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The Enlightenment in Europe


The Enlightenment in Europe The Enlightenment in Europe The Scientific Revolution prompted new ways of thinking Philosophers sought new insight into the underlying ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Enlightenment in Europe

The Enlightenment in Europe
The Enlightenment in Europe
  • The Scientific Revolution prompted new ways of
  • Philosophers sought new insight into the
    underlying beliefs regarding government,
    religion, economics, and education

The Enlightenment in Europe, cont.
  • Enlightenment- a new intellectual movement that
    stressed reason and thought and the power of
    individuals to solve problems
  • Also known as the Age of Reason

Thomas Hobbes
  • English political thinker of the 1600s
  • Leviathan
  • Convinced that all humans were naturally wicked
    and selfish
  • Without governments to keep order, there would be
    warof every man against every man

Hobbes Social Contract
  • People would hand over their rights to a strong
    ruler, and in exchange, they would gain law and
  • People act in their own self-interest, so a ruler
    needs total power to keep citizens under control
  • Ideal government Absolute Monarchy

John Locke
  • Believed people can learn from experience and
    improve themselves
  • Ideal Government Self-government

John Lockes Natural Rights
  • All people are born free with three natural
    rights Life, liberty, and property
  • Purpose of government is to protect these rights
  • If government fails to do so, citizens have the
    right to overthrow it
  • Governments power comes from the consent of the
    people (foundation of modern democracy)

The Philosophes
  • French word for philosophers
  • Paris became the meeting place for people to
    discuss politics and ideas (mid-1700s)
  • Philosophes believed that people could apply
    reason to all aspects of life

5 Core Beliefs of the Philosophes
  • 1) Reason- Enlightened thinkers believed truth
    could be discovered through reason or logical
  • 2) Nature- The philosophes believed that what was
    natural was also good and reasonable

5 Core Beliefs of the Philosophes, cont.
  • 3) Happiness- The philosophes rejected the
    medieval notion that people should find joy in
    the hereafter and urged people to seek well-being
    on earth
  • 4) Progress- The philosophes stressed that
    society and humankind could improve
  • 5) Liberty- The philosophes called for the
    liberties that the English people had won in
    their Glorious Revolution and Bill of Rights

  • Most brilliant and influential of the philosophes
  • Used satire against his opponents and often
    targeted the clergy, the aristocracy, and the

Voltaire, cont.
  • Always fought for tolerance, reason, freedom of
    religious belief, and freedom of speech
  • I do not agree with a word you say but will
    defend to the death your right to say it

  • Separation of powers
  • This would keep any individual or group from
    gaining total control of the government
  • Legislative- Makes the laws
  • Executive- Enforces the laws
  • Judicial- Interprets the laws
  • Power should be a check to power (checks and
  • Became the basis for the U.S. Constitution

  • Individual freedom
  • Man is born free, and everywhere he is in
    chains (civilization corrupts people)

Rousseau, cont.
  • Direct democracy- government should be guided by
    the general will of society
  • People agree to give up some of their freedom in
    favor of the common good
  • Believed that all people were equal and that
    titles of nobility should be abolished

  • Promoted criminal justice
  • Laws exist to preserve social order, not to abuse
  • Fought against torturing of witnesses and
    suspects, irregular proceedings in trials, and
    cruel and unusual punishment

Beccaria, cont.
  • Right to a speedy trial
  • Punishment should fit the crime
  • Did not believe in capital punishment
  • Governments should seek the greatest good for the
    greatest number of people

Role of Women
  • Philosophes took a traditional view of women
  • Rousseau believed that a girls education should
    mainly teach her how to be a helpful wife and
  • Most males discouraged women from reading novels
    (encouraged idleness and wickedness)

Role of Women, cont.
  • Women used Enlightenment ideas on government to
    challenge their roles in society
  • If everyone is born free, why are men and women
    still unequal?
  • Salons- social gatherings in which wealthy women
    helped spread Enlightenment ideas

Mary Wollstonecraft
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • Women, like men, need education to become
    virtuous and useful
  • Encouraged women to enter the male-dominated
    fields of medicine and politics

Legacy of the Enlightenment
  • Belief in Progress
  • Science and technology
  • Using reason to solve social problems
  • Social equality (abolition of slavery)
  • Democratic government

Legacy of the Enlightenment, cont.
  • A More Secular Outlook
  • Scientists discovered that the mysteries of the
    universe could be explained mathematically
  • Changed the way people thought about God
  • Religious tolerance (Voltaire)

Legacy of the Enlightenment, cont.
  • Importance of the Individual
  • Morals- people looked to themselves for guidance
    instead of the church or royalty
  • Government- formed by individuals to promote
    their welfare
  • Economics- people acting in their own
    self-interest created economic progress