HIS 102
Book/Document Study Questions
English Bill of Rights Declaration of Independence Declaration of the Rights of Man
Romanticism Charles Dickens Chinua Achebe
Erich Maria Remarque Karl Marx Otto von Bismarck
Adolf Hitler Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Declaration of the Rights of the Russian People
UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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English Bill of Rights
1. Was this a radical document?
2. Why did Parliament feel that it was necessary to issue a Declaration of Rights?
3. Why did Parliament feel that it was necessary to draw up a list of specific charges against the king?
4. Was this document a "constitution?"
5.  Did this document establish a constitutional regime in England?
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Declaration of Independence
1. Compare and contrast the form of this document with that of the English Bill of Rights.
2. Did the two documents use the same terminology in identifying natural rights?
3. How did Enlightenment ideas influence the drafters of the Declaration?
4.  What was different about the US Declaration from the English Bill of Rights?
5.  Who were some of the specific influences on the drafting of the US Declaration?
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Declaration of the Rights of Man
1. How did the Enlightenment and the American experience (Declaration of Independence and Constitution) influence the terms of this document?
2. What were the central themes of this document?
3. Why was this document written in 1789?
4. According to the Declaration, from where did the power of government originate, or, in other words, where did ultimate sovereignty lie?
5. Were there any restrictions noted in the Declaration on the rights of man?
6. Compare and contrast the Declaration of the Rights of Man with the Declaration of Independence and the English Bill of Rights.
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1. Why was Romanticism a result of the French Revolution?
2. Why was Romanticism a reaction against the Enlightenment?
3. Did these selected poems exhibit any of the characteristics common to Romanticism?
4. Why was nature so important to the Romantics?
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Charles Dickens
1. As a historian, what information about English society can you discover in the first paragraph of the book?
2.  Was the educational process described by Dickens similar to that practiced today? Explain.
3. Was this novel an accurate description of the effects of the Industrial Revolution?
4. What was the author's purpose in writing Hard Times?
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Karl Marx
1. Was there any evidence in The Communist Manifesto (1848) to indicate that events of the first half of the nineteenth century had influenced the authors in developing their theories?
2. Why did this critique of capitalism become such a powerful political force?
3. What sources did Marx draw on for his ideas?
4. What was Marx's view of history? Did you find it to be a valid theory? Why was it revolutionary at the time?
5. How would you criticize Marx's arguments? On what issues do you think that he was mistaken? What did he miss?
6. What was the purpose of the Communist Manifesto?
7. Identify the major points of Marx's critique of capitalism.
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Otto von Bismarck
1. What evidence is there that Bismarck was a conservative?
2. Would Bismarck have agreed with the contract theory of government?
3. Was Bismarck a defender of individual liberty and rights?
4. Contrast with the earlier state-building efforts of Louis XIV and Peter the Great or those of the French Revolution.
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Chinua Achebe
1. Why did Okonkwo kill his son?
2. Why did Okonkwo have to flee his clan?
3. What were the characteristics of Ibo society before the appearance of the Europeans?
4. For example, what sort of legal system was used?
5. What was the political basis of Ibo society?. Was it kingship? Explain.
6. What was the economic basis of Ibo society?
7. Was this a male or female dominant society? Explain.
8. What aspects of Ibo society changed with the arrival of the missionary?
9. Did white men understand (and react to) Ibo society and its customs? Explain.
10. Why did Okonkwo kill himself?
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Erich Maria Remarque
1. How did "cherry blossoms" fit into the story of life at the front during World War I?
2. Why were butterflies another important image in the book?
3. Why was the title "All Quiet on the Western Front?"
4. Why did Paul resent his time spent at home? What did he find unnerving about civilian life?
5. Why did Remarque write this novel?
6. How did the war affect the lives of the men who fought it?
7. How did the war change prevailing attitudes about authority in German society?
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Declaration of the Rights of the Russian People
1. Compare and contrast this document with the English, American and French declarations of rights?
2. Was this a democratic document?
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Adolf Hitler
1. How did the turn to authoritarian governments after World War I coincide with the turn to irrational explanations of human nature, as provided by such intellectuals as Freud, Nietzsche, Pareto, Sorel and Kafka?
2. Describe the conditions in Italy and Germany that gave rise to fascism and national socialism. How did Mussolini and Hitler take advantage of these conditions?
3. Was there any parallel between the political ideology of Bismarck and Hitler?
4. Why did Hitler disparage "bourgeois" democracy (and Marxism at the same time)?
5. Can you discover any intellectual influences on Hitler's ideas?
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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
1. What "number" was Ivan?
2. Why was this novel allowed to be published in 1962? How did it fit into the process of deStalinization in the Soviet Union?
3. Why was Ivan in the camp?
4. Was there an informal code of behavior in the camp? Did the camp administration succeed in dehumanizing the prisoners?
5. With what sorts of crimes had the prisoners been charged?
6. Why did Solzhenitsyn write One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich?
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UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1. Compare and contrast this document with the English, American, French and Russian declarations of rights?
2. Why was this document written in 1948?
3. Were there any restrictions on human rights noted in the Universal Declaration?

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For information contact cevans@nvcc.edu