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The Enlightenment


The Enlightenment Mid 1700 s - Early 1800 s From Scientific Revolution to Enlightenment During the 1500 s and 1600 s many great scientific minds such as ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment
  • Mid 1700s - Early 1800s

From Scientific Revolution to Enlightenment
  • During the 1500s and 1600s many great
    scientific minds such as Nicolaus Copernicus,
    Galileo, and Isaac Newton developed revolutionary
    ideas to solve problems and to change the world.
  • By the 1700s many philosophers began to think
    that if they could use reason to solve scientific
    problems, they could also use reason to solve
    social problems?
  • Their thought was, If there are laws that
    regulate science, there are also Natural Laws
    that regulate man. Lets understand what these
    laws are, and develop a better society.

Age of Absolutism
  • In the 1700s, most governments in the world were
    Absolute Monarchies, in which one hereditary
    ruler had total or nearly total power.
  • It was thought that these monarchs ruled by
    Divine Right. This means they thought that it
    was Gods will that they were in charge.
  • Many thinkers of that time began to question the
    logic of this statement. They asserted that
    government gets their right to rule not from,
    God, but from the people themselves. Of course
    questioning this logic put these thinkers at odds
    with the rulers.

John Locke
  • One of the most important Enlightenment thinkers
    was the Englishman John Locke.
  • He wrote the Two Treatises of Government in which
    he asserted that all men are born with natural
    rights, or rights that they were born with, such
    as the right to their LIFE,LIBERTY, and PROPERTY!
  • Locke said that people form governments to
    protect their rights.
  • Locke also said that it was the duty of the
    government to protect the people, and that if the
    government failed to do so, that it should be
  • Locke rejected monarchy and the divine right

John Locke
Baron de Montesquieu
  • A French noble who studies government.
  • He wrote The Spirit of the Laws, in which he
    argued that government power should divided among
    separate branches such as a legislative branch to
    make laws, an executive branch to enforce and
    enact laws, and a judicial branch to define and
    interpret laws.
  • He also felt that each branch should be able to
    balance and offset, or check, the power of
  • Montesquieus ideas are known as separation of
    powers and check and balances.
  • These principles greatly influenced the forming
    of the U.S. government.

Baron de Montesquieu
  • The French playwright and satirist wrote many
    works that supported Enlightenment thinkers.
  • He greatly supported freedom of speech, freedom
    of religion, and free enterprise.
  • Voltaire argued passionately for civil liberties
    such as a right to a fair trial and protection
    against unjust authority.

Jean Jacques Rousseau
  • An Enlightenment philosopher who argued for a new
    social contract, in which people give up some
    freedoms for the protection of others.
  • He believed that the common will, or will of the
    people should be the chief source of government

Denis Diderot
  • An important Enlightenment thinker who worked to
    spread Enlightenment ideas.
  • Produced the Encyclopedia, which was a collection
    of articles on a wide variety of subjects.
  • This collection was widely responsible for
    spreading Enlightenment ideas to large numbers of

Adam Smith
  • Smith was a Scottish philosopher who wrote The
    Wealth of Nations.
  • In it he argues that there is not chaos in the
    free market, but that the INVISIBLE HAND of
    supply and demand create order.
  • Smith believed that government should have a
    limited role in the economy. This is called
    Laissez Faire policy, or that they should keep
    their hands off.

Women in the Enlightenment
  • Most Enlightenment thinkers were men, and thought
    that the new ideas of freedom applied only to
  • Women such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Catherine
    MaCauly, and Germaine de Stael felt that Natural
    rights belonged to women as well.
  • Mary Wollstonecraft wrote the Vindication of the
    Rights of Woman and argued that women should be
    educated and receive equal treatment.

Spreading Enlightenment Ideas
  • Many people in Europe discussed Enlightenment
    ideas at solons, or informal social gatherings.
  • Enlightened Despots, or monarchs, such as
    Catherine the Great in Russia, Fredrick the Great
    in Prussia, and Joseph II in Austria, spread
    Enlightenment ideas, although they never gave up
    power themselves.
  • Diderots Encyclopedia other writings and
    pamphlets spread the ideas as well.

Review of the Revolution
  • The people in the 13 British colonies in North
    America were the first to revolt against a
    monarch based on their belief in Enlightenment
  • These colonials declared their independence from
    Great Britain in 1776.
  • After six years of Revolution, the colonists
    established their own country which came to be
    called the United States of America.
  • George Washington was the leader of the
    Revolutionary Army.
  • Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of
    Independence based on John Lockes ideas of
    popular sovereignty and natural rights.
  • Eventually the Americans, led primarily by James
    Madison, wrote the Constitution, which rules were
    all based on Enlightenment principles such as
    Separation of Power, Checks, and Balances,
    Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, and
    popular sovereignty.