
To view their presentation, click here


Catherine the Great of Russia

Catherine the Great of Russia ruled from 1767 to 1796, for a total of 29 years. Catherine was born into royalty because her dad was the prince of Germany at that time. When she was 15 years old she was chosen to be the wife of Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne of Russia. But their marriage turned out to end bad as Peter was mentally unstable and didn’t do much for Russia during this reign. In addition to this, he was incapable of having children and so Catherine was unhappy with their marriage. Because of these struggles they both began to have seperate affairs. Catherine had an affair with a soldier and later became pregnant. It was questioned if Peter was the father and if the child had a right to the throne.
Catherine soon saw that Peter’s weakness was her chance to seize power. In 1762, only months after her husband became czar as Peter III, Catherine had him arrested and confined. Soon afterward, Peter conveniently died and suspicions arose that Catherine was somehow behind his passing. Catherine was originally German so she brought German influences and power into Russia and they also alliances with Germany. Not only did they connect with Germany but they would tend to created strong relations with those who were powerful and well-connected.

Elena, Napoleon
To view her presentation, click here

Napoleon Bonaparte: Life, Death, and Power

    Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio, Corsica on 15 August 1769. His father, Carlo Buonaparte, and Letizia Ramolino, his mother, used to live in Italy. Earlier that year, Italy had sold Corsica over to France. Carlo was not happy with that, and he wanted his children to fight for Corsican independence. The French government gave him a job with them, so he got free education for his children.
    Napoleon had a short temper, which didn’t help when he went to school and got teased for his looks and his Corsican accent. It made him paranoid whenever people laughed at him. He was very good at math, history, and geography. Though he was antisocial, he thought he was superior to everyone, and he was very patriotic towards Corsica.
    Their family was of the nobility, but when next to the other French nobles, they seemed quite poor in comparison. So, it was his intelligence and some of his mother’s affairs that got him into the Military Academy of Brienne when he was ten-years-old. He was later transferred to the Royal Military Academy in Paris. He graduated from this new school as second Lieutenant in Artillery Corps when he was fifteen, having finished the whole course in one year while it took most everyone else three years.
    Napoleon went back to Corsica to start a revolution, inspired by the French Revolution surroundings, but because of a fight he had with a rebel leader, Pasquela Paoli, he returned to France, where he turned his last name into a French last name. It used to be “Buonaparte”, but he changed it “Bonaparte”.
    Because there were so many soldiers dying already, Napoleon quickly moved up in the ranks. One of the main things that made him famous was the victory at Toulon. The southern port was being attacked by French royalists and other Europeans. Napoleon commanded his soldiers skillfully, bringing them to a win. After this, he was promoted to General at age twenty-four.
    Around 1798, Napoleon and a group went to seize Egypt. They didn’t quite get what they wanted, but this expedition led to the finding of the Rosetta Stone. Once they returned to France, they found that many were angry at the Directory, which was a group of five members that governed over France until Napoleon came to power, because they thought the it was corrupt. Napoleon had someone sign a document, making him a ruler. He named himself as First Consul. Though there was a Second and Third Consul as well, to make it look like he was spreading the power and it wasn’t just him, he was really like the dictator of France. After holding a plebiscite, he gained the power to make changes to the country.
    At some point in his life, he had married Josephine, who he had crowned Empress of France after crowning himself the Emperor.
    After coming in to power, he admitted that the country needed to be rebuilt. He made a list of rules that the people should follow, which was called The Code Napoleon. Still today, over half of these rules are still in place in France.
    The University of France was set up, and Napoleon was in charge of it. He picked what the students learned, how much the teachers got paid, the books that were used, and promotion. The subjects were made to turn the students into “logical and reasonable-minded civil servants”. The school system was open for anyone to join, it was controlled by the government, and it is much like the school system that France still has today.
    At Trafalgar, both French and Spanish navies were destroyed. This left Spain infuriated with France. It also left the coastline of France open to and English attack from the sea. After a victory at Austerlitz, France gained control of Central Europe and got peace with Austria and Russia. Europe eventually made a trade blockade of Britain. This was known as the Continental System. This caused prices in Europe to go up. Russia had to go through heavy economic strain and started trading with Britain because of this.
    Portugal didn’t want to follow the continental system because their trade with Britain was essential to their prosperity. The Spanish didn’t like Napoleon’s victory over theym, so they joined forces with Portugal to go to war against France. Napoleon sent soldiers out to fight, and ended up losing his hold on Portugal.
    Russia broke the Continental System, and Napoleon didn’t like that. He wanted to go in, have a big battle, a large victory, but because of the climate of inner Europe, his men and supplies were troubled. Half of his troops had either died or had been abandoned, and he was running short on supplies. Peasants started to go against Napoleon’s soldiers, and more of them were dying. They finally managed to go into war against Russia, and it was the bloodiest battle of the 1800s. So many troops died, and Russia started to retreat. As the French continued on their way, they reached Moscow, where they waited for Czar Alexander to agree to their peace terms. The Czar didn’t want to give up, however.
    Winter had come by now, and Napoleon finally decided to head back to France to stop an uprising. 30000 soldiers were still alive by this time, and they were all distressed.
    Over time, Napoleon lost supporters. His best troops had died in their battle against Russia, and many countries were now against France. He was forced to leave the throne and was exiled the Island of Elba, which is off the eastern coast of Corsica. France was soon in perl once more, so he was brought back to fight in a war against England, Austria, Prussia, and Russia. They fought at Waterloo, which is in today’s Belgium. He was defeated again, and then he was exiled again. This time he wa sent to Saint Helena, which is off the western coast of Africa.
    There, he got a stomach cancer of sorts, and anything he did seemed hard to do.
    He died on 5 May 1821 in the Longwood House.
    Napoleon was different from the absolutist that lived just before him, Louis XVI, in the sense that Napoleon had more efficient tactics.
Louis XVI didn’t make the Second Estate pay taxes. The Second Estate are the rich people. France was divided into three parts. First Estate was the clergy. Second Estate was the nobility and the rich. Third Estate was the commoners, which made up for 97% of the population of France. 
    Louis XVI also persecuted the Protestants after he discontinued the Edict of Nantes, which is a signed document that grants Calvinist Protestants of France rights to the nation, which was considered as Catholic. Louis XVI spent a lot of money on funding wars and parties, and that is one of the reasons that France was in debt and had a shortage of money when Napoleon came into power. Louis XVI also only taxed the Third Estate, the peasants.
    Napoleon let people have the freedom of religion and paid for an education system so that the people could learn. Their education system then is quite similar to the one in France today. All of Napoleon’s public works were paid by the money stolen from countries they had conquered. He also caused that the Church would now be paid by the state.
    Some of the problems in France at the time of Napoleon’s rule were the corrupt Directory, which is a group of five members that ruled over France before Napoleon, bread shortages, the financial state of the country, and the lack of voting power. These were all shown at the Whiff of Grapeshot, which is a time when Napoleon broke up an angry mob of civilians that were going to the Directory by shooting them with grape shots. Grape shots are small cannons that look a little bit like a bunch of grapes. Small cannons stuck together, in the shape of a bunch of grapes.
    When it came to religion, there wasn’t much else to do than to please the people. The Catholic Church was reorganized and it was France’s main religion, though freedom of religion was in place. Religious freedoms were protected by the law. Church officials were then paid by the state, and they could no longer collect taxes. The Church also had to give up all its land.
    Napoleon’s rule affected most of Europe in the sense that his rules were not forgotten Many still used the rules, though Europe tried to make them forgotten. France still uses about half of the rules Napoleon made. Even though he was a dictator, he gave many freedoms. His ideas on political empowerment, liberty, and freedom spread throughout Europe. His actions had to erased by the leaders of Europe. Europe had to be reorganized after he was defeated. His actions left both a positive and negative effect on the world.



