Academic Modern World History Syllabus Semester One


Course Description: This course is designed to inform the student about the history of the western and nonwestern world from the age of revolution to the present. The first semester will cover the Age of Enlightenment through the beginning of the 20th century. The second semester will begin with World War I and continue to the post World War era.


Academic Modern World History is designed for students who have mastered the core curriculum of World History and have prerequisite skills to succeed without intensive individualized instruction. This is a college preparation course and students should be capable of reading with comprehension, writing persuasively, and analyzing primary and secondary documents.


Course Objective: The major objective of Modern World History is to guide students in their study of the intellectual, political, economic, social, geographic, etc., factors which resulted in the formation, growth, and development of nations. Students will also explore the causes of internal discontent which led to revolution and/or civil war and external conflict with neighboring states which, in the 20th century, found resolution in two world wars.



Text: World History: Connections to Today by Prentice Hall

iPads will be used for research purposes, communication, and creative presentations

Supplementary Materials: DVDs, internet resources, maps, periodicals, primary and secondary sources will supplement the course. 

Semester Outline

Each unit of study has a specific focus that will guide you to the overall essential questions of the semester. In order to acquire comprehensive content knowledge and build persuasive presentation skills all students will complete one assessment per unit (two per semester) based upon semester and unit themes.


Year Theme: Struggle between Tradition and Modernization

Year Essential Questions:

  • Should there be limits on personal freedom?
  • Can theories ever really be put into effective practice?
  • When is violence justified?
  • Are the benefits of progress worth the cost?
  • Is progress real?
  • Can we have both liberty and security?
  • Can individuals shape history?
  • Who should govern?
  • Is conflict inevitable?  Desirable? Avoidable?
  • Should change be fast or slow?


Semester 1 Theme: Advancements in thought and technology pose challenges to “traditional” societies.


Unit 1: The Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and Napoleon

Theme: Enlightenment thoughts challenge the tradition of monarchical rule in Europe.


Unit 2: Political Revolutions and Nationalism

Theme: Liberals and nationalists pose a threat to the traditional conservative status quo in Europe.


Unit 3: Industrial Revolution

Theme: The new developments of industrialization challenged traditional Western social, economic and intellectual values.


Unit 4: Imperialism

Theme: Modern industrialized societies challenged the local traditions of peoples around the world through imperialism.