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~The 18 th century philosophical movement in Europe and America, which emphasized intellectual freedom and reason over tradition, questioning of authority,

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Presentation on theme: "~The 18 th century philosophical movement in Europe and America, which emphasized intellectual freedom and reason over tradition, questioning of authority,"— Presentation transcript:


2 ~The 18 th century philosophical movement in Europe and America, which emphasized intellectual freedom and reason over tradition, questioning of authority, and an empirical approach to science. ~Promoted a scientific approach to political and social issues ~Gave rise to a sense of human progress

3 Reason The Enlightenment was also known as the Age of Reason. People of the Enlightenment believed human reason could: ~discover the natural laws of the universe ~determine the natural rights of mankind ~promote unending progress in knowledge, technical achievement, & moral values

4 Reason They believed reason shows life as it is, whereas imagination shows life as people wish it were or fear it may be. Reason can be used to combat ignorance, superstition and tyranny

5 Hawthorne Alludes to the Enlightenment in The Scarlet Letter: “Men bolder than these had overthrown and rearranged—not actually, but within the sphere of theory, which was their most real abode—the whole system of ancient prejudice, wherewith was linked much of ancient principle. Hester Prynne imbibed this spirit. She assumed a freedom of speculation, then common enough on the other side of the Atlantic, but which our forefathers, had they known it, would have held to be a deadlier crime than that stigmatized by the scarlet letter.”

6 Deism Enlightenment thinking lead to Deism, a new religious philosophy Deists believed in God as a great inventor or architect who had created the universe and then allowed it to function without divine intervention. Deists believed in an after-life, but human achievement and happiness should be the focus of this life Rather than focusing on God, the people focused on man.

7 Defining Deism… Deism is defined in Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary as: "[From Latin Deus, God.Deity] The doctrine or creed of a Deist“ A Deist is “One who believes in the existence of a God or supreme being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason."

8 René Descartes French Philosopher 1596 -1650 “cogito ergo suma” (I think therefore I am) Father of Modern Philosophy Universal Doubt—only one thing cannot be doubted, and that is doubt itself; therefore, the doubter must exist

9 Sir Isaac Newton Mathematician 1642 – 1727 “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

10 John Locke American Philosopher 1632 - 1704 “ Though the familiar use of the Things about us, takes off our Wonder; yet it cures not our Ignorance."

11 John Locke’s Ideas Tabla Rasa—the mind is born a blank upon which all knowledge is inscribed in the form of human experience Attacked the divine right of kings (ideas of checks and balances) Revolution is not only a right but an obligation (social contract)

12 Benjamin Franklin pseudonym, Richard Saunders Poor Richard’s Almanac 1706 - 1790 “He that lives upon hope will die fasting.”

13 Benjamin Franklin (1706—1800) Never received a formal education Was one of 17 children At 17 years old, traveled to Philadelphia and began producing Poor Richard’s Almanac Invented the lightning rod, bifocals, new type of stove & confirmed laws of electricity


15 Ben Franklin’s Writing We will read “Caustic Wit,” an ironic, satirical letter to the London press --Franklin wanted Britain to see the foolishness of their attempts to keep Americans under their control We will read from “The Autobiography,” which he wrote for his son over a period of 19 years

16 Aphorisms Ben Franklin was known for his aphorisms Aphorism—is a short concise statement expressing a wise or clever observation or general truth --may contain rhymes or repeated sounds --Franklin put an aphorism at the top or bottom of most pages in his almanac. “He that lives upon hope will die fasting.” “God helps them that help themselves.” “A small leak will sink a great ship.”

17 Aphorisms “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” “The rotten apple spoils his companions.” “If your head is wax, don’t walk in the sun.”

18 Jean de Crevecoeur (1735—1813) First writer to compare America to a melting pot: “Here [in America] all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world.” ~Letters from an American Farmer Wrote of America as a land of great promise

19 Patrick Henry 1736 – 1799 Lawyer, Politician “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, Give me liberty or give me death.”

20 Thomas Paine 1737 - 1809 “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

21 Thomas Paine (1737—1809) Considered to be the most effective American political writer of the Revolution Throughout the war, his pamphlets convinced people of the justness of the American cause

22 Thomas Paine’s Writing Common Sense (1776)—a pamphlet in which he accused the English king of tyranny The American Crisis (1776)—series of 16 essays, written after he enlisted in American army The Rights of Man (1792)—supported the Revolutionary cause; was imprisoned for pleading against the execution of the overthrown French king The Age of Reason (1785)—sharp attack of organized religion; he began writing in prison

23 Thomas Jefferson Declaration of Independence 1743 – 1806 "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it. "

24 The Literature of the Enlightenment Centered around having a purpose: To instruct, enlighten and make people think Was mostly nonfiction—fact based rather than imaginative Political, social & philosophical concerns were expressed in writing Information became more available— Newspapers were popular


26 Often symbolize the passing from one state to another, the coming of age or passing through spiritual stages towards enlightenment, from the profane to the sacred. The threshold marks the meeting place of the natural and the supernatural. Being between places is nowhere, a quality shared by crossroads. It marks the boundary between what is known and what is unknown.



29 The Enlightenment made The Pendulum Swing! Swing of the pendulum from God- centered life and concentration on the after-life to reason and the belief that man could know about his world There was no real unity of ideas, but there was a tremendous intellectual energy and enthusiasm generated.

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