AS History
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AS & A Level History

Introduction

This History specification encourages candidates to develop their capacity for critical thinking and to see relationships between the different aspects of history in its broader perspectives, such as between its political, economic, social and cultural dimensions, and to appreciate the diversities of societies, developments affecting different groups, the significance of events and issues, and the role of individuals within them. It has been designed to build upon the skills and concepts of History which are an integral part of GCSE and many candidates may be expected to have achieved an appropriate level of attainment in GCSE History.

The specification encourages candidates to :

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Acquire, and effectively communicate, knowledge and understanding of selected periods of history.

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Develop an understanding of historical terms and concepts.

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Explore the significance of events, individuals, issues and societies in history.

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Understand the nature of historical evidence and the methods used by historians in analysis and evaluation.

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Develop an understanding of how the past has been interpreted and represented.

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Develop an understanding of the nature of historical study, for example, that history is concerned with judgements based on available evidence and that historical judgements may be provisional.

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Develop an interest in and enthusiasm for history.

 

Scheme of Assessment

1. Advanced Subsidiary (AS)

 

Unit

 

Title/Method

 

Length/Weighting

 

1

 

Revolution & Conservatism in France and Europe, 1789-1825

Written paper - 2 structured questions plus 1 source-based question

 

1 hour 30m

17.5%

 

2

 

Britain, 1895-1918

Written paper - 2 structured questions plus 1 source-based question

 

1 hour 30m

17.5%

 

3

 

Course Essays:

1. The Nature & Impact of New Liberalism

2. The Revolutions of 1848 & their immediate aftermath to 1850

 

1000 words each

15%

 

2. Advanced Level (A2)

 

Unit

 

Title/Method

 

Length/Weighting

 

4

 

Nationalism & the State, Europe 1814-1914

Written paper - 1 source-based question plus 1 essay

 

1 hour 30m

15%

 

5

 

Britain, 1918-51

Written paper - 1 two-part question plus 1 essay

 

1 hour 30m

15%

 

6

 

Personal Study

 

 

Coursework

3000 words


 

AS MODULE 1: REVOLUTION & CONSERVATISM IN FRANCE AND EUROPE, 1789-1825

This alternative focuses on revolution and its impact on major European states.  The political, social and economic impact of the French Revolution and the nature of Napoleonic rule in France and Europe are key issues.

The Alternative also studies post-Napoleonic Europe's diplomatic reconstruction amid the tension between the forces of conservatism and liberal-nationalism.  The Key Questions raise important issues about the relative strengths of the revolutionary and conservative forces and the nature and impact of great change in national and continental contexts.  Candidates will also assess the importance of key individuals such as Robespierre, Napoleon, Metternich and Tsar Alexander I.   The issues reflect the social, political, cultural, diplomatic and economic dimensions of a period that created new, revolutionary forces.  Their effects on leaders and peoples, states, institutions and policies generate opportunities for debate and the nature, impact and outcomes of such great change.

1. In what ways did the French Revolution change the political, social, religious and economic structures in France?

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The French Revolution and the events of 1789-94; Estates General; the Republic of Girondist and Jacobin; Terror; Robespierre's rise and fall and Thermidorean Reaction

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The impact of the Revolution: new political structures, weakening of the Church, the bourgeoisie; economic development; the social impact of change

2. In what ways, and with what success, did Napoleon Bonaparte bring political, social, economic and cultural change to France and Europe?

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New ideas: democracy; liberalism; nationalism; republicanism and popular sovereignty

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Bonapartist France and Europe: Consulate and Empire

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Social, political and economic reforms in France and Europe

3. In what ways, and how effectively, did European states co-operate after 1815?

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The Congress of Vienna and post-Bonapartist

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Evaluation of the Congress System and the Concert of Europe to 1825

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Metternich, Tsar Alexander I, the Holy Alliance and the revolutions of 1818-21 (Italy, Spain and Germany)

 

AS MODULE 2: BRITAIN 1895-1918

This alternative provides the opportunity for study in depth of a relatively short period of British history, whilst providing breadth across political, social, economic and cultural change. The central content considers the changing nature and fortunes of the three major political parties; social and political reforms; the changing relationship between the state and its citizens; Britainís international and imperial roles, foreign policy before the outbreak of the First World War, and the extent of social, economic and cultural change during that war. The key questions direct focus to the process and causes of change. The period contains issues of major historical debate and has extensive appropriate material for the consideration of different interpretations and evaluation of sources.

1. In what ways, and for what reasons, did the nature and role of political parties, and the role of the state, change during this period?

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Nature of, and support for, the Liberal and Conservative Parties.

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Origins and development of the Labour Party.

