• During the Enlightenment there was a Scientific Revolution • The enlightenment was also called the Age of Reason • The chaos of the Reformation and wars of religion had shaken a belief system that had been accepted by society in the Middle Ages • People began looking for natural law, the conditions that govern human behavior • Thinkers began to believe that the problems of society could be solved through reasoning • One of the first philosophers to search for the natural laws of government was England’s Thomas Hobbes. • He believed that people by nature were bad and needed strong government • He believed that people could avoid the nature of being bad by entering into a social contract • This was an agreement to give up individual freedom to live in an organized society
Thomas Hobbes and John locke were both famous philosophers during the enlightenment period. They were social contract theorists and natural law theorists, they both impacted the modern government, modern science, and the world in general tremendously. However that is where the resemblance ends. If one looks more deeply, they will see that these two philosophers actually had very contrasting opinions. Hobbes was more pessimistic about the world whereas Locke had a more optimistic outlook on his surrounding environment.
The Enlightenment and Imperialism completely revolutionized how people look at the world and what they think of it. These two major events also help to bring to light to determine how free the world is today in terms of suppressed rights and liberties in assorted countries. The freedom of the world can also be determined by modern day resources such as Freedomhouse.org. The cycle of securing individual freedoms has been heavily impacted by the Enlightenment, Imperialization and the drafting of the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. The Scientific Revolution is what lead the people into a new way of life, a life where they were valued as well as their ideas in society and in government.
Traditionally, "The Enlightenment" has been associated with France, America, and Scotland rather than Britain, which, strangely enough, is thought not to have had an Enlightenment to speak of. Roy Porter effectively upsets this view in Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World. Porter's general concern is with "the interplay of activists, ideas, and society," and to this end he examines innovations in social, political, scientific, psychological, and theological discourse. The key figures (the "enlightened thinkers") read like a Who's Who of the 17th and 18th centuries--Newton, Locke, Bernard de Mandeville, Erasmus Darwin, Priestley, Paine, Bentham, and Britain's "premier enlightenment couple" Mary Wollstonecraft and William
The Enlightenment started to change how the colonists understood and learn the way human minds work. Two major thinkers emerged during this time, John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. Although these two thinkers were from Europe their ideas translated over to America as well. They both had very different ideas on the what shapes people into who they are. Thomas Hobbes believed that people are born into who they will become, society is not the determining factor.
He was very wary of the ruling class and their influence on society, specifically on society’s morals and ideologies. The upper classes set the foundation as to what morals are ubiquitous. Morals do not make a man; rather, a man makes morals. Depending on who was in the ruling class, the prominent morality of that time period would be one that best benefited them. For instance, in the time of the aristocracy, virtues such as honor and loyalty were made universal; whereas, the bourgeoisie focused on freedom and equality.
Conclusively, this country has changed drastically since 1776, and Thomas Jefferson would be very critical of how its democracy has changed. However, not everything has changed for the worse, many things have improved such as technological advances. But in terms of democracy, this country has taken a dark turn. People are monitored out of their own will, lied to over media, and given a president with no control. Thomas Jefferson’s version of Democracy would definitely contradict todays, but without change in the world nothing interesting would ever happen.
Anglo-America, which was the newly founded United States, and Spanish-America. Due to Spanish-America becoming inevitably weak, despite having more resources, were nowhere compared to Anglo-America whereas they became powerful and stayed free from outside control. Eventually the United States of America created a new idea in mind called “Manifest Destiny”. Manifest Destiny was the idea that the U.S. had the belief that they had a “mission to expand, spreading democracy and freedom.” During the 19th century the term was mainly used for a political catch phrase. Meaning how it was “inevitable” and “obvious” for America to pursue expansion.
Is one a crusader—or ruthless invader? It’s all in which label is able to persist”. The label is manipulated to fit the society in which it is being used, if it didn’t fit it could not persist. England’s history is full of successful invasions, and consequentially, battles of independence. From an American’s view, the revolution was justified and the birth of a free nation.
Accused radical individuals such as Denis Diderot felt that is was important to have knowledge amongst all classes. As a scholarly romantic, he believed in the good nature of people but felt that without access to knowledge no one would ever be able to live up to their truly good potential. If the French Revolution was able to have foreshadowing like a novel, Diderot would be ample evidence of such as he states, “Revolutions are necessary; there have always been revolutions, and there always will be.” Not only did Diderot feel that a revolution was necessary, but he felt that the more knowledge gathered over time, the more revolutions would be necessary in order to create the most equal and empathetic society. This positive- at the time radical- position towards the equality of mankind was a necessary stepping point in the passionate and romantic qualities of the upcoming French Revolution. With Diderot’s encyclopedia in hand, the beginnings of the revolutionary idea of equality began to take place.