Roy, Gavin, Josh, Louis XIV of France
To view their presentation, click here


Grace, Queen Elizabeth I of England
To view her presentation, click here

Queen Elizabeth I
Biography: Elizabeth Tudor was born to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn on September 7, 1533. Anne Boleyn was Henry’s second wife, and because of obsession of getting a male heir, he had Anne executed. This made Elizabeth and her sister, Mary, illegitimate to the throne. Though she was no longer an official princess, Elizabeth received a very good education. When Henry died, her younger brother, Edward VI was to receive the throne. But being to young, his uncle took charge. In the scheme of things, Mary became queen, but only ruled for a few years. After Mary died, Elizabeth was made queen. She was 25 when she was crowned. Elizabeth brought arts into greater prominence and basically started the English Renaissance. She defeated the Spanish Armada, and made the Protestant church the religion of England. She died on March 24, 1603.
As an absolutist: As an absolutist monarch, Elizabeth was actually quite different from most other absolutists. Like others, she kept a firm grip on the government by never letting parliament into session. Unlike others, she focused on the lower castes, instead of the upper. Elizabeth was also not obsessed with finding an heir like many others. In fact, she never married at all. Some speculate that this was from the trauma of her father remarrying again and again.
        Elizabeth faced rebellions, riots, famine, and other nations. As she was transitioning England from Catholic to Protestant, there were many citizens that were very against this change. So, naturally, many parts of the country rose against her, but eventually Elizabeth had her way. Later during her rule, a famine began and riots for food turned many areas into chaos. Other nations, such as the Spanish, were not happy that England was now Protestant, so they attacked them. But Elizabeth was able to keep the religion she wanted and drove them back to Spain. She also had to deal with the whole country worrying about whether or not she would have an heir.
    Queen Elizabeth was a shining beacon in England’s history. To put a modern look to it, she empowered women more, especially single women by showing that she could rule an entire country by herself without a husband. She started the English renaissance and let creativity free through England. When she defeated the Spanish armada, she basically destroyed a world power and took their place at the top. She made England a much better country than it was.
    Dealing with religious factions was hard for Elizabeth, especially she was a protestant queen for a catholic country. As she began the transition to protestant, many catholic villages still held secret services. As priests were found out, they were executed. She quickly was able to snuff out the rebels and completely switch the country to Protestant.



