Presentation on theme: "What Do You Know About It? The Enlightenment Age."— Presentation transcript:
What Do You Know About It? The Enlightenment Age
What is it? Definition: 'The Enlightenment' has been given many differing definitions but it was, at its broadest, a philosophical movement of the eighteenth century which stressed human reasoning over blind faith or obedience and was thus in contrast with much of the religious and political order of the day, while also encouraging 'scientific' thinking.
Huh? In other words, during the 18th century, certain thinkers and writers, primarily in London and Paris, believed that they were more enlightened than their compatriots and set out to enlighten them.
Enlighten them about what? Their principal targets were religion (the Catholic Church in France) and the domination of society by a hereditary aristocracy (or powerful monarch). In other words, the church and the state, who often worked hand- in- hand.
Is it true that these institutions had been challenged before by other “enlightened” thinkers? Yes, for example, in 1632 Galileo challenged the belief of the church that the sun moved through the sky. Using logic and observation, Galileo reinforced Copernicus’ idea that the earth rotates on its axis around the sun.
Go on….. During the 17 th century, “enlightened thinkers” used reason and logic as weapons against: Witch-hunts and wars of religion The Protestants & Catholics denunciation of each other as followers of Satan The imprisonment of people for attending the wrong church The censorship of publications by the church and state Slavery that was widely practiced and defended by religious leaders Despotism of monarchs and the “divine right of kings” Any opposition to the church and state resulting in imprisonment or execution
Who were some of these “enlightened thinkers” or philosophes? Thomas HobbesJohn LockeMontesquieuVoltaireRousseau Believed in the social contract- people give up individual liberties in return for social order. Believed in natural rights of life, liberty and property. Government existed to protect these rights and if they didn’t- it should be over- thrown. Division of power into 3 branches. His idea of checks and balances would influence the United States Constitution. Strong supporter of Freedom of Speech, Thought and Religion. Believed govern- ment should ensure personal freedoms. Viewed absolute monarchy as evil and dangerous. Rejected orthodox Christianity. Opposed strong government. Believed in popular sovereignty-gov’t by the consent of the people.
What influence did the Enlightenment have on American History? Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, and Paine were powerfully influenced by Enlightenment thought. The language of natural law, of inherent freedoms, of self-determination which seeped so deeply into the American grain was the language of the Enlightenment.