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The Enlightenment


The Enlightenment A cultural movement which applied the insights of the Scientific Revolution to the wider world: politics, religion, and art. The Scientific ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment
  • A cultural movement which applied the insights of
    the Scientific Revolution to the wider world
    politics, religion, and art.
  • The Scientific Revolution -The nature of the
    Universe.  A small of people in all Europe at
    the time understood what was happening.
  • The Enlightenment made the findings of the
    Scientific Revolution more widely available.
  • Scientific Revolution reached its peak at the end
    of the 17th century with the work of Newton. It
    was the work of scientists from many different
    countries (Italy, Germany, Denmark, Holland,
    Poland, England, France). 
  • Enlightenment took place in the 18th century and
    was dominated by France, which was also the most
    powerful state of the period.

  • Confidence in modern man and his achievements -
    the idea of PROGRESS.
  • Philosophes
  • French thinkers known as PHILOSOPHES. not always
    the most original thinkers, but were great
    publicists of the new ideas.
  • Social Context
  • Uniquely civilized Salon society presided over
    by educated women hostesses. Most of the men
    were anti-feminist but this was a time when
    aristocratic women did have a lot of power in

Enlightenment Political Thought
  • Used new philosophy in a practical way to discuss
  • Influence of these ideas on American and French
  • Earliest of the new political thinkers were
    Hobbes and Locke.
  • English political experience of the 17th century
    and the problems of the Stuarts were a starting
    point for political discussions.

  • Most of the progressive ideas and developments
    had taken place in England in the 17th Century.
  • Science Newton,
  • Philosophy Locke,
  • Politics 1688 the Glorious Revolution.
  • Domestic stability of Great Britain made living
    example of society where reforms benefited all
  • Religious toleration for all except
    Unitarians/Roman Catholics (not persecuted)
  • Relative freedom of press/speech, limited monarch
    power, Parliament sovereignty,
  • Influenced Frenchmen
  • France
  • These new ideas came together and were
    popularized, especially in France.
  • Domestic economic life had less regulation
    liberal policies made prosperity stability/loyal
    citizenry contrast to rest of Europe (France)

Print Culture
  • Books/journals/newspapers/pamphlets reached their
    own status before, movements spread by preaching
  • sharp increase of printed docs in 18th
  • Everyday life concerns rose w/printed docs
    toward 1600, ½ of docs religious by 1780s, only
    1/10 were
  • Books not cheap, but they circulated
  • Private/public libraries grew, authors used
    different methods
  • Samuel Johnson - as books collections of essays
  • The Spectator - Joseph Addison/Richard Steele
  • Fostered value of polite conversation andreading
    of books
  • Coffeehouses, Freemason lodge and clubs became
    meeting places

Print Economy
  • Expanding market let writers earn living
  • Authorship became occupation
  • Alexander Pope and Voltaire became wealthy
  • Status based on merit and commercial competition,
  • High authors addressed themselves to monarchs,
    nobles, professionals
  • other authors lived marginally,
  • Bred Enlightenment ideas to radical extremes and
    exposed them to the lower class audience

Public opinion
  • Social force, collective effect on
    political/social views, created by expanding
    literate public
  • writers could write to nation, respond only to
    their readers governments couldnt act in
    secret, had to explain/discuss views openly
  • Continental European governments sensed political
  • Regulated/censored books/newspapers, imprisoned
    offending authors
  • Expansion of freedom of press Expansion of
    print culture and its challenge to authorities

 Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet)
  • 1726-29 Visited England.
  • Spent the latter part of his life in exile near
  • Most famous philosophe
  • Very rich bourgeois.
  • Concerned with human action and attempts to
    improve human life.
  • One of the very best French writers
  • Letters on the English 1733
  • Lettres philosophiques 1734
  • Elements of the Philosophy of Newton
  • Candide 1759
  • Dictionnaire Philosophique 1764

Voltaires Ideas
  • Thought
  • Promoted Free Speech, Civil Rights and
  • Extremely anticlerical.
  • Used to write "Ecrasez L'infame" "destroy the
    infamy" - i.e. removes the Church from power in
    society on all his letters. 
  • Inspired by the Calas case (a Protestant was
    falsely accused and killed for killing his son to
    stop him becoming Roman Catholic.)
  • Explains extreme anti-clericalism of the French
    Revolution- not present in English ideas.
  • Was not a "liberal" in many ways.
  • He praised Louis XIV and thought Enlightened
    despotism was the best government, as a monarchy
    could keep down the Church and the aristocracy.
  • Anti-Semitic, possibly due to equating Jews with
    the Church, possibly due to problems he had with
    money lenders.
  • Powerful because he was such a good writer.

