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Concurrent with the political and diplomatic developments just described, and exercising a significant influence upon them, there occurred a vast overseas expansion of Western Civilization. Although the Crusades were the first phase of this expansion, not until the early modern period did European energies burst forth with sufficient vigor that their impact became worldwide. In the intervening centuries such things as the growth of commercial capitalism, the rise of the strong national state, and the intellectual upsurge associated with the Renaissance prepared Europeans for the mighty task of discovering, exploring, and colonizing areas in all parts of the globe. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section IX: Early Modern Europe, 1500-1789. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.