ECON 2101W Economic History of Europe

ECON2101W Economic History of Europe

Course and Instructor Information

Course Title: Economic History of Europe (ECON2101W)
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: ECON 1200 or both 1201and 1202; ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011 or 3800
Instructor: Richard N. Langlois
Phone: (860) 486-3472

Course Materials


Required Text:

A Concise Economic History of the World
by Rondo Cameron and Larry Neal
Oxford University Press, 5th edition, 2016.

(Earlier editions are fine.)

Required Text:

The Industrial Revolution: a Very Short Introduction
by Robert C. Allen
Oxford University Press, 2017.

Guns, Germs, and Steel Recommended Text

Guns, Germs, and Steel
by Jared Diamond
W. W. Norton and Company, 1999.

Available on

The developer of this course is Richard N. Langlois, Professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut.

Course Description

This course studies the economic development of Europe from prehistoric times to the early twentieth century. Although the course is chronological, the vastness of such a history necessarily means that we will be selective in our treatment, focusing on a few episodes and approaches.

In general, the course will try to explain the uniqueness of Western Europe. Why was Western Europe (including Great Britain) able to achieve sustained economic growth in a way that no other part of the world – including the great civilizations of history – was able to do?

Course Goals

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain and manipulate theories of economic growth and related economic concepts.
  • Identify key historical phenomena in time and relate them to economic concepts and theories.
  • Analyze the economics of the ancient Mediterranean and the rise and fall of Rome
  • Analyze the economics of the European Middle Ages, including the Manorial System, the Open-Field System, and the Enclosure Movement..
  • Analyze the economics of Mercantilism and the nation-state in the Early Modern Period.
  • Analyze the concept of the Industrial Revolution and be able to evaluate the reasons why the industrial revolution took place in Britain.
  • Discuss the history and economics of British economic and political dominance in the nineteenth century.


Structured Paper

This is a “W” course. That means that much of your grade must depend on a writing assignment graded for writing style as well as content. I take this requirement seriously. Your assignment will be what I call a “structured” paper. That is, it will be a long (20 pp+) paper that will follow a preset outline. Sections of the paper will be due over the course of the semester.

The paper you are to write will be an economic history of one particular country in Europe (Eastern or Western). You can choose any country that interests you. Your history will be chronological.

I will return each draft section with comments. You will revise the section according to my comments, and you may return it to me for additional comments as many times as you like. At the end of the semester, you will put all the pieces together and turn in a finished paper on the last day of class. You should also keep a running bibliography, to which you can add with each succeeding section.

Your paper should develop the following theme, which is essentially the theme of the course: what were the social institutions and economic conditions that led this country to develop (or fail to develop) economically? I encourage and expect you to find sources and references beyond what I have assigned for class readings.

Schedule of Assignments

Date Section due Comments
May 21 Proposal One page: choose a country and give reasons for your interest in it.
June 11 Ancient Before the year 1000
June 30 Medieval 1000-1500
July 23 Mercantilist 1500-1750
August 13 Industrial 1750-1914
August 20 Final version All sections rewritten, with complete bibliography.


Note: The terms “medieval,” “mercantilist,” etc., are common labels for periods of development in the most advanced countries of Western Europe. Your country may not follow this pattern very well. Use the dates given as your guide.

Writing Assignment

The writing assignment will count for 42 per cent of your course grade. (As this is a W course, however, the rule is that you cannot pass the course if you do not pass the writing assignment.) I will grade each installment separately. The four installments will be worth five per cent of the course grade each. You may revise the installments and resubmit them to me for additional comments; but your installment grade will not change, that is, your grade for each installment will be based on the first submission. I reserve the right to lower your grade in any installment that you submit after the deadline — the later the submission, the lower the grade.

Click here for a fuller description of the writing assignment

Instruction in writing is part of the curriculum for the course. You will receive extensive feedback on your installments. And you are expected to watch the writing videos linked on the left menu in HuskyCT. In fact, you should rewatch them several times over the semester as you work on your paper. If you have questions about writing, post them to the Ask the Professor discussion so everyone can benefit from the answers.


Discussions are graded on a five-point scale according to the rubric linked below. Discussion Board posts are to be the original work of each student. When a source is cited or included in any way in a post, a full citation should appear in the post so that the instructor and other students can examine the underlying source document. Students must follow the University’s Student Code on discussion boards as with other activities completed for this course. The discussion counts 15 per cent of your grade.

