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Applying Scientific & Enlightenment Principles. Mary Wollstonecraft. Wrote: A Vindication of the Rights of Women

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Mary Wollstonecraft

Wrote: A Vindication of the Rights of Women

  • Mary Wollstonecraft was a well-known British social critic who believed that although a woman’s first duty was to be a good mother, a woman should also be able to decide what is best for her, and not be completely dependant upon her husband.


Mary Wollstonecraft

  • In her book, Wollstonecraft called for equal education for girls and boys. She believed that education could give women the tools to compete with men in public life.


Adam Smith

Wrote: The Wealth of Nations

  • Adam Smith was a British economist who believed that the free market should be allowed to regulate business activity.

  • Laissez-faire – Policy allowing business to operate with little or no government interference.


Adam Smith

  • Smith believed that all economic growth was linked to the forces of supply and demand.

  • Smith believed that whenever there was a demand for goods or services suppliers would seek to meet it in order to try to make a profit

  • Smith’s ideas would gain great popularity, and would help to shape immensely productive economies in the 1800s and 1900s.


Denis Diderot

Wrote: Encyclopedia

  • Another Enlightenment scholar, Diderot labored 25 years to produce his 28-volume Encyclopedia, which was a collection of articles by such Enlightenment thinkers as Montesquieu and Voltaire.


Denis Diderot

  • In the articles scholars denounced slavery, praised freedom of expression, and advocated education for all. They attacked divine right theory and traditional religions.

  • The Catholic Church threatened to excommunicate anyone who bought or read the Encyclopedia, and the French government said that reading the book was amoral.

  • Despite these efforts to ban the Encyclopedia, the book sold thousands of copies and helped Enlightenment ideas spread throughout Europe.


Impact of the Enlightenment

  • The Enlightenment had a major impact throughout Europe in the 1700s.

    • Greater numbers of people began to question established beliefs and customs.

    • Enlightenment beliefs affected leaders and the development of nations.

    • Many writers, such as Voltaire, were thrown into prison, and their books were banned and burned.

    • On the opposite side, many government and church leaders worked to defend the established systems.


Impact of the Enlightenment

  • One of the ways government and church leaders defended established ideas was by censoring the new ideas of the time.

    Censorship – A restriction on access to ideas and information.


Impact of the Enlightenment

Another impact of the Enlightenment is a growth in the belief that democracy was the best form of government.

  • That happened because the Enlightenment inspired new ideas such as:

    • a sense of individualism

    • a belief in personal freedom

    • a sense of the basic equality of human beings.

      These concepts, along with other challenges to traditional authority, became important in the growth of democracy.


Impact of the Enlightenment

Nationalism

  • As people in a country drew together to fight for a democratic government, strong feelings of nationalism arose.

  • In the late 1700s, Enlightenment ideas would contribute to an Age of Revolution.


Impact of the Enlightenment

Enlightened Despot – An absolute ruler who used his or her power to reform society and bring about political or social change.


Maria Theresa

Austria

  • She forced nobles and clergy to pay taxes, not just peasants. Maria Theresa also improved education for all people in her empire.


Joseph II

Austria

  • Joseph II created legal reforms to benefit all of the people, called for religious toleration, ended censorship, and abolished serfdom.


Catherine the Great

Russia

  • Asked for advice from nobles, freed many peasants and townspeople, built schools and hospitals, promoted women’s education, and religious tolerance throughout Russia.


Summary

  • The thinkers of the Enlightenment used human reason to suggest reforms in government and society.

  • Many Europeans, including several monarchs, were influenced by these ideas and tried to change things in their own nations.

  • These changes had an impact on all of Europe as democratic and nationalistic ideas grew and contributed to revolutions, such as the revolutions in America and France.


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