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Enlightenment. Changes in Government . 17.1 The Enlightenment. The Enlightenment. The Enlightenment (Mid 1700’s). -“Age of Reason” Begins in England. Why? -Five core concepts of reason for all aspects of life for enlightenment thinkers: Reason Natural Laws ( rules governed by reason )

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Changes in Government

17 1 the enlightenment
17.1 The Enlightenment

  • The Enlightenment

The enlightenment mid 1700 s
The Enlightenment (Mid 1700’s)

  • -“Age of Reason”

  • Begins in England. Why?

  • -Five core concepts of reason for all aspects of life for enlightenment thinkers:

    • Reason

    • Natural Laws (rules governed by reason)

    • Happiness

    • Progress

    • Liberty

Thomas hobbes p 545

Life without laws or control is, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”

“Leviathan” (1651) was famous work. Outlook?

“Social contract” concept

Advocate for absolute monarchy.

Thomas Hobbesp. 545

John locke p 545

Gov’t brutish, and short” to protect rights

More positive view/favored self-gov’t.

Tabula Rasa

Gov’t. responsibilities

-obligation to people it governs

Natural rights




“Two Treatises on Government”

John Lockep.545

  • Radical thought? What did Locke feel about gov’t that did not fulfill its obligation?

Question brutish, and short”

  • Is one more correct than the other? Why?

  • Which person is more in line with the values of the US?

  • Which was a product of his times, and which was more progressive?

French philosophes
French brutish, and short”Philosophes

  • New ideas in France b/c of British Revolution which challenged status quo.

  • Ideas spread in salons of Paris

  • British inspiration  France  Rest of Europe

  • 4 Main: Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau

Encyclopedia definition of philosophe
“Encyclopedia” brutish, and short” definition of philosophe

  • …trampling on prejudice, tradition, universal consent, authority, in a word all that enslaves most minds, dares to think for himself, to go back and search for the clearest general principles, to admit nothing except on the testimony of his experience and his reason.

  • http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/lecture9a.html


brutish, and short”On the Spirit of Laws” (1748)

Separation of powers (legislative, executive, judicial)

“Power should be a check to power” ------> checks and balances


Voltaire brutish, and short”

  • Criticized the Church, Government, Establishment through parody, plays, books.

    • Targeted corrupt officials and idle aristocrats

  • “All brothers in god” from Treatise on Toleration

  • Imprisoned and exiled

  • “My trade…is to say what I think.”


The Encyclopedia brutish, and short”spread ideas of the enlightenment/salons to many others. (1751-1772)

“Change the way of thinking”

Banned by many for promoting new ideas.



PERSONAL freedoms brutish, and short”

Civilization corrupted/not enlightened b/c the strongest ended up taking advantage of the weak=freedoms lost

“The Social Contract” 1762 different from Hobbes. Contract among people nobility/titles wrong

Only freely elected governments can impose minimal controls on citizens

The General Will (what is in the best interest of the people)


17 2 spread of enlightenment
17.2 Spread of Enlightenment brutish, and short”

  • “Never have new ideas had such rapid circulation at such long distance”

Idea of social sciences led to new studies
Idea of Social Sciences Led to New Studies brutish, and short”

  • Adam Smith and Laissez-Faire economics

  • “Wealth of Nations”: Gov’t has 3 roles

    • Protect from invasion

    • Police

    • Public works

Why is it important
Why Is It Important? brutish, and short”

  • Their theories ended up inspiring French/American Revolutions.

  • 1. Progress (i.e.: science, medicine, reason, social improvements)

  • 2. Secular outlook (began to explain “God’s mysteries” w/ science) Questioned Church

  • 3. Emphasis on the individual

  • 4. Led to increase in reading and learning throughout Europe.

Enlightened despots
Enlightened Despots brutish, and short”

  • Catherine the Great (Russia) 1762

  • Followed Peter the Great, married Tsar Peter III

    -reformed government and some laws

    -abolished torture

    -religious tolerance

    -Charter of rights for nobles

However; Catherine is viewed as a ruthless absolute leader – repressed peasants, expanded Russian boarders via war with Turkey, partitioned Poland with Russia, Prussia, and Austria in 1772-1795 (Poland did not return until 1919)

Impact brutish, and short”

  • What was the main idea of the enlightenment? Who would have a problem with that? Which group may not have been represented in these ideas? Why?