(1) “The movement known as the Enlightenment included writers living at different times in carious countries. Its early exponents, the philosophes, popularized the rationalism and scientific ideas of the 17th century. They exposed contemporary social and political abuses and argued that reform was necessary and possible.” (The Heritage of World Civilizations). This led to tremendous rethinking of religious and moral matters as well as scientific theory.
From the late 1500’s to the late 1700’s, the Enlightenment period occurred. Thinkers and philosophers across Europe created ideas that changed the way people thought. For example, John Locke thought of the idea that everyone had natural rights. These rights consisted of the right to life, liberty, and property. Voltaire had the idea that the power lies in the hands of the people and their elected government. Benjamin Franklin, who had a great influence on the new government in the Americas as he told the ideas of government structure that he thought was better. Without these three people and their thoughts, the world wouldn't be the way it is today.
The American identity has evolved over time. During the 1700’s, the Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, occurred. It spread rapidly across Europe, and then to North America. This revolutionary way of thinking was crucial to the development of the American identity. The Enlightenment was the period for cultivation of science and human reason. Scientific discoveries were made and contributed to the growth of the people in Europe and America. The Enlightenment was a growth period in Europe and America, as people were told to rely on their own intellect instead of always looking to God for answers. Unfortunately, because of their existing class structure, religious positions, and authoritative rule, these new ideas in Europe could only be debated.
The Enlightenment was a European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries that emphasized the use of reason and individualism. It was mostly influenced by Descartes, Locke, and Newton. The idea of enlightened absolutism valued reason rather than faith. Enlightened monarchs had total control but embraced rationality. Being an enlightened ruler meant allowing religious tolerance, freedom of speech, and the right to hold private property. The so-called enlightened rulers of the 18th century included Catherine the Great, Joseph II, and Frederick the Great. Joseph II ruled with more enlightened ideas than the other too but he lacked to make a long lasting changes during his reign. But to what extent did these rulers actually rule with enlightened absolutism?
In France, the Enlightenment helped influence the French Revolution because the third estate, noticed that their basic right wasn’t being met. Specifically, the bourgeoisie, which was the growing merchant/professional class were well educated and familiar with the writings of philosophes like Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau. It was the bourgeoisie class that was educated, yet they didn’t have privileges like the First and Second Estate consequently, they began to question if there should be a social and political change in France. John Locke is an example of a philosophe who helped shape the outline of the French Revolution because he said that if people are dissatisfied with their governments, they should overthrow them, so they could create a new government. In Haiti, the enlightenment helped shape the Haitian revolution because ideas like freedom and liberty inspired them to bring
In Europe, during the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason, many philosophers gathered together to discuss their different but similar ideas to help shape the world we live in today. In the late 17th and 18th century, four enlightenment philosophers named John Locke, Voltaire, Adam Smith, and Mary Wollstonecraft focused on the same main idea. They believed in individual rights and presented their arguments through religion, government, economics, and equality for women.
The ideas of the Enlightenment influenced the American Revolution and the formation of the American Government. Firstly, The Enlightenment was a philosophical evolution that emphasized the aged ideas of the Greeks and Romans. In addition, the major philosophers of this time period were Voltaire, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Rousseau, Adam Smith and Isaac Newton. Their ideals include having an absolute monarch as a government (T.H), the separation of powers (Mont.), the government should not interfere with a free market economy (A.S), the freedom of speech (Volt.), the government could be overruled (J.L), and the government should rule according to the will of the people. Nevertheless, these ideals are important because they shaped the government that we have today. Therefore, these ideals massively aroused the
Enlightenment was a concept that inspired a new way of thinking of the people. In the newly formed United States of America, enlightenment shaped the way the new government was run. Scientific reasoning was applied to politics, religion, and science. Enlightenment saved music, art, and literature programs in colleges. Enlightenment in Europe led to drastically altered views on philosophy, politics, and communications. While enlightenment was the same revolution in thinking around the world, the ideas it brought were not always the same. For example, French enlightenment had different approaches to thinking than American enlightenment. Because of this, the two countries new governments were run on different ideologies.
The lasting political effect of the Enlightenment can't be overstated. At the least three fundamental political revolutions came about throughout this time period in Britain, America, and France. Those revolutions manifested thoughts centring on
Montesquieu stated that the best way to secure liberty and prevent a corrupted government was to divide the powers of government among separate groups that could check and manage one another. Madison and the other Founding Fathers listened to Montesquieu and established an executive, legislative, and judiciary branch in the federal Constitution as well as a system of checks and balances.
This sharing of power added ideas from the newly formed government that focused on the freedoms of citizens in England. Voltaire contended that the English government had successfully limited the power of the monarchy by affirming the power of the nobility, criticizing the French feudal system for its inability to share political power amongst the citizens of France (6). Advocating a limited monarchy to hold political discussions concerning the progress of the French government towards liberal reforms during the French Revolution. Voltaire as an enlightened philosophe, published papers about the rationality of the French government, which influenced his attitude towards the English constitutional monarchy that implemented the enlightened ideal of liberty. John Locke wrote that the purpose of electing legislative powers was to create laws and rules that protected the “properties of all the members of society,” a natural right of mankind (5). Enlightened thought presented by Locke outlined the formation for a new government that served the people of the nation, restoring their rights and liberties, rather than just the
Thomas used Aristotle’s view of natural law to justify the authority of the Roman Catholic Church in political as well as religious matters. For the purpose of explaining the fundamental reasons of law he used Aristotle’s philosophy and added the use of an eternal ruler.
The Enlightenment was a period of time that stressed the importance of reason and individual ideas. Many philosophers published works criticizing a country’s monarch or divulging the flaws they saw in a system within the government, such as the justice system. The Enlightenment also stressed the importance of education, and as a result of this, literacy rates experienced a major upward trend. Now able to read the philosopher’s works, a larger sum of people now were educated on the corruptions within their government. This caused a questioning of traditional practices, and people began to believe they could revise their government. These new ideas played as a catalyst to acts of resistance, or in a broader retrospect, the French Revolution.
“God, who has given the world to men in common, has also given them reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life and convenience” (Locke, 35). The Scientific Revolution concentrated on understanding the physical world through astronomical and mathematical calculations, or testable knowledge. The Enlightenment focused more on “Spreading of faith in reason and in universal rights and laws” (Worlds Together, Worlds Apart, 535). While the Scientific Revolution preceded the Enlightenment, both time periods sought to limit and challenge the power of the Church, through the spread of science, reason and intellect, and political philosophies.
During the seventeenth century, many of Europe’s diverse and numerous countries were going through countless political, economic, and cultural transformations. The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment were two of the greatest, most important changes of the early modern era which greatly altered the course of history in most of Europe. People were starting to question and challenge widely accepted beliefs and applying approaches to knowledge rooted in human reason to the physical universe and human affairs. The study of history often focuses on these events and its effects on Europe, excluding or ignoring its effects on places outside of Europe. The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment both sparked interests in science in China and