Alyssa, Queen Elizabeth I of England
To view here presentation, click here.

Queen Elizabeth I
            Elizabeth was an absolutist because of her use of portrait propaganda and using clever ways to circumcise the power of men who wanted to marry Elizabeth. Elizabeth never let other powerful people shine enough to have her overthrown. Elizabeth had a curiosity to know all languages. Elizabeth was loved by many of her subjects, because Elizabeth was kind and loving to all she met.
            Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, was accused of adultery and beheaded when Elizabeth was only three. After the death of her mother, Elizabeth’s governess Margret Bryan was replaced with Kat Ashley, who became a close compadre. Kat helped Elizabeth with studies, and inspired Elizabeth to pursue more. Mary, Elizabeth’s half-sister, died after only five years of reigning.  Elizabeth inherited the throne and ruled until she died of blood poisoning.
            Elizabeth had many difficulties while ruling, such as the many plots to kill her. Elizabeth had spies who sought out those who wanted to kill Elizabeth, and foiled their plans. Elizabeth put off many decisions until the last moment, angering many of her followers.
            Elizabeth was discriminated because she was a woman, but pushed through and paved the way for other powerful women. Elizabeth’s decision not to marry also showed that a woman didn’t always need a man to boss her around. Elizabeth wanted to create a better Protestant church, and have the Catholics die out.
            Elizabeth believed she was God’s vessel on earth, so Elizabeth prayed to know God’s will and do it. She was disliked by the Catholic groups in England, and they wanted to overthrow Elizabeth, but they never made it happen. Catholics slowly died out in England, and Elizabeth’s church became more powerful than ever.


Roy, Isaac William, Garrison, Leopold
To view their presentation, click here.

Leopold was born June 9, 1640 in Vienna. He received very good education, and because
of his family had very good teachers. One of the things he focused on in his education was
language, Leopold learned Latin, Italian, German, French, Spanish. Along with language he
spent a lot of time studying the arts and sciences. His brother died in July 1654 from smallpox
and Leopold became the heir apparent. He was short skinny not very healthy.
Leopold was an absolutist, or in other words he was a leader who had total power over the
Holy Roman Empire in politics. He was able to accomplish this not by force, but by influence. He
did not gain his political power through the military. Other monarchs used the military to gain power.
Because he studied with the catholic church he was very religious, and grew to power with his
Leopold was faced with a lot of conflict and was forced to fight many wars. Leopold did
not lead his troops on the field, but was a defensive king and had to overcome conflict from
many other countries. Leopold also face with internal conflict. There were many uprisings in
conflicts he was forced to deal with. He also attempted to expel the Jewish population from The
Holy Roman Empire.
Leopold also tried to get rid of the Jewish population in the Holy Roman Empire. With
popular support he succeeded. But in 1677 Frederick William I issued a special protection to
fifty families of the expelled Jews.
Leopold made some important changes to the constitution. The Imperial diet did not meet
at a fixed time or location. In 1663 the imperial diet became a body in permanent session in
Regensburg. This was a vital tool for consolidating Habsburg power under leopold



Printed files


Media files

To view the PowerPoint file about my essay observations in class, click here.

To view the Power Point about European expansion into the New World, click here.

Online files

Absolutists from whom you may choose.

Augustus III of Poland
1, 2, 3

Friedrich I of Prussia
1, 2, 3

Elizabeth I of England
1, 2, 3

William III of England
1, 2, 3

William and Mary of England

Louis XIV - The Sun King - of France
1, 2, 3

1, 2, 3

Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire
1, 2, 3

Peter the Great of Russia
1, 2, 3

Catherine the Great of Russia
1, 2, 3


Sound files