The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment Age of Reason Roots of the Enlightenment The Enlightenment grew out of the Renaissance, Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution (if this happened). Whats the same?: Like all of these other movements, much Enlightenment thinking challenged accepted beliefs (like belief in the Old Order). Whats new?: Enlightenment philosophers

wanted to use the ideas and reason of the Science for problems in government and society. Light out of the Darkness A Frenchman, Bernard de Fontenelle, expressed this optimistic faith in reason and progress. In 1702, he wrote that the new century will become more enlightened day by day, so that all previous centuries will be lost in darkness by comparison. The Role of the Salons

. In France, thinkers called philosophes championed the idea of reason in government. In fact, this may be the real ENLIGHTENMENT Philosophers often gathered in informal meetings, called salons. There they exchanged and debated ideas for hours. Many salons were organized by women. Gatherings like these helped to shape and spread the ideas of the Enlightenment and act like the Greek City-State Discussion

ENLIGHTENMENT AND GOVERNMENT Many ideas about government, such as the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution got their ideas directly from the Enlightenment. In fact, many of Americas founding fathers studied the ideas of the Enlightenment thinkers during the American Revolution. Left to right: Benjamin Franklin, John

Adams, Thomas Jefferson Kant, Kant, Kant Enlightenment thinkers rejected authority and upheld the freedom of individuals to think for themselves. This is what Kant is ultimately championing

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness. For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first. Enlightenment and

Government Enlightenment thinkers criticized accepted ideas about government. Most questioned the medieval belief in the divine right of kings Many Enlightenment thinkers stressed individual rights that governments must respect. Personal property is the primary manifestation of freedom at this time. Enlightenment thinkers also felt that people should have a say in their government

(emergence of democracy) Thomas Hobbes View Hobbes believed people are naturally selfish, cruel, and greedy. In 1651, he published a book called Leviathan. In this book, he wrote that people are driven by a restless desire for power. Without laws, people would always be in conflict. In such a state of nature, life would be nasty, brutish, and short. His idea: Governments were created to protect people from their own selfishness.

Hobbes continued. Later Enlightenment thinkers might not have agreed with Hobbes But, he was important because he was one of the first thinkers to apply reason to the problem of politics His ideas may sound harsh, but it was based on his own observations of human nature and reasoning. John Locke: Social Contract and Natural Rights He wrote Two Treatises of Government in 1690. He believed the purpose of government was to protect peoples natural rights. He said government

should protect, his life, liberty, and propertyagainst the injuries and attempts of other men. His idea: The true basis of government was a social contract between people and their government. If the government didnt respect peoples rights, it could be overthrown. John Locke: Social Contract and Natural Rights In exchange protection, people gave government the power to rule on their behalf. We call this idea the consent of the governed. Lasting Impact: the idea that government could be overthrown if it failed to respect peoples rights had wide

influence and was ultimately echoed in the American Declaration of Independence and the French Revolution Example is the 1689 English Bill of Rights which limits the power of a monarch Montesquieu: Separation of Powers Like Locke, Montesquieu was concerned with how to protect liberty from a bad government. He Wrote The Spirit of Laws in 1748. In this book, he described how governments should be organized. His idea: The separation of powers: By dividing different powers among more than one branch of government, no one group in the government could grow too powerful. Lasting Impact: He greatly influenced the men who wrote the U.S. Constitution. We now have a separate legislative (Congress), judicial (courts), and executive

(President) branch Enlightened Rule by Monarchs ? Despot: a king or other ruler with absolute, unlimited power. The Enlightenment did not change Europe overnight. Many countries still had kings. Some of them became enlightened despots by using enlightenment ideas in their countries. The very definition of Little e Examples: Some kings ended the use of torture, started universities, and used religious tolerance. But this is a long process (250 years or so) to get anything resembling a modern democracy

Other Enlightenment ideas can be seen in the U.S. Constitution. Americas basic law includes Montesquieus idea of separation of powers. The Bill of Rights protects the freedom of religion and speech championed by Voltaire. It also

includes some of the rights supported by Beccaria, such as the right to a speedy trial.

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