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BHIC-106: Rise of the Modern West – I

BHIC-106: Rise of the Modern West – I

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BHIC-106/ASST/TMA/2021-22

Course Code: BHIC-106

Assignment Name: Rise of Modern West-1

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Note: There are three Sections in the Assignment. You have to answer all questions in the Sections.


Assignment - I


Answer the following in about 500 words each.


Q1. Discuss Maurice Dobb’s and Guy Bois’s views on the debate on transition from feudalism to capitalism. 20

Ans) The debate started with Maurice Dobb's Studies in the Development of Capitalism, which was published shortly after WWII and revised in 1963. Marx's method of production guided Dobb's transition from feudalism to capitalism. While one form of production dominated an epoch, he allowed that elements of other modes may coexist. Three significant episodes in the transition from feudalism to capitalism were highlighted by him: the 14th century feudal crisis, the late 16th and early 17th century Industrial Revolution, and the French Revolution. After feudalism ended, capitalism began at least two centuries later. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, capital began to pervade manufacturing. It was a system in which land ownership was tied to economic standing and authority, and the direct producer was obligated by law or custom to donate a portion of his labour or produce to the feudal superior. Feudalism in this context referred to feudal lords and peasants. Peasants and land were under the control of aristocrats. The 'serfs,' or bonded farmers, used their limited holdings and had to give the feudal lords a share of their labour.


He claimed that feudalism's demise was caused by internal feudal warfare. This is explained by the 'inner-contradiction paradigm.' He argued that trade and merchant capital had no direct effect on feudalism. The increase in division of labour, which was dependent on labour productivity, was intimately tied to the growth of trade. According to him, urbanisation ushered in capitalist development. Understanding 'lord-peasant' class relations, as well as the outcome of 'lord-peasant class conflict,' he argued, was crucial to comprehending the emergence of commercial-industrial capital. Due to increased demand for weaponry and luxury items during the transition period, communities expanded into feudal civilizations. This increased trade. People got more interested in swapping peasant food for luxury items as a result. Dobb's theory of the transition from feudalism to capitalism is contradictory.


Dobb believes that towns were instrumental in the abolition of feudalism. Towns were an oasis of freedom for fleeing serfs during late mediaeval peasant revolts. However, in the countryside, the main battleground of class struggle was between peasants and landlords.


Guy Bois’s View

Guy Bois, a French mediaeval historian, was the first to respond to Brenner's assessment of feudalism's death. He emphasised that class is more than just a matter of economics. He emphasised the importance of the forces of production, which he defined as the material and non-material resources of a class. Bois believed that classes have political and social agency. Brenner's commendable incorporation of significant doses of class struggle in his storey, which had hitherto been overlooked, was praised by Bois. However, he took issue with Brenner's sloppy and ideological introduction of such concepts. He claimed that because a particular mode of production was not linked to development principles, Brenner's concepts were unrelated. To put it another way, Bois contended that Brenner's viewpoint is based on a basic comprehension of mediaeval economic history and production dynamics.


Bois emphasised the separation of the seigneur's or manor's rise from the mediaeval hierarchical network of marketplaces centred on small and big towns. Bois' idea that markets were coercive or political in nature is fundamental to understanding both feudal and capitalist forms of production. Bois, on the other hand, believes that feudalism died out because of the structural contradiction between large-scale property and small-scale production, which caused rents to decline (ibid). Because the productivity of family labour on progressively small sections of arable land was undermined by population growth, the dominating landlord class lost its economic base. The feudal crisis, according to Bois, paralleled a moral crisis as well as a social conflict.


Q2. The great discoveries of the fifteenth century were a part of European exploration and colonization. Discuss. 20

Ans) Europe entered an era of international trade and, as a result, commercial activity in the fifteenth century. The process of colonisation accelerated from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, resulting in conflicts, battles, and rivalries. European states undertook a series of excursions that marked the beginning of a new era in world history known as the Age of Discovery. The Age of Exploration, or Discovery. Figures like Ferdinand Magellan, whose 1519–1522 journey was the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean and sail around the world, helped define this era.


The desire to strike the infidel a blow, to strengthen their native state, to ascertain the shape and nature of the earth, to earn enormous fortune, or possibly all of these, was among the many causes that prompted Europeans to participate in the foreign movements of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. According to G V Scammel, a variety of causes for European colonisation have been identified, including economic, ideological, and adventurous temperament. God, Gold, and Glory are examples of early exploration objectives by European sea expeditions, emphasising religious, commercial, and personal factors. The Portuguese explored the West African coastline under the supervision of Prince Henry with the goal of acquiring gold supplies from south of the Sahara, one of the sources of the Moors' wealth, while also combating Islam, thus combining two goals. Castile was pleased with acquiring the Canary Islands in the fifteenth century.


