The Enlightenment and the Great Awakening periods in American history contributed not only to the Revolutionary War, but also shaping America into its present day self. The Enlightenment period brought a sense of self-awareness; science was now applied to all aspects of life (religion, politics, trade, and life itself). Intellectuals began questioning what gives or allows a person the right to govern - as illustrated in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s book The Social Contract (1762). Rousseau’s contention was that individuals had “natural rights” to life, liberty, and property that rulers could not deny (Schultz, 2013 p. 69). The Enlightenment also spurred a reformation in education; the days of religious based curricula were being challenged, philosophy and the concept of reasoning were introduced.
The enlightenment was a dramatic revolution in science, philosophy, society, and politics. The purpose of this movement was to push society away from the medieval age and into a modern western society. It began in the 16th and 17th century with the scientific revolution. The scientific revolution looked to explain scientific principles from a philosophical point of view. Prior to the enlightenment, scientific laws and principles were agreed upon by society.
The revival of earlier ideas from these ancient civilizations began to take place as early as 1760 in European countries including Austria, Italy, and Belgium. These ideas originally developed between 8th century BCE and 600 ACE directly coincided with the expansion of the newly founded importance of philosophy and the philosophes in France that surfaced throughout the age of Enlightenment (Honour 17-25). Salons established throughout France offered the opportunity for individuals to gain influence and elevated the status of women since they owned the majority of the coffeehouses (Blanning 75). Similarly, the Scientific Revolution revealed advancement in better understanding of the physical world and its laws. Scientists like Copernicus and Galileo began to question dogmas instituted by the Church and undermined its influence.
The Enlightenment was responsible for inspiring revived interests in education, science and literature. The colonists that pushed this movement stressed the power of humans to reason and to promote progress (Schultz, 2014). The Enlightenment also challenged the role of religion and divine right. This helped Colonial America to see that
The American Enlightenment brought much impact on colonial society in America on political ideas of colonists to receive independence from Great Britain. John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau had beliefs that individuals deserve freedom and human rights to life, liberty, and property. People deserve to have their own opinion, natural rights, and decisions. “The Enlightenment was a progress with the people in the Western world thought about themselves and the societies in which they lived.” (Schultz, p. 69, 2009) The Enlightenment brought support within religions and education. Ministers from New England established an educational system and Enlightenment goals in human logic.
The Enlightenment changed the way people looked at the world. They started to believe that all men were free people which lead to The Declaration of the Rights of Man, “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.” This allowed people to create and invent new ideas, they believed that they can explore the world as long as their country was not getting harmed. The Age of Enlightenment was also, a period of time where many of today’s world science ideas were born. This period of time was also known as the Scientific Revolution. During the Scientific Revolution many inventions were discovered the four key inventions of the revolution were Microscope, Barometer, Thermometer, and Telescope.
The Enlightenment was a time during the 17th and 18th century in Europe when the ideas of philosophers about an ideal government and human nature in society were being developed. Although women did not have equal rights as men, women did have the power to influence ideas during the Enlightenment. This is because they took on several roles as leaders, where they had chances and opportunities to act as philosophers and share their new ideas on the society of France. In Salons, high class parties during the Enlightenment that was a place for nobles, and their intellectuals to share their opinions and have conversations with one another was where both men and women were invited to participate and exchange ideas. During the 17th century, the system
And using these six ideas, we could see how these ideas were represented in the Declaration of Independence. 1. Deism and Scientific Progress In the introduction I already gave a brief overview of the religions as viewed in the Enlightenment. This quotation is only to add the definitions of the deism itself, "European Enlightenment thinkers conceived tradition, custom and prejudice as barriers to gaining true knowledge of the universal laws of nature. The solution was deism or understanding God’s existence as divorced from holy books, divine providence, revealed religion, prophecy and miracles; instead basing religious belief on reason and observation of the natural world."
The Enlightenment can be summarized as the movement to bring the human capacity to reason to light as a very important aspect in social as well as economic life. During the 1700's, many people were still in the mid-evil mindset, which encompassed the ruling of both spiritual and secular rulers, the belief that humans did not possess the ability for social change, and that the time on earth was simply a waiting period for either heaven or hell (Schultz, 2013). However, with the expansion of social life and interaction, many people were starting to question this mindset. Through the ideas of many who were educated, people begin to question these very beliefs. During the 1600's, a Euro Scientist named Copernicus believed that natural laws governed both society and the universe (Schultz, 2013).
The Enlightenment was a major turning point in European society because it changed the whole outcome of all of Europe. In the beginning, before the Enlightenment, nobody thought for themselves, and it was the monarchy and/or the Catholic Church's job to tell people what to think and do. The Enlightenment resulted in people beginning to think for themselves and start to form their own opinions and beliefs that go against the Church and the monarchy. The Enlightenment thinkers used science and philosophical theories to express what they believed in and used the new thoughts to help them solve their problems. Many philosophers believed that the government had too much power over the people and they began to work to change that.