Deism and Religion
  • Not a great age for theology
  • Some movements of popular piety, pietism and
  • Religion did not hold the intellectual leaders as
    it had during the Reformation.
  • Deism
  • Idea that God set up the Universe as clockwork
    and then just let it run.
  • Proposed a non-ritual religion based on REASON.
  • Deists also attacked Christianity, especially
    Catholicism, as superstitious.
  • The belief of many philosophes and was actually
    made a state religion for a short while during
    the French Revolution
  • Called for toleration of ideas
  • Age of Reason
  • Reformation has Christ suffering for humanity on
    the Cross as the image of God
  • Enlightenment has God as a Watchmaker.

Enlightenment Criticism of Christianity
  • David Hume
  • Wrote that no evidence existed to support
    believing in divine miracles
  • Voltaire
  • Questioned the truthfulness of priests and
    morality of the Bible
  • Edward Gibbon
  • Explained the rise of Christianity base on
    natural causes- not miracles
  • A few philosophes were almost atheists

Enlightenment and Jewish Thought
  • Baruch Spinoza
  • Wrote God is not a distinct personality, but the
    entire universe
  • Proposed reading the Bible like any ancient text
  • Organized religion led people away from the
    original teachings of scripture
  • Kicked out of his synagogue for his radical ideas
  • Moses Mendelsohn
  • Argued for religious toleration for Jews
  • Maintaining a distinct Jewish community
  • Hoped Enlightenment ideas would lead to
    additional toleration

Enlightenment and Islam
  • Most Enlightenment writings hostile towards Islam
  • Misunderstood Islamic teachings
  • Voltaire
  • Islam another version of religious fanaticism
  • Little interaction of Christians and Muslims
  • The Ulama- taught there was little to learn from

Enlightenment and Society
  • Denis Diderot 1713-84
  • The Encyclopedia 1751-72
  • A central institution of the Enlightenment
  • Aim was to include all knowledge.
  • All the leading philosophes wrote for it in
    signed articles
  • Shows many different views
  • Volume 2 was banned - made it more  popular.
  • Publicity
  • Encyclopedia shows Philosophes/Enlightenment as
    part of a process of publicity.
  • Got their ideas into all the reading public's
  • About 25,000 were sold, half outside France.
  • Groups most criticized, nobles and clergy-
    actually bought it more than other groups.
  • Ideals
  • Promoted ideals of toleration, reason and
    progress, equality before the law (for all the 3
  • Saw the state as the agency for progress,
    opposition to the Church and Faith.

Enlightenment and Criminal Law
  • Marquis Cesare Beccaria
  • Wanted laws of kings to conform to the laws of
  • Attacked torture and capital punishment
  • Advocated a speedy trial
  • Purpose of law to secure the greatest good for
    the greatest number of people

Physiocrats and Economic Freedom
  • Philosophes believed mercantilist legislation and
    regulated labor hampered trade, manufacturing
    and agriculture
  • Called physiocrats in France
  • Spokesmen were Francois Quesnay and Pierre Dupont
    de Nemours
  • Physiocrats thought primary role of govt. was to
    protect property/permit its owners free use
  • Economic production depended on sound
    agriculture, favored consolidation of small
    peasant holdings into large, efficient farms

Adam Smith 1723-90
  • Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth
    of the Nations(1776)
  • Most important economic work of Enlightenment
  • Urged Englands mercantile system be abolished,
    thought individuals would pursue self-interest
  • Smith challenged assumption that nations could
    expand only at expense of others
  • Thought water/air/soil/minerals were boundless,
    nations/peoples need not be poor
  • Laissez-faire
  • Economic thought that favored minimal govt.
    economic control, founded by Smith he wasnt
    dogmatist, believed state should provide
  • Four-stage theory
  • Human societies classified as hunting/gathering,
    herding/ pastoral, agricultural, and commercial
  • Smith/other Scottish authors used this to
    describe movement from barbarism to civilization
  • Allowed north-western Europe (commercial state)
    to look on other European nations with pity
  • Spirit for civilizing mission that would result
    in economic/imperial domination of world during
    the next century

French Philosophes
Charles-Louis de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu
  • Aristocrat in south-west France President of the
    Parlement of Bordeaux,
  • De l'esprit des lois 1748 - The Spirit of the
    Laws Written after 14 years study of laws and
    thinkers, including Locke. It presents two main
  • Classified governments not on basis of location
    of power but on the animating principle
  • Republics - virtue,
  • Monarchies - honor,
  • Despotism - fear.
  • No one system was suitable everywhere.
  • Less hooked on systems than other writers
  • Thought that allowance should be made for the
    traditions, economy and religion of a country.
  • Thought that despotism was suited to hot climates
    - to force lazy people to work!

