Catholic Textbook Project, the publisher of robust, beautiful history textbooks for Catholic schools, announced a new History Essay Contest for Catholic students in Grades 5 through 8. Contest submission deadline is May 22, 2015, and four separate contest divisions allow for (more…)

This Week in History

Parliament Emancipates Catholics:

April 13, 1829 

George IV in 1816

Conditions did not improve when George IV became king in 1820. As regent for his insane father, George III, since 1811, George IV had long supported the repression of radicals. Though a clever man (he was a student of the classics and fluent in French, Italian, and German), George IV was not a particularly good man. He was notoriously immoral and so did not mind the corruption that filled the British government. This made the new king very unpopular.

Though he spent most of his time at Windsor Castle, George IV continued to play a part in politics. He opposed all reform measures, including one that he himself had supported over 20 years before — Catholic emancipation. Since the 16th century, English law had forbidden Catholics to serve in Parliament or even to vote for members of Parliament. Penal laws carrying punishments of fines, imprisonment,and even death (for Catholic priests) were still on the books. In Ireland, though most of the population was Catholic, only Protestants could serve as magistrates; and everyone whether Protestant or not, had to pay tithes to support the Protestant Church of Ireland. Though in 1797 George IV had proposed a bill that would allow Catholics to sit in Parliament, by 1813 he was a firm opponent of similar bills. George IV now said his kingly oath to support the Protestant religion meant he had to oppose any efforts for Catholic emancipation.


Online History Courses for Fall 2015

CTP’s General Editor, Christopher Zehnder, M.A. will be teaching two courses through Homeschool Connections for the Fall of 2015. 

Catholic Textbooks - History - Light to the Nations, Part 2

In the course “The Making of the Modern World” Mr. Zehnder will examine how our world, the Modern World, came to be. Using Light to the Nations II as the basic text, students will study the revolutionary ideas that created a new view of man and his relationship to God, the Church, and the state that was radically different from the Middle Ages. Since ideas influence deeds,  the course examines how historical events flowed from the struggle between those who held to traditional conceptions and those who embraced the new ideas. Since events  influence ideas as well, students will see how the events of history molded both the new and the traditional visions of the world.

The course is divided into two parts: Part I (first semester) begins with the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries and concludes with the attempt to reestablish the ancient regime after the fall of Napoleon’s empire. Part II (second semester) continues the story, beginning with a study of Romanticism and concluding with Vatican II and the post-conciliar world.

Mr. Zehnder taught a similar course based on Light to the Nations II for the 2013 – 2014  school year (which can be accessed as a recorded class), but the classes, while covering the same basic material, will be 90 minutes instead of 60 minutes long, thus giving Mr. Zehnder the opportunity to delve deeper with his students into modern history. More supplemental information and resources will also be provided in the 2015 – 2016 course. The suggested grade level is 8th through 10th.

“The Rise and Fall of the Missions of Alta California, Part One” is a new course Mr. Zehnder is eager to teach. Being a California native,  he grew up with Fr. Serra’s Missions as natural part of the California landscape; yet, as a convert to Catholicism, his love and appreciation for Fr. Serra’s mission as an intrinsic element of California history developed later. His thorough research, especially of primary sources, will eventual make its way into a future CTP textbook.  For now, he is sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm through this online course.

This 12-class course will tell the story of the mission system that Fray Junípero Serra established in California, the various struggles he and his successors faced in bringing Christ and civilization to the primitive peoples of California and the opposition they faced from both Spanish and California officials. It is a dramatic story that includes many dramatic events: Indian rebellion, heroic sacrifice, and martyrdom. It is a tragic story, too, for it tells of the promise of the mission system and how it was ultimately destroyed. This is Part One of a 2-part course and students are expected to register for Part Two in the spring. The suggested grade level is 7th and up.

These are both live, interactive classes, just two of the 64 courses being offered by Homeschool Connections in 2015. Class size is limited, so take advantage of the Early Enrollment Discount and register today. 



This Week in History

The Founding of Danton’s Dictator:

April 5, 1793

Georges Danton addressing the French National Convention

Danton had not been in Paris when the National Convention declared war on Great Britain. Instead, he had gone on another mission to the army in Belgium, and what he saw there was not encouraging. Returning to Paris on February 15, 1793, he described the poor state of the army to the Convention deputies. The soldiers were ill equipped and, being volunteers, many were returning to their homes, he said. With Great Britain, Holland, and now Spain joined in a coalition against France, more troops — many more troops — were needed, said Danton.

So it was that, on February 23, the Convention voted to increase the size of the army to 500,000 men. To do this, it decreed that the departments had to provide 300,000 men, by conscription if necessary. Such numbers would soon be needed, for Dumouriez had invaded Holland.

Jean-Paul Marat portre.jpg

Jean-Paul Marat

But providing more troops to the army was not Danton’s only concern. He wanted to bring peace to the Convention. His attempts to bridge the split between the Girondins and the Mountain had again failed. The Girondin leaders would have nothing to do with the rough Danton, and even the Left did not unite behind him. On the Mountain were men like Robespierre and other Jacobins who, though despising the Girondins, might still be willing to come to a reasonable agreement with them. But then there were fanatics, like the Jacobin Jean-Paul Marat, who not only wanted to force the Girondins out of the Convention but to bathe their own hands in Girondin blood. Such men only disgusted the high-toned Girondin leaders and made reconciliation between the factions even harder.