The enlightenment
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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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The Enlightenment

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The enlightenment

The Enlightenment


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


Influential philosophes

Influential Philosophes


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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