The Enlightenment The Enlightenment The European Age of

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					The Enlightenment

The European Age of Reason
Origins of the Enlightenment
 The ideals of humanism from the Renaissance
  permeate society.
 Rediscovery of classical texts influences the new
 The Scientific Revolution convinces many that the
  world can be understood through natural laws.
 The Wars of Religion persuade many that
  toleration is the only way for civilization to
The Doctrine of Progress
 Philosophes believed in
  the progress of human
 Human beings were
  basically good, but
  corrupted by society;
  therefore, human
  institutions needed reform
 Marquis de Condorcet
  (1743-1794) made
  argument in Progress of the
  Human Mind
John Locke (1632-1704)
 Two      Treatises    on      Civil
  Government:justified supremacy
  of Parliament; natural rights
 Essay     Concerning Human
  Understanding (1690): tabula
  rasa (―blank slate‖)
   – considered one of most
     important       Enlightenment
   – all human knowledge is the
     result of sensory experience:
     thus, human progress is in the
     hands of society—education!
 secular world view: first time in human history;
  marked end of age of religion
 natural science and reason
 deism: God created universe and then stepped
  back and left it running (like a clock) – prime
 Grew out of Newton’s theories regarding natural
 Thomas Paine, Age of Reason: advocates deism
 Voltaire also advocated deism over Christianity.
Voltaire (1694-1778)
              François Marie Arouet
              Ardent critic of the Old
              Wrote essays, letters,
              Candide (1759) satire
               criticizing religious
               persecution and
Voltaire in England
 Voltaire in imprisoned in France after his
  ideas offend French authorities.
 He lived in England from 1726 to 1729.
 He comes to admire the English toleration
  of political ideas and religion.
 Returning to France, he published Letters
  on the English (1733), admiring English
  constitutionalism and criticizing French
Voltaire in England
Voltaire and Tolerance
 Voltaire supported toleration in religion and
  politics, an idea he saw in practice in
 Voltaire defended Jean Calas, a Hugeunot
  accused of murdering his son lest he convert
  to Catholicism.
 He published his Treatise on Tolerance in
  1763, convincing authorities to reverse their
  conviction of Calas in 1765.
The Enlightened Despots
Catherine the Great
 Least ―enlightened‖ of
  the Enlightened Despots
 westernization:
  architecture, sculpture,
 reforms:reduced torture,
  limited religious
  toleration, some
  education improvement,
  increased local control
The Enlightened Despots
 Joseph    II (1765-1790) – greatest of the
  Enlightened despots (―greatest good for greatest
 Abolished serfdom in 1781, freedom of press,
  freedom of religion & civic rights, more equitable
  justice system, made German official language (to
  assimilate minorities), increased control over
  Catholic education, expanded state schools, left
  empire in economic and political turmoil: Leopold
  I rescind many laws (e.g., serfdom)
The Enlightened Despots
 Frederick the Great
  – Became a reformer during 2nd half of his reign;
    ruler was the “first servant of the state”
  – Religious freedom, education in schools and
    universities, codified laws, promoted industry
    and agriculture, encouraged immigration
  – Social structure remained heavily stratified:
    serfdom; extended privileges for the nobility,
    Junkers became heart of military; difficult
    upward mobility for middle class leadership.
Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755)
             French attorney and
             Believed in no single
              political system.
             In Spirit of the Laws
              (1748) advocated
              separation of powers
              amongst executive,
              legislative, and judicial
Diderot and the Encyclopedia
 Denis Diderot (1718-
  1784) edited the
  Encyclopedia published
  in 28 vols. Between 1751
  and 1772.
 Voltaire, Rousseau and
  Montesquieu contributed
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
                 Born in Geneva to
                  Calvinist family
                 He believed rationalism
                  and civilization was
                  destroying rather than
                  liberating the
                  individual; emphasized
                  nature, passion—
                  influenced early
                  Romantic movement
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
 Natural Education
  – Rousseau believed that in there natural state,
    humans were virtuous, free, equal, and happy.
  – Civilization had corrupted them.
  – Natural education would free children of
  – Set forth ideas in Emile (1762).
  – Children would learn through experience
    (nature, emotional experience), not books.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
 General Will
  – Rousseau advocated radical contract form of
    government in The Social Contract (1762)
  – Desired freedom, but rejected individualism
    and focused on his role in society.
  – People’s opinion would form the ―general will‖
    to be carried out by a small government.
  – He did not favor democracy, but felt that
    sovereignty laid in the people.
Economic Philosophes
                     François Quesnay
                      (1694-1774) –
                      “physiocrats”: opposed
                      to mercantilist economic
                     advocated reform of the
                      agrarian order.
                     Adam Smith (1727-
                      1790): Wealth of
                      Nations (1776): The
                      ―Bible‖ of capitalism;
                      laissez faire “let do”
 François Quesnay
Women Philosophes
                         Gender theory: women
                          played important role in
                          organizing salons.
                         Salons of Madame de
                          Geoffren and Louise
                          de Warens
                         Mary Wollstonecraft
                          – Vindication of the
                          Rights of Women

  Mary Wollstonecraft
The Later Enlightenment:
 Baron Paul d’Holbach (1723-1789): humans were
  machines governed by outside forces
   – freewill, God, and immortality of soul were foolish myths
   – severe blow to unity of the Enlightenment
 David Hume (1711-76): emphasized limitations of human
  reasoning (similar to Rousseau)
   – human mind is nothing but a bundle of impressions; later became
     dogmatic skeptic that undermined Enlightenment
 Immanuel Kant (1724-1794): Separated science and
  morality into separate branches of knowledge.
   – Science could describe natural phenomena of material world but
     could not provide a guide for morality

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