Click here for a complete set of instructions in the Discussion Grading Rubric

Posting early and often is important for a good discussion — and for your grade in the discussion.


You will complete a multiple-choice quiz on the video lectures in each week’s module. The quizzes will all become available when the course begins, but each quiz will close on midnight on the day its module closes. The quizzes will count three (3) per cent of your grade each, for a total of 18 per cent of your grade. All video lectures will be available throughout the course, and you will be able to review your quizzes (but not change them once taken) as an aid to studying for the final exam.

Final Exam

This course will have a cumulative open-book (essay) final exam. The exam will be online. Unless you have made special arrangements with me, it will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, August 25, 2023. The final exam will count 25 per cent of your grade.

The exam will consist of two parts. Each part will be a Word file giving you a choice of essay questions. You will answer the questions in the file and then upload the file to the assignments area of HuskyCT.

Course Grading Summary:





Final exam


Installment 1


Installment 2


Installment 3


Installment 4


Final draft


General Course Outline and Due Dates


Open Date:

Close Date:

See Learning Modules links in the left menu for complete assignments and course materials.

Module 1: Theories of Economic Growth May 8, 2023 May 21, 2023
Module 2: Ancient Economies. May 22, 2023 June 11, 2023
Module 3: The Medieval Economy. June 12, 2023 June 30, 2023
Module 4: The Mercantilist Economy. July 5, 2023 July 23, 2023
Module 5: The Industrial Revolution July 24, 2023 August 13, 2023
Module 6: Britain and the World in the 19th Century August 14, 2023 August 25, 2023

Student Responsibilities and Resources

As a member of the University of Connecticut student community, you are held to certain standards and academic policies. In addition, there are numerous resources available to help you succeed in your academic work. This section provides a brief overview to important standards, policies and resources.

Student Code

You are responsible for acting in accordance with the University of Connecticut’s Student Code Review and become familiar with these expectations. In particular, make sure you have read the section that applies to you on Academic Integrity:

Cheating and plagiarism are taken very seriously at the University of Connecticut. As a student, it is your responsibility to avoid plagiarism.

Copyrighted materials within the course are only for the use of students enrolled in the course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated.

Netiquette and Communication

At all times, course communication with fellow students and the instructor are to be professional and courteous. It is expected that you proofread all your written communication, including discussion posts, assignment submissions, and mail messages. If you are new to online learning or need a netiquette refresher, please look at this guide titled, The Core Rules of Netiquette.

Academic Support Resources

Technology and Academic Help provides a guide to technical and academic assistance.

Students needing special accommodations should work with the University’s Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD). You may contact CSD by calling (860) 486-2020 or by emailing If your request for accommodation is approved, CSD will send an accommodation letter directly to your instructor(s) so that special arrangements can be made. (Note: Student requests for accommodation must be filed each semester.)

Blackboard measures and evaluates accessibility using two sets of standards: the WCAG 2.0 standards issued by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act issued in the United States federal government.” (Retrieved March 24, 2013 from Blackboard’s website)

Software Requirements and Technical Help

The technical requirements for this course include:

This course is completely facilitated online using the learning management platform, HuskyCT. If you have difficulty accessing HuskyCT, you can access the in person/live person support options available during regular business hours through HuskyTech. Students also have 24×7 Course Support including access to live chat, phone, and support documents.

Accessing Your Course from a Foreign Country
Some foreign countries may limit or prohibit access to certain US web-sites, including YouTube, HuskyCT and other sites required for completing your online course. It is your responsibility to review the course syllabus ahead of time and to understand any limitations there may be in accessing required content. Although using UConn’s VPN might or might not allow you to gain access to take the course, it is your responsibility to be aware of and abide by any laws and regulations where you are located.

Minimum Technical Skills


To be successful in this course, you will need the following technical skills:

  • Use electronic mail with attachments.
  • Save files in commonly used word processing program formats.
  • Copy and paste text, graphics or hyperlinks.
  • Work within two or more browser windows simultaneously.
  • Open and access PDF files.

University students are expected to demonstrate competency in Computer Technology.


Evaluation of the Course


Students will be provided an opportunity to evaluate instruction in this course using the University’s standard procedures, which are administered by the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (OIRE).

Additional informal formative surveys may also be administered within the course as an optional evaluation tool.