Theory of separation of powers
  • More influential
  • Executive, judicial, and legislative
  • Based on a certain perception of English
    government, with its King, House of Lords, and
    House of Commons.
  • Wanted to use this principle in the politics of
  • Gave power to parlements, towns, aristocracy to
    counter the monarchy.
  • Recognized that the aristocracy of his day was
    corrupt, he thought this was due to the
    corruption of absolutism.
  • Influenced the framers of US Constitution 1787,
    more so than the Declaration of Independence.

 Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712-78
  • Different views than Montesquieu,
    strange/isolated genius that transcended
    political thought /values of his own time
  • Thought it impossible for humans w/current
    commercial values to achieve moral lives
  • Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and
  • Process of civilization had corrupted human
  • Discourse on Origin of Inequality (1755)
  • Blamed much of the evil in the world on uneven
    distribution of property
  • In both works, he brilliantly/directly challenged
    current social fabric other philosophes were
    trying to get the good life, he questioned what
    it is.

The Social Contact
  • In the Social Contract
  • All men are born free, but everywhere they are
    in chains,
  • Spent rest of book defending chains of organized
  • Society was more important than its individual
  • Freedom as obedience to the law
  • General will must be free, so sometimes people
    must be forced to be free
  • Wanted liberty and equality in society but denies
    these are natural
  • Wants civil liberty and equality,
  • Granted by the state.
  • The rights you have are the ones you have in the
    community, to which you give all your natural
    liberty and equality when you joined it.
  • The social contract was not between government
    and people, but between people themselves,
    therefore the best society
  • A participatory democracy, like ancient Athens,
    or Geneva
  • Society depends on public spiritedness, compared
    with Locke and Smith for whom the most important
    part of life was private.
  • Rousseau was out of tune with individualistic
    liberalism and greed.
  • The idea of a General Will
  • principle behind the validity of the Social
  • Political society is seen as involving the total
    subjection of every individual to the General
    Will of the whole.

Effects of Rousseau's Thought
  • Not much read at first.
  • First becomes influential on the French
  • Rousseau's arguments for democracy and equality
    had a generally liberal effect in the US and
  • The idea of the General Will, which is not the
    same as majority vote, provides a framework for
    totalitarianism in its modern sense. - especially
    the idea that the people may not know their own

Life During the Age of Enlightenment
Nobility Reasserts Privilege
  • 3 of population (varied 10 Poland, 7-8 Spain,
    2 Russia, 1-2 most of W. Europe)
  • Period of Inflation nobles cashed in on legal
  • Charged peasants to grind grain, bake bread,
    press grapes
  • Charged fee for peasants to pass on land
  • Taxes on salt and land
  • Customs duties for selling goods
  • Game laws
  • Peasants tithed to church (1/10)
  • Wore distinctive clothing (swords, plumed hats,
    make-up, powdered wigs)
  • Had own seats in church and University
  • Often exempted from taxes
  • Many did not care about Enlightenment ideas and
    feared reform
  • Some (nobles of robe) identified more with

Middle Class and New Elite
  • Enlightenment offered middle class intellectual
    and social improvement
  • Lived in towns, cities
  • Doctors, lawyers, merchants, bankers, low level
    officials, manufacturing, trade, investment
  • Bourgeoisie (French for city dweller the middle
    class) grew steadily in 18th century
  • Resented nobles and aspired to be like them

Middle Class Culture
  • Shared tastes in travel, architecture, arts and
    reading linked middle class and lower nobility
  • Neoclassical architecture return to Greek
    inspired style (purity and clarity of form)
  • Example - Josiah Wedgwood
  • Growing taste for moralistic family scenes of
    ordinary private life in paintings and books
  • Music concert halls, music composed for larger
    audience, longer last (as opposed to court
  • Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart
  • Reading
  • Newspapers, lending libraries, book clubs
    literacy up
  • Women readers and writers increasing Universities
    played a small role in increased learning