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Changing relations between the state and its citizens as exemplified in the major social and political reforms of the Conservative and Liberal governments of 1895-1915, and in war-time coalitions and collectivism (conscription, propaganda, economic controls).

2. How was Britain able to preserve a position of international pre-eminence before 1914?

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Imperial attitudes.

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The retreat from Ďsplendid isolationí and subsequent foreign policy in the years leading to the outbreak of the First World War.

3. In what ways did the First World War initiate or accelerate social, economic and cultural change?

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Nature and extent of challenges posed by the First World War as exemplified in changes in the role of women, social class, the economy, cultural moral and religious beliefs and practices.

 

AS MODULE 3: COURSE ESSAYS

The purpose of the AS Course Essays is to enable candidates to undertake a manageable amount of personal investigation of historical questions, facilitating progression from the GCSE and preparing for the more demanding modules 4, 5 and especially 6 in A2. Each Course Essay will encourage the development of Key Skills in a clearly defined historical context. Each Course Essay will be externally set and marked by the Board and completed under timed conditions.

The Board will set one question for each topic within every subject content Alternative each academic year. All of the questions will be issued on or near 1 April in the year of assessment. It is expected that the candidates will have undertaken some class and personal study of the specific content focus of the selected Module 3 topic material.

Once the questions have been issued, candidates have 2 term-time weeks in which to undertake more focused study in preparation for the two Course Essays. Each Course Essay must be undertaken in examination conditions during class time, with a maximum time allowance of 1 1/2 hours for each essay. This time may be in a single session for each Course Essay or may be split across available lesson times. Candidates may take their personal notes (but not books or prepared essays) into the examination room but these notes must be submitted to the examiner with the completed Course Essays. The notes must not include any substantial sections (i.e. more than six lines) of prepared essay and must be the candidateís personal notes and not notes prepared by others. The assessment requires each candidate to make an individual response to the question.

1. The Nature and Impact of New Liberalism, 1906-1915

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The ideological and political reasons for the emergence of New Liberalism.

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The concept of New Liberalism including the role of the state.

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Its objectives, including the alleviation of poverty and greater national efficiency.

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The views of Lloyd George and Churchill.

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The social and welfare reforms of the Liberal governments.

Exemplar Course Essay questions:

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What, if anything, was new about ĎNew Liberalismí?

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How significant was the appeal of ĎNew Liberalismí in giving the Liberal Party its great General Election victory in 1906?

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How effective was the legislation of the Liberal governments from 1905-1915 in tackling poverty in Britain?

 

2. The Revolutions of 1848 and their immediate aftermath to 1850

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The political, social and economic reasons for the outbreak of revolution in France, Italy, Austria and Germany

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The roles of revolutionary leaders and the response of conservative forces

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Evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the revolutionaries and their successes and failures

Exemplar Course Essay questions:

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How important were economic factors in the downfall of  Louis Philippe?

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Why were there revolutions across Europe in 1848?

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'Metternich fell in 1848, yet the Habsburgs were back in control by 1849'.  Why did revolutionary success in the Austrian Empire turn so quickly to defeat?

 

A2 MODULE 4: NATIONALISM & THE STATE - EUROPE, 1814-1914

The A Level (A2) course develops the themes introduced at AS and studies the importance of nationalism in the period following the 1848 revolutions with particular synoptic focus on the development of France in the period 1814-1914 in Section A.  The key questions reflect debates about the political, social, cultural and economic factors of change that both challenged and attempted to defend the impact of individuals such as Bismarck, Cavour, Garibaldi, Napoleon III and Tsar Alexander II for the synoptic element in Section B.

Candidates study the core topic on France and alternative C in Section B (on Germany). Comparisons of state development and assessments of foreign policy are included.

Section A: Political Instability in France, 1814-1914

1. Why and how did political authority change in France in the period?

2. How were social, economic and religious developments linked to political change?

3. Why, and with what results, was there so much political instability in France throughout the period

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Continuity and change in the political, economic and religious factors which contributed to stability and instability in this period: the difficulties which undermined attempts to restore the Bourbon monarchy after the era of Napoleon

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The strengths and weaknesses of the 'July monarchy' and the impact of the 1848 'Year of Revolutions'

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The overthrow of the Second Republic in 1851 and the strengths and weaknesses of the Second Empire under Napoleon III

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The impact of the Franco-Prussian War and the significance of the Paris Commune in 1871

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The establishment and consolidation of the Third Republic; conflicts between monarchists and republicans, Left and Right, Church and State

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The effects of economic change

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France on the eve of the First World War

Section B: The Unification of Germany, 1848-1871

1. To what extent were liberal, nationalist and radical movements successful in the majoe European states in this period?

