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The Enlightenment in Europe

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1 The Enlightenment in Europe

2 The Enlightenment – a new intellectual movement of the 1700s that stressed reason and thought and the power of individuals to solve problems Also known as the Age of Reason The application of the scientific method to an understanding of life

3 Hobbes and Locke 17th century English thinkers
Held totally different ideas about human nature and the role of the government

4 Thomas Hobbes’s Social Contract

5 Hobbes Argued that people are naturally cruel, greedy, and selfish
If people are not strictly controlled by governments, there would be “war of every man against every man” Life without control would be “nasty, brutish, and short” To avoid that, people enter into a social contract, in which they give up their freedom in order to have an orderly society

6 Hobbes Only a powerful government could ensure an orderly society
For Hobbes, that meant an absolute monarchy which could impose order and force obedience Government must have the power of a leviathan, a giant sea monster Wrote a book called Leviathan

7 How is the monarch depicted in this title page from Leviathan?

8 John Locke’s Natural Rights
Thought people were basically reasonable and moral As reasonable beings, they could govern their own affairs and look after the welfare of society People are born free and equal and have certain natural rights (rights that belong to all humans at birth) Include the rights to life, liberty, and property Did not support an absolute monarchy

9 Locke The purpose of government is to protect the people’s natural rights If the government fails to do so, the people have a right to overthrow it His belief that the government’s power comes from the consent of the people is the foundation of modern democracy Influenced the struggles for liberty in Europe and Americas for

10 “Law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.”
- John Locke, Two Treatises of Government

11 Absolute Monarchy? Locke Hobbes

12 During the 1700s, a group of French thinkers, called the philosophes, applied the methods of science to understand and improve society

13 Five Core Beliefs of Philosophes
Reason – truth can be discovered through reason or logical thinking Nature – what is natural is good and reasonable Happiness – people should seek well-being on earth, no only in the hereafter Progress – society and humankind can improve Liberty – called for the liberties of the Glorious Revolution and the Bill of Rights

14 Voltaire The most famous of the philosophes
“My trade is to say what I think.” Defended freedom of speech Critic of the church and aristocrats Critic of the French government; was jailed and exiled Fought for tolerance, reason, freedom of religion, freedom of speech

15 “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.”

16 Montesquieu Wrote The Spirit of the Laws, a study of governments throughout history Believed the best way to protect liberty was to divide the various functions and powers of government among three branches (separation of powers): Legislative to make laws Executive to enforce them Judicial to interpret them Each branch should serve as a check on the other two What we call “checks and balances”


18 Rousseau: Champion of Freedom
Committed to individual freedom Believed people in their natural state were basically good Civilization corrupts that goodness Wrote The Social Contract stating his ideas about government The only good government is one that is freely formed by the people and guided by the “general will of society” (a direct democracy) People must give up some of their freedom in favor of the common good

19 Rousseau Differs from Locke and Hobbes
Hobbes – social contract is agreement between society and government Give up rights in exchange for an orderly government Rousseau – social contract is agreement between free individuals to create a society and a government Individuals give up some of their rights in order to form a government for the good of all Believed all people were equal

20 “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

21 Beccaria Promotes Criminal Justice
Believed laws existed to preserve social order, not to avenge crimes Criticized abuses of justice such as torture, unfair trials, punishments that were arbitrary or cruel Argued for speedy trials and that punishment should be based on seriousness of the crime Capital punishment should be abolished

22 Women and the Enlightenment
Philosophes challenged assumptions about government and society, but were traditional in their view of women Most did not support equality or education for women Small group of women protested this view, but were condemned Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792 Called for equal education for girls and boys Only education could give women the tools they needed to participate in public life

23 “Women ought to have representatives, instead of being arbitrarily governed without any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government.” Mary Wollstonecraft

24 Legacy of the Enlightenment
Theories of the philosophes influenced the American and French revolutions Three other long-term effects that helped shape Western civilization Belief in progress – success of Scientific Revolution gave people the confidence that human reason could solve social problems Argued for end to slavery, greater social equality and a more democratic style of government

25 A more secular outlook – people began to question their religious beliefs; idea that mysteries of the universe could be explained by math and science Also promoted religious tolerance Importance of the individual – as people began to turn away from the church and royalty for guidance, they began to look to themselves People should use their own reason to decide what is right and wrong Emphasized the importance of the individual in society Government should promote the welfare of its citizens

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