Imperialism was motivated by both ideology and profit, as Bernal Diaz, who accompanied the conquistadores into Mexico in 1519, put it: 'We came here to serve God and to get rich.' The development of nation states in Western Europe during this period was characterised by power struggles and the encouragement of expeditions. European countries began to extend political authority and settlement by establishing armed entrepots at important nodes in economic networks. The early explorers' quest for gold is a more reasonable motivation. Economic hardship and internal politics are two major elements that affect journeys, according to Ralph Davis. The underlying motivation is Europe's desire to address economic issues, specifically the need to locate gold and silver in order to solve the bullion deficit. The Portuguese were ecstatic to have discovered gold, but it is unclear whether this was their main motivation.


Scholars believe that such economic determinants were unlikely in Portugal's expansion because the country was poor, overpopulated, and economically weak, yet it nevertheless sought-after luxuries such as sugar and spices. Braudel refutes the notion that Portugal was an impoverished country, claiming that it provided a plethora of goods to Northern Europe. King Manuel of Portugal was likewise interested in exploring marine ways to Asia. Philip II of Spain was interested in learning about the history of living things in the Indies. There was also the search for miracles, as depicted in literature. Although the conquistadores, missionaries, and administrators did not originate the advancement of learning, missionary zeal was extremely influential by 1500. Early explorations and new discoveries brought greater resources, and the missions' motivations changed throughout time. All of this indicates that the motivations were varied, ranging from alleviating poverty and misery to amassing colonial wealth by invading countries.


Assignment - II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.


Q3. Comment on the nature of early plantation economies. 10

Ans) The crusaders who seized Tyre in 1123 made the first attempt to develop sugar production for European markets. The Venetian traders who aided the crusading forces by facilitating trade across the sea used existing farms near the city for sugar cultivation. The early farms' profitability and viability depended on the use of indigenous sugar extraction processes and a consistent supply of sugar from the Aegean and Mediterranean oceans to Italian and European markets. Around the same time, other sugar farms sprung up nearby. So, King Baldwin II of Jerusalem (C.E. 1118-1131) invests personally in sugar fields around Acre. Teutonic and Templer Crusaders acquired and invested in sugar fields around Tripoli, Lebanon.


For centuries, sugar estates in Lebanon were the main source of sugar planting and export to Europe. The Norman settlers in Sicily tried to imitate sugar production on the European Mediterranean. The sector initially endured setbacks because to technological lag and competition from Anatolian and West Asian production hubs. With the introduction of Asian technology in the late 15th century, Sicily became one of Europe's major sugar producing and supplying centres, as well as a staging point for sugar plantations crossing the Atlantic.


From the 13th through the end of the 15th century, Cyprus became one of the major sugar producing centres in the Eastern Mediterranean. Control of Cyprus fell to the Venetians in 1498 after the second crusade. The main business families and bankers of other Italian towns backed the plantation model management of agricultural land in exchange for their backing for crusading armies. Families like Cornaros from Venice and Ferrer from Catalonia in Spain live on Cyprus. Sugar plantations belonged to the church, especially the Hospitalier order.


Q4. Discuss the nature of rise in prices in the early modern Europe. 10

Ans) During the sixteenth century, critical commodity prices skyrocketed across Europe. When compared to earlier centuries, the price increase is significant. Although the price variation was only 2% or 3%, it was significant enough to induce ruptures in the early modern European social-political and economic institutions. Some researchers believe that the influence of rising commodity prices was so revolutionary that it set the foundations for subsequent capitalist society and economic system. The term ‘price revolution' has also been used.


The rising expense of living was first noted in English and French sources. Foodgrains, especially cereals, were involved. Textiles and metal products had negligible increases. Cereal costs rose substantially faster and steeper than fish and cheese prices in the southern Netherlands. Between 1460 and 1559, barley and rye were substantially more expensive in Sweden than butter, cloves, and other goods. Between 1550 and 1650, prices in England quadrupled, whereas prices for meat, cattle, and metal items merely doubled. Between 1620 and 1621, rye prices rose between 14 and 16% in Germany, depending on local conditions. During the 16th century, grain prices in France climbed tenfold, while dairy costs increased eightfold. In Spain, prices rose by 3.4 times from 1601-1610, according to Hamilton. Brown and Hopkins claim that France saw the biggest increase in food grain costs, followed by England.


Scholars believe that the price fluctuations in Europe were cyclical. Prices rose in the 12th and 13th centuries, then fell until the mid-15th century. Prices remained high from 1480 to 1620, then fell for about a century, until rising again in the 18th century. According to Pierrre Chaunu, prices rose steadily from 1504 to 1550, then fell somewhat from 1550 to 1562-3. The next fifty years saw record high prices followed by a slump.


