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The Enlightenment. Important terms. Absolutism: A system of government in which a monarch is the only source of power Common good: An effort by individuals to work together for the benefit of all

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important terms
Important terms
  • Absolutism: A system of government in which a monarch is the only source of power
  • Common good: An effort by individuals to work together for the benefit of all
  • Natural rights: A belief that individualsare naturally endowed with basic human rights that cannot be taken away or given up
path to the enlightenment
Forefathers of the Enlightenment:

John Locke: wrote Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Stated that every person was born with a tabula rasa, or blank slate

People are molded by the experiences in the world, and so if people change society can change as well

Path to the Enlightenment
hobbes v locke
Hobbes v. Locke
  • In this corner: John Locke: Believing that people have natural rights and that before society was organized people lived in a state of equality and freedom
  • And in this corner: Thomas Hobbes: Believing that people entered into a social contract and agreed to form a state; this state would then be governed by an absolute ruler in order to keep peace and preserve order
sir isaac newton
Sir Isaac Newton
  • The physical world and everything in it was like a giant machine
  • Enlightenment thinkers would use Newton’s methods to discover the natural laws that govern human society
what was the enlightenment
What was the Enlightenment?
  • A historical period in the 18th century in which science and reason was applied to question traditional thinking about the world; provided new thinking about government and people’s rights
the spread of the enlightenment
The Spread of the Enlightenment
  • Lower class and peasants unaffected by Enlightenment. Why?
    • Most Enlightenment ideas spread through the growth of reading
      • Elite in society= literate
      • Growing number of middle class also becoming literate at this time= spread of Enlightenment ideas among middle class
    • Development of magazines and newspapers
      • Helped to spread Enlightenment ideas to a mass audience
      • First daily newspaper published in London in 1702
salons
Salons
  • Salon: elegant drawing rooms of the wealthy upper class
    • Invited guests would gather in salons and discuss topics that centered around the new ideas of the philosophes
    • Women who host these salons are given a degree of political and social influence
      • Salon discussions are used to sway political opinion and social tastes
who led the enlightenment
Who led the Enlightenment?
  • The philosophes: the Enlightenment thinkers
    • Writers, professors, journalists, economists, and social reformers
    • Mostly noble/middle class
    • The role of philosophy is to change the world
    • The philosophes often disagreed
baron de montesquieu
Baron de Montesquieu
  • French nobility
  • The Spirit of Laws: study of governments
    • Tried to use the scientific method to find the natural laws that govern the social and political relationships of human beings
    • Three kinds of governments:
      • Republics= small states
      • Despotism= large states
      • Monarchies= moderate states
    • Three forms of government
      • The executive (monarch)
      • The legislative (parliament)
      • The judicial (courts)
    • Government functions through a separation of powers/ checks and balances
voltaire
Voltaire
  • Prosperous middle class family in Paris
  • Religion: Criticized Christianity and believed strongly that all religions should be tolerant of one another
    • “All men are brothers under God.”
        • Treatise on Toleration, 1763
  • Deism
    • Foundation= Newtonian world-machine
    • Mechanic of the universe= God (clockmaker)
    • Universe= a clock
    • What happens after God sets the clock? What is his God’s role then?
jean jacques rousseau
Jean Jacques Rousseau
  • Part of the later Enlightenment
  • Discourse on the Origins of the Inequality of Mankind: people are enslaved to their governments
  • The Social Contract:
    • Most famous work
    • Social contract: society agrees to be governed by its general will
      • Individuals cannot follow their own self- interests
women and the enlightenment
Women and the Enlightenment
  • Mary Wollstonecraft: founder of the modern European and American Women’s rights movements and a daughter of the Enlightenment
    • Vindication of the Rights of Women: argues that many Enlightenment thinkers are hypocrites when it comes to the role of women in society
the enlightenment and religion
The Enlightenment and Religion
  • John Wesley: An Anglican minister who founded a new religious movement called Methodism
    • Focused on preaching to all people, and not just the upper and middle classes
    • Preached in open fields
    • Methodist societies were formed in which everyone helped each other to do good works and gave those involved a sense of purpose and community
    • Stressed the importance of hard work and spiritual contentment versus political equality
    • Religion was not overshadowed by the search for reason during the Enlightenment as proven by the formation of Methodism
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