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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 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
                         Mary Wollstonecraft –
                          Vindication of the Rights of
                          Women (1792)
                         Olympe de Gouge
                          Declaration of the Rights of

  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
High Culture - Travel
 Elites began to travel for pleasure in greater
  numbers than ever before.
 The “grand tour” of Europe became a must
  for the cultured.
 People wished to see the ruins of antiquity
  and the new urban centers throughout
 Coffee houses offered a meeting place for
  people to discuss philosophy and the issues
  of the day.
The Salons
 Groups organized by
  women, such as
  Madame de
  Pompadour, of
  wealthy families.
 Gave a forum to which
  philosophes could share
  their ideas.
 Allowed women a
  place were they could
  be taken seriously.
 Often, the etiquette of
  the gatherings made
  things ‘artificial.’
Publishing and Reading
 Publishing and bookselling became a major
  commercial enterprise in the 18th century.
 Newspapers and journals became a part of
  the daily life of most urban Europeans.
 Newspapers began to write more about
  political issues, particularly in England and
  during the Revolution in France.
 There was also a large market for “bad
  books” describing scandals and sex.
The Arts:
Neoclassicism to Romanticism
 Literature
  – The Novel
      • Novel had its origins in mid 18th century
        England with the rising demand for fiction
        from the middle class.
      • Pioneers included Samuel Richardson and
        Henry Fielding.
      • A wide range of topics were covered in
        novels; they shadowed the plays of the time
        in dealing with family and social issues of
        the day
The Arts:
Neoclassicism to Romanticism
 Poetry
   – For 140 years from 1660 to 1800 neoclassical
     poetry reigned England.
   – Also known as Augustan poetry, neoclassical
     used strictly, structurally balanced verses, witty
     and elegant language with restrained and
     controlled emotion, the idea being to create a
     more refined verse.
   – Amongst the most famous neoclassical poets
     were John Dryden and Alexander Pope.
The Arts:
Neoclassicism to Romanticism
 – However, in 1798 poets William Wordsworth and
   Samuel Taylor Coleridge published an anthology
   Lyrical Ballads, opening the Romantic period of poetry.
 – Romantic poetry was the complete opposite of
 – Romantic poetry used simple language to create the
   impression that the poet were speaking out loud and
   usually spoke about common, everyday aspects of life
   and nature.
 – Later famous romantic poets of the time were William
   Blake, Lord Byron, John Keats and Percy Bysshe
The Arts:
Neoclassicism to Romanticism
         Poetry
           – Johann von Goethe (1749-1832)
             • Prolific German writer and poet
               who’s work encompassed
               Neoclassical and Romantic elements.
             • He inspired the literary movement
               known as Sturm und Drang (Storm
               and Stress), emphasizing strong
               emotion experience.
             • His great works include The Sorrows
               of Young Werther (1774) and Faust
               (1801 and 1831)
The Arts:
Neoclassicism to Romanticism
 Music
  – Symphony
  – Began moving from “light” neoclassical
    works to more powerful and extended works.
     • Franz Joseph Hayden
     • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  – Powerful extended symphonies that reflected
    the emotion of the Romantic movement.
     • Ludwig von Beethoven
The Arts:
Neoclassicism to Romanticism
 Visual Arts
  – Neoclassical Art is a severe and unemotional
    form of art harkening back to the grandeur of
    ancient Greece and Rome. Its rigidity was a
    reaction to the overdone Rococo style and the
    emotional charged Baroque style. The rise of
    Neoclassical Art was part of a general revival
    of interest in classical thought, which was of
    major importance in the Enlightenment and the
    American and French revolutions.
Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825)
 The most famous painter in
  Europe in the late 1700s
  and early 1800s. He
  breathed new life into
  history painting with his
  rigorously constructed
 David could be petty,
  graceless, and abrasive.
  Intensely competitive, he
  was confident and even
  boastful of his talent.
Jacques-Louis David - The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons
Jacques-Louis David – Oath of the Horatii
Benjamin West, The Death of General Wolfe (1770)
Benjamin West, Penn's Treaty with the Indians (1771)
The Arts:
Neoclassicism to Romanticism
 Romanticism might best be described as
  anticlassicism. A reaction against Neoclassicism,
  it is a deeply-felt style which is individualistic,
  exotic, beautiful and emotionally wrought.
 Although Romanticism and Neoclassicism were
  philosophically opposed, they were the dominant
  European styles for generations, and many artists
  were affected to a lesser or greater degree by both.
  Artists might work in both styles at different times
  or even combine elements, creating an
  intellectually Romantic work using a Neoclassical
  visual style, for example.
Jacques-Louis David – Bonaparte Crossing the Alps
J.M.W. Turner - Snowstorm: Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps
Popular Literature
 Designed for those who could barely read or
  what was going to be read aloud.
  – Three main forms:
     • Religious and superstitious works
     • Almanacs
     • Entertainment – satire, tales, fables.
 Oral traditions continued with stories of
  daily life.
Mass Education
 Religious wars increased literacy and
  education across Europe (particularly in
  Protestant nations)
 Schooling was designed to maintain the
  social order and piety.
 Many peasants opposed sending their
  children to school when they could help the
  family work.
Mass Education
 Education in Western Europe was driven by
  demand and the needs of the community.
 In Prussia and Austria, education became a
  state function
  – Austria – Habsburg General School Ordinance
    of 1774.
     • Schools in every parish.
     • Train teachers
     • Education was said to be compulsory
  – Prussia – Frederick the Great enacted similar
    reforms with less enthusiasm.
Recreation for the Masses
 The spread of pubs and taverns became
 Festivals continued to be of importance.
 First “spectator sports” become popular.
  – Blood sports such as boxing and cock fighting
    mixed with gambling popular with commoners.
  – Horse racing also popular.
  – Growing separation between elite and masses in

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