Working Class
  • Increased literacy among working class
  • (France 50 men, 27 women)
  • Fairs, festivals, cabarets, taverns, pubs
  • Bull baiting, bearbaiting, dog fighting,
    cockfighting (gambling)
  • Cricket (England), often led to fan brawls

Life on the Margin
  • Population of Europe grew by 30 in a century
  • Production and wages also increased, but not as
    fast as prices
  • Day laborers, peasants w/small land holdings
    lived on edge of starvation
  • 10 of population depended upon some form of
    charity (church)
  • Workhouses, beggar houses
  • Increase in crime

Changes in Sexual and Family Behavior
  • Births outside marriage
  • 17th c. 5
  • 18th c. 20
  • Increased mobility men could evade
    responsibility by moving away
  • Women as domestic servants
  • Increase in abandoned babies foundling
    hospitals (high mortality rate)
  • Increase in abortion (herbs, laxatives, crude
  • Laws against prostitution, adultery, fornication,
    sodomy, infanticide
  • Harsh laws against sodomy imprisonment or
    even execution
  • Stereotype of effeminate, exclusively homosexual
    male appeared for first time in 18th c.
  • Parents anxious about childrens sexuality
  • books on evils of masturbation (loss of memory,
    sight, hearing even death)
  • Value of children and childhood
  • improvement through education, books for
    children, childrens toys, clothing for children

BIG IDEAS Life During the Age of Enlightenment
  • During period of high inflation nobility
    reasserted privileges over lower classes.
  • Overall standard of living improved,
  • People on the bottom of the social ladder lived
    on the edge of starvation.
  • Enlightenment offered middle class intellectual
    and social improvement.
  • Middle class shared many of the same cultural
    interests as the nobility
  • Growing middle class embraced new concepts of
  • Lower classes enjoyed various forms of popular
  • Mobility led to increased births outside of

Women in the Enlightenment
  • Women, especially France, helped promote careers
    of philosophes
  • in Paris salons (Marie-Therese Geoffrin, Claudine
    de Tencin, Julie de Lespinasse)
  • Gave philosophes access to social/political
    contacts/respective environment to circulate
  • Gave them socials status/luster of ideas, enjoyed
    being center of attention, could boost sales of
    their works
  • Women were connected to major political figures
  • Marquise de Pompadour,
  • mistress of Louis XV, helped overcome the
    Encyclopedias censorship/block circulation of
    works attacking philosophes
  • bought writings/distributed among friends
  • Confusing mix of equal rights and traditional
    roles in many Enlightenment thinkers-
    Montesequieu and Rousseau
  • Rousseau portrayed wives and motherhood as a
    noble profession for women
  • Started the theory women occupy the domestic
    sphere and men occupy the political/civic sphere
  • Deeply influenced French Revolution
  • Rousseau had a vast following of women, convinced
    to breast-feed own children
  • Mary Wollstonecraft attacked Rousseaus ideas as
    being an attempt to limit womens role in society

Rococo Art
  • Use Art Index for definition and examples
  • Used a great deal in expensive houses (hotels)
  • Used to portray royalty and nobility in fun
    portrayal of everyday life or in classical scenes

Enlightened Despotism
  • Enlightenment ideals spread through Europe, they
    affected a generation of monarchs.
  • Raison d'etat reason of state rather than
    Divine Right became the justification of their

  • Austria
  • Maria Theresa 1740-1780 Joseph II 1780-1790
  • These monarchs centralized the state and put an
    and end to local diets (parliaments).
  • Non-national state, but as yet there was little
  • Prussia
  • Frederick the Great 1740-1789
  • Low view of people.
  • Ran the state as a military regime. He seized
    Silesia for "reasons of state".
  • A great ruler, but left no trained successor
  • Napoleon was almost able to destroy Prussia.
  • Prussia was made so much stronger than any other
    German state that it was to unite Germany in the
    next century.

  • Russia
  • Catherine the Great 1762-96
  • German princess
  • Deposed her imbecile husband.
  • Russia was still in most primitive condition
  • Kept serfdom.
  • Division of Poland
  • These three monarchies divided Poland between
    them in 1772,1793 and 1795.
  • Absolutist states succeeded - and older states
    faded - Poland, The Holy Roman Empire, The
    Ottoman Empire.