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The Enlightenment It was an age of optimism, tempered by the realistic recognition of the sad state of the human condition and the need for major reforms.

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Presentation on theme: "The Enlightenment It was an age of optimism, tempered by the realistic recognition of the sad state of the human condition and the need for major reforms."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Enlightenment It was an age of optimism, tempered by the realistic recognition of the sad state of the human condition and the need for major reforms. The Enlightenment was less a set of ideas than it was a set of attitudes. At its core was a critical questioning of traditional institutions, customs, and morals. Some classifications of this period also include 17th-century philosophy, which is typically known as the Age of Reason.

2 Natural laws: Laws that govern human nature. Social contract: By Thomas Hobbes, an agreement by which they gave up the state of nature for an organized society. Natural rights: By John Locke, rights of all humans from birth- “Life, Liberty, and Property”.

3 Philosophes “philosophers” Group of Enlightenment thinkers believed in use of reason, law and society could lead to reforms Thought they could understand and improve society

4 Denis Diderot Wrote 28 volume encyclopedia- to change the general way of thinking. Included essays by Montesquieu and Voltaire.

5 Jean-Jacques Rousseau People are basically good. “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains”. Wrote “The Social Contract”. Idea of general will – best conscience of the people.

6 John Locke vs. Thomas Hobbes John Locke: Two Treatises of Government Right to life, liberty and property. People have the right to change government. Rulers should protect their people. Influenced the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Hobbes: People are driven by greed. Must give up freedom to ensure order. Rulers must suppress rebellion.

7 Charles Montesquieu His ideas of separation of powers: Three branches of government to prevent any one from gaining too much power. 1748 The Spirit of the Laws

8 Voltaire “My trade is to say what I think”. He used his biting wit to expose the abuses of the government and life around him. He targeted corrupt officials and lazy aristocrats. He wrote against inequality, injustice, and superstition. He disliked the slave trade and religious prejudice. His books were censored and burned but continued to defend freedom of speech.

9 Women and Enlightenment “free and equal” did not apply to women Women’s rights limited to home and family Arguments were ridiculed and often sharply condemned Mary Wollstonecraft: argued that women were being excluded from the social contract. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman – called for equal education for girls and boys Education gave girls the tools they needed to participate equally

10 New Economic Thinking Physiocrats- focused on economic reforms, based thinking on natural laws Laissez-Faire- allowing business to operate with little or no government interference. Supported free trade and opposed tariffs Adam Smith- Scottish economist, The Wealth of Nations argued that the free market should be allowed to regulate business activity. Supply and Demand

11 Salons: Informal social gatherings at which writers, artists, philosophers and others exchanged ideas. Began in 1600’s Paris by noblewomen. Enlightened despot: Absolute rulers who used power to bring about social and political change.

12 Baroque- courtly art and architecture was in grand, ornate style. Paintings were huge, colorful and full of excitement. Glorified battles or lives of saints Rococo- moved away from religion and was lighter, elegant, and charming. Was believed to encourage imagination

13 Enlightened Despots Frederick the Great: King of Prussia, tight control and “servant of the state”. He felt it was his duty to work for the common good. Catherine the Great: Read works of philosophers and exchanged letters with Voltaire and Diderot. Joseph II: Traveled in disguise to learn problems of his people. Nicknamed “peasant emperor”.

14 Lives of the Majority West was more prosperous than the East. Serfdom had disappeared and peasants now worked own patches of land. In Russia still rooted in serfdom, peasants still had to provide free labor. In the 1700’s ideas of equality finally entered peasant class.

15 Britain as a global power Location: made it well placed for trade and expansion. Several settlements around the world led to creation of an Empire. War: On the winning side in most conflicts and victory brought valuable rewards (territory, slave trade, wealth) Business: not as many trade rules and taxes as other European nations. Creation of United Kingdom: merged with Scotland, led to free trade between two countries.

16 American Revolution George III- 1760, ruler of England, of English birth. Set out to reassert royal power, to choose his own ministers, dissolve the cabinet. Put friends in Parliaments to help assert his leadership Many policies proved disastrous Wars drained Britain’s treasury – thought colonists should help pay Parliament passed a series of taxes: Stamp Act, Sugar Act “No Taxation without Representation” Colonists Rebel – Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party

17 Declaration of Independence 1776 – Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Britain Thomas Jefferson primary author, reflects John Locke’s ideas of natural rights or “life, liberty and property” People had the right to revolt against unjust government Stressed ‘popular sovereignty” or power from the people

18 The global impact of the American Revolution United States created the most liberal government of it’s day. New republic Shone as a symbol of freedom to European countries. The Constitution would be copied or adapted throughout the world. In France, 1789, a revolution In the name of liberty and equality overthrew the monarchy. European Enlightened thinkers influenced the statesmen in America who fought to gain their freedom from an unfair government.

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