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Chapter 10 Revolution & Enlightenment. Section 2 THE ENLIGHTENMENT. Path to the Enlightenment. Enlightenment was an 18 th Century philosophical movement built off the achievements of the Scientific Revolution.

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chapter 10 revolution enlightenment

Chapter 10 Revolution & Enlightenment

Section 2


path to the enlightenment
Path to the Enlightenment

Enlightenment was an 18th Century philosophical movement built off the achievements of the Scientific Revolution.

Enlightenment philosophers hoped to make a better society by applying the scientific method and reason to social problems.

Thought that society was governed by natural laws just as Newtonian physical universe was.

path to the enlightenment1
Path to the Enlightenment

John Locke – argued that people were born with a tabula rasa, or blank slate, and knowledge comes from the 5 senses.

Meant that the right influences could create a new kind of society by creating a new way of understanding.

philosophes their ideas
Philosophes & Their Ideas

Enlightenment intellectuals were called by the French name philosophe.

Most were writers, professors, economists, journalists, and social reformers.

Ideas influenced the entire Western world.

Changed beliefs in all areas, including religion and politics.

philosophes their ideas1
Philosophes & Their Ideas

Charles-Louis de Secondat, the Baron of Montesquieu, studied laws governing social & political relationships. Spirit of the Laws (1748)

Identified 3 types of government: republic, despotism, & monarchies

Argued that government functions through a separation of powers controlled by checks and balances.

This influenced the framers of the U.S. Constitution.

philosophes their ideas2
Philosophes & Their Ideas

Francois-Marie Arouet (Voltaire)

Best known for his criticism of Christianity and belief in religious tolerance.

Championed deism, or philosophy based on reason & natural law.

Deists believe the world is like a clock that God created and set according to his natural laws, and then let run without his intervention.

philosophes their ideas3
Philosophes & Their Ideas

Denis Diderot – created the Encyclopedia, or Classified Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Trades.

28 volumes and it was to “change the general way of thinking.”

Much of it attacked old French society and spread the ideas of the Enlightenment.

toward a new social science
Toward a New Social Science

The Enlightenment’s belief in the Scientific Revolution and Newton’s laws led to the creation of social sciences, such as economics and political science.

toward a new social science1
Toward a New Social Science

Adam Smith founded modern economics.

Most believed if people were free to pursue their economic self-interest, all society would benefit.

Laissez-faire – “to let do” or to let people do what they want. Argued that government shouldn't interfere with natural economic processes with regulations.


Smith wrote this in Wealth of Nations

  • Argued that government had 3 legitimate functions:
    • Protect society from invasion (army)
    • Defend citizens from injustice (police)
    • Maintain public works (roads & canals)
toward a new social science2
Toward a New Social Science

CesareBeccaria argued in On Crimes and Punishments that punishments should not be exercises in brutality. (No capital punishment)

the later enlightenment
The Later Enlightenment

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was the most famous of the later philosophes.

Wrote Discourse on the Origins of the Inequality of Mankind, which argued that people formed governments and laws to protect their property, but the government shouldn’t enslave them.

Wrote The Social Contract, in which members of society agree to be governed by the general will, which is best for society as a whole.

the later enlightenment1
The Later Enlightenment

In Emile, Rousseau argued that education should nurture, not restrict, children’s natural instincts.

And believed that emotions, as well as reason, were important to human development.

rights of women
Rights of Women

Mary Wollstonecraft – founder of European & American movements for women’s rights.

Argued that women were as rational as men and could be responsible free citizens.

Vindication of the Rights of Women

social world of the enlightenment
Social World of the Enlightenment

Literacy and the availability of books increased in the 18th century.

Many books were aimed at the new middle class.

Magazines and the daily newspaper developed as well. First printed in London in 1702.

Enlightenment ideas spread at the salon or gatherings in the elegant homes of the wealthy.

The women who hosted could sway political opinion and influence literary and artistic taste.

religion in the enlightenment
Religion in the Enlightenment

Most philosophes attacked the Christian church.

The desire for greater depth of religious experiences led to new movements.

Methodism was created by John Wesley.

He said he had a mystical expreience in which “the gift of God’s grace” assured him of salvation.

Preached to the masses in open fields in England and appealed to most lower classes.

Stressed the importance of hard work.

end of section 2

End of Section 2


The impact of the Enlightenment