2. How significantly did political, economic, social and cultural developments affect the distribution of power within states and the balance of power between them?

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The failures of liberal-nationalism in 1848 (Frankfurt,  Berlin) and the social, political and economic dimensions to the revolution

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The Austro-Prussian conflict and the Kleindeutsch/Grossdeutsch debates

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The weaknesses of Austria

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The economic strengths of Prussia: Zollverin, industrial growth and their military and diplomatic implications

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The rise of Bismarck, Prussian policies on France, Russia, Poland and Italy

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The wars against Denmark, Austria and France and debates about Bismarck's policies and aims: 'blueprint' for  unification or opportunism?

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The strengths and limitations of the German Reich in 1871: Prussian dominance but political, regional, confessional, social and economic divisions

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Comparisons with other states in Europe

 

A2 MODULE 5: BRITAIN 1918-1951

The A level (A2) course develops from the AS in terms of linear content, understanding, interpretation and evaluation. It provides a relatively longer period of British history in the twentieth century, in which breadth of study across political, economic, social and also cultural change is maintained, thus fostering a synoptic understanding. However, breadth is complemented by a more thematic approach focusing on significant economic change both in the interwar period and after 1945, the most evident social developments, the role of the state, the changing fortunes of the major political parties, and Britainís international role from 1918-39 and after the Second World War. These themes are exemplified in the form of the five key questions. Themes and content are studied in terms of acquiring knowledge and understanding, but also crucially to develop further judgement and the reaching of conclusions based on evidence. The period contains issues of major historical and historiographical debate such as the decline of the Liberal Party and the rise of Labour, or appeasement.

1. Why, and how far, did Britainís economy and society change during this period?

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Economy - the legacy of World War I

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Decline of the staple industries between the wars and development of new industries

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Consequences for employment and unemployment among men and women.

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Economic legacy of World War II and post-war dislocation

2. Why, and how far, did the role of the state change during this period?

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Society, 1918-51 - consumerism.

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Changing patterns of leisure.

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Mass communications.

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Education provision, health and housing.

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Changes in cultural and moral attitudes, and in religious practices.

3. How far, and for what reasons, did the role and nature of political parties change during this period?

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Political parties and government, 1918-45.

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Importance of a mass electorate.

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Conservative ascendancy between the wars.

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Decline of the Liberal Party; changing fortunes of the Labour Party.

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Political responses to the changing economy, unemployment and labour relations, 1918-45.

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The Labour governments, 1945-51: post-war reconstruction and the Welfare State.

4. How successfully did Britain maintain her position as a major power between the two world wars? Why, and to what extent, had Britain lost international pre-eminence by the end of the period?

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Britainís role in international affairs, 1918-33.

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Responses to the challenges of fascism.

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Britainís loss of pre-eminence, 1945-51, notably in the reconstruction of Europe and in the retreat from India.

 

A2 MODULE 6: THE PERSONAL STUDY

Candidates will need to produce a Personal Study which will be weighted at 20% of the total marks. All Personal Studies will be prepared, supervised and assessed in accordance with the instructions in the Personal Study handbook (to be issued at the end of the AS course in the Lower Sixth).

Candidates will be required to submit a Personal Study based on the personal investigation of an historical issue arising from either one of the Alternatives chosen for study (i.e. either European History or British History), and to:

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Identify an issue arising from the subject matter studied in the course (or to be studied) in order to draw on appropriate knowledge and understanding to facilitate a study in depth

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Carry out an investigation of the issue

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Report the results of that investigation in about 3000 words (the parameters being 2500-3500 words). The word count should exclude the Plan & Record of Procedure (see below)

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Hand in the completed Personal Study at the end of the Autumn Term.

The Plan & Record of Procedure must identify the nature of the historical issue and states the limits of the Study which the candidate has set him/herself. The Plan should also state the procedure which the candidate has planned to follow, outlining the proposed investigation, the way in which time and resources are to be allocated and the places and sources in which the candidate expects to be able to obtain the relevant information. If the candidate has found it necessary to depart from his/her original plan, such changes should be described in the Plan together with the circumstances which made the changes necessary and the reasons for, and the consequences of, the adoption of the revised procedure.

The Plan should also record any action from guidance provided by the supervising teacher and from the moderatorís instruction or guidance in the instances in which this has been sought. The most effective Plan & Record of Procedure is one which illustrates the development of the Study; for this reason, it should not be written at a specific point in time or as a summary document. The early period of initial investigation will be recorded first, followed by the response to the moderatorís or teacherís comments and any consequent changes to the issue. Any particular methodological problems should be commented on, and the Plan should conclude with a review of the Study and the candidateís reflections on the effectiveness, or otherwise, of the procedure followed.