Q5. Comment on the nature of impact Reformation had on early modern Europe. 10

Ans) The question of what a person must do in order to be saved was at the heart of Luther's reformation. His idea of justification by faith arose from this. Luther argued that by adopting activities such as the sale of indulgences, the church had misconstrued the gospel and the essential substance of Christianity. In Germany, the Reformation was not a single, large-scale event, but rather a series of smaller-scale reformations. Each of these events was organised by the city council or a prince who was responsible for a certain theological ideology and attempted to promote it. The Swiss Reformation, led by Zwingli, emphasised the church's corporate nature. Clergy and laypeople were thought to form a 'holy community.' Zurich's Reformation had a significant social impact. Monasteries were abolished, and monastic charity was relegated to the community. The church and moral discipline were to be overseen jointly by the state and the church. They were to form the 'holy Community' as a group. The Lutheran Reformation and Zwingli's Reformation had some parallels. Both discarded mediaeval rites and placed a greater emphasis on God. Both of them kept traditional baby baptism rituals, albeit for different reasons.


In terms of the Reformation, the situation in France was comparable to that in Germany. Although government decentralisation was not as substantial as it may have been. Because to the efforts of liberal Catholics, the foundation for church reform in France was better prepared than in Germany. Luther's ideas were quickly translated and widely circulated. The Parisian Parliament was the most vocal opponent. The needs of Fransish I's foreign policy trumped his domestic religious policy. In the 1560s, Fransish I of France signed the Concordat of Bolognes with Pope Leo X, giving the crown virtual power over clergy appointments in France.


The second generation of reformers included John Calvin (1509-64) of France. Because of his enormous impact on various sections of Europe, he is recognised as the most prominent reformer. Calvinism's economic significance has been a source of long-running debate. The middle class's desire to overthrow the French monarchy and shatter the influence of the Catholic and aristocratic ministries in Scotland was bolstered by Calvinist political ideology.



Assignment – III


Answer the following questions in about 100 words each.

Q6. Renaissance 6

Ans) The Renaissance (French: "Rebirth") was a time in European civilization that occurred immediately after the Middle Ages and is traditionally seen to have been marked by a spike in interest in Classical learning and values. The Renaissance also saw the discovery and exploration of new continents, the replacement of the Ptolemaic system of astronomy with the Copernican system, the decline of feudalism and the rise of commerce, and the invention or application of potentially powerful innovations such as paper, printing, the mariner's compass, and gunpowder. However, it was essentially a moment of resurgence of Classical learning and wisdom for intellectuals and thinkers of the day, following a lengthy period of cultural decline and stagnation.


Q7. The print culture in early modern Europe 6

Ans) Chinese paper made its way to Europe via the silk route in the eleventh century. Manuscripts were made possible by the invention of paper. In the 15th century, paper and woodblock printing were introduced to Europe, and the first printed books appeared.

Booksellers all around Europe began exporting as demand for books grew. To satisfy the increased demand, the production of handwritten manuscripts was also reorganised. There was definitely a pressing demand for even faster and less expensive text reproduction. The turning point came in Strasbourg, Germany, when Johann Guttenberg invented the first known printing press. Between 1450 and 1550, printing presses were established in almost every country in Europe.


Q8. Paul Sweezy on trade and decline of feudalism 6

Ans) Sweezy disagreed that the feudal system was the primary driver of change. Sweezy's concept of an external prime mover driven by trade appears to be a straightforward single cause explanation for the downfall of a complex social system. Dobb's vision of feudalism as an internally dynamic system driven by economic expansion and class conflict was more historically and philosophically informed and polished. Dobb considered trade expansion to be an influence, although putting a higher emphasis on internal causes. Sweezy also chastised Dobb for failing to mention the existence of a pre-capitalist commodity production system that was neither feudal nor capitalist after feudalism's fall.


Q9. The concept of “calling” in the early modern Europe 6

Ans) The novel concept of calling entailed valuing the performance of one's duties in the world as the highest sort of moral activity one might engage in. The individual was to meet the requirements of his or her position in the world in order to be acceptable to God, and this gave every day worldly a religious importance. While Luther developed the concept of calling, according to Weber, he was not particularly fond of capitalism or the capitalist spirit, and a more traditional view of economic activity came to dominate Luther's teachings – opposition to capital and profitmaking, and acceptance of one's occupation and work as a divine ordinance.


Q10. Features of Western Absolutism 6

Ans) Absolutism (c. 1610 – c. 1789) is a historical term used to denote a form of monarchical rule unconstrained by churches, parliament, or social elites. Absolutism is usually associated with European kings who ruled throughout the transition from feudalism to capitalism, from the 16th to the 19th centuries. This period saw the end of feudal partitioning, the monarchy gaining authority, the state taking control of laws, and the Church losing influence.


Absolutist monarchs are linked to the growth of professional standing armies, professional bureaucracies, codification of state laws, and absolutist monarchy-justifying philosophies. Absolutist rulers often believed in the divine prerogative of kings as a foundation for their power.

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