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The Enlightenment

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The Enlightenment (a.k.a. the Age of Reason) Europe 1750-1814 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Enlightenment


1
The Enlightenment
(a.k.a. the Age of Reason)
  • Europe
  • 1750-1814

2
OBJECTIVE(S)
  • What was the Scientific Revolution and what was
    its impact?
  • What was the Enlightenment and what was its
    impact?
  • Whate were the key concepts of the Enlightenment?

3
  • The Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason, is the
    period in the 1700-1800s in which European
    political philosophers developed ideas about how
    government should work.
  • The ideas were inspired by the discoveries of the
    Scientific Revolution.

4
  • The Scientific Revolution began in the mid-1500s
    when scientists began discovering natural laws
    about the universe.
  • Before the Revolution, peoples understading of
    the way the universe worked was told to them by
    the Church.

5
  • They taught that the Earth was the center of the
    universe, which is called the geocentric theory.
  • In 1543, Polish astronomer Copernicus published a
    book that challenged the Churchs teaching.

6
  • He said that the Sun was the center of the
    universe , which is called the heliocentric
    theory.
  • In 1609, Italian scientist Galileo built a
    telescope and confirmed Copernicus theory.

7
  • He also published his finding and got in trouble
    with the Catholic Church.
  • As a result, he was put on trial in front of the
    Church, which is called an Inquisition.
  • Under the pressure, Galileo recanted and
    publically said that the Church was right, though
    he didnt believe it.

8
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9
  • During this time, the scientific method was
    developed, where scientists used observations to
    test hypotheses and learn more about the natural
    world.
  • Other noteworthy thinkers of the Scientific
    Revoltuion include Sir Isaac Newton (father of
    physics) and Renee Descartes.

10
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11
  • The philosophes were observing history and trying
    to discover natural laws that governed society.
  • In particularly, they were trying to explain the
    English Civil War and how England moved away from
    absolute monarchy to representative democracy.

12
Natural Rights
  • Enlightenment philosophers believed that everyone
    was entitled to three basic rights, no matter
    what. The natural rights are
  • Life
  • Liberty
  • Property

13
Social Contract Theory of Government
  • This concept, developed by Hobbes, Locke and
    Rousseau, stated that government was an agreement
    between the people in power and the people who
    lived under their rule.
  • In this deal, the individuals give up a portion
    of their freedom in exchange for the security and
    safety provided by the government.
  • If either side doesnt meet the agreement, the
    contract is void.

14
Popular Sovereignty
  • Another key belief of the Enlightenment was
    popular sovereignty, which is the belief that the
    people are the true and only source of
    government's power.
  • So power comes from the people, not from God as
    believed in the period before (as in the era of
    absolutism and the Divine Right of Kings)

15
Secularism
  • The Enlightenment was also a secular movement.
    Secular means worldly rather than spiritual.
  • In other words, non-religious.
  • Enlightenment thinkers rejected the idea of
    Divine Right, which absolute monarchs used to
    justify their abuses of power.

16
Separation of Powers
  • Another key idea designed to stop the abuse of
    power of absolute monarchs was separation of
    powers.
  • Dividing the government into different parts
    makes it so one part doesnt get too powerful and
    abuse its power.
  • This also leads to checks and balances, the idea
    that these different parts check the power of
    the others.

17
Enlightened Despot
  • Some absolute monarchs heard the ideas of the
    Enlightenment and changed the way they rule
    (well a little at least). They are called
    Enlightened despots. The best example is
    Catherine the Great of Russia.
  • Most werent smart enough to makes changes and
    the people would eventually revolt and overthrow
    them. Usually they executed the ruler too.

18
Enlightenment Thinkers
  • Here are some of the key Enlightenment thinkers
    you need to know.
  • Most of them are from England and France.

19
Thomas Hobbes England
  • Author of Leviathan (1651), an allegory about the
    overthrow and beheading of the English King
    Charles I
  • Hobbes believed that men were simple and
    brutish and needed a strong government to keep
    order in society
  • Unlike other Enlightenment Thinkers, he advocated
    a strong government like absolute monarchy.
    However, his ideas started the discussion of how
    government should work, leading to different
    ideas.

20
John Locke England
  • Probably the most important thinker of the
    Enlightenment
  • Wrote Two Treatises of Government, which stressed
    Natural Rights and introduced the idea of the
    Social Contract Theory of Government.
  • This ideas said that government should protect
    the natural rights of people or be overthrown,
    thus justifying revolution.

21
Voltaire France
  • He believed an enlightened monarchy (enlightened
    despot)a ruler familiar with the philosophy of
    the Enlightenmentwas the best form of
    government.
  • He also expanded the ideas of Lockes Social
    Contract and Natural Rights.

22
Jean Jacques Rousseau France
  • wrote The Social Contract
  • Said that "Man is born free, yet everywhere he is
    in chains... "
  • Stressed that power came from the people, not
    from God

23
Montesquieu France
  • French baron and landed aristocrat who wrote The
    Spirit of Laws.
  • He proposed governmental powers be separated
    among three branches executive, legislative, and
    judicial, to prevent abuse of power. Each branch
    would check on the other.

24
Effects of the Enlightenment
  • The Enlightenment and its ideas helped cause the
    American and French Revolutions. In fact, it has
    been a cause of every revolution ever since.
  • Modern democracies are based on the ideas the
    Enlightenment thinkers talked about.
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