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The Enlightenment. What was the Enlightenment? The belief, put forward by the “philosophes,” that, through the use of reason, people and governments could.

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Presentation on theme: "The Enlightenment. What was the Enlightenment? The belief, put forward by the “philosophes,” that, through the use of reason, people and governments could."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Enlightenment

2 What was the Enlightenment? The belief, put forward by the “philosophes,” that, through the use of reason, people and governments could solve every social, political, and economic problem faced by humanity

3 Thomas Hobbes English (1588 – 1679) Wrote Leviathan (1651) Argued that people are naturally cruel, greedy, and selfish Only a powerful government can ensure an orderly society – a government like absolute monarchy Opinions had been shaped by living through the English Civil Wars

4 Thomas Hobbes “The life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” “The condition of man... is a condition of war of everyone against everyone.” “It is not wisdom, but Authority that makes a law.”

5 John Locke English (1632 – 1704) Wrote Two Treatises of Government (1689) Argued that people are born as a “tabula rasa” (blank slate) and are basically reasonable and moral People have certain natural rights: the right to life, liberty, and property People form governments to protect their natural rights, but those governments should be limited in power The people have the right to overthrow a government if it violates or fails to protect their natural rights

6 John Locke “All mankind…being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.” “The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom”

7 Montesquieu French (1689 – 1755) Full name: Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu Studied governments, criticized absolute monarchy Wrote The Spirit of Laws (1748) Argued for separation of powers into executive, judicial, and legislative branches and for system of checks and balances

8 Montesquieu “In order to have liberty, it is necessary that the powers of the government be separated.” “Useless laws weaken the necessary laws. ” "In republican governments, men are all equal; equal they are also in despotic governments: in the former, because they are everything; in the latter, because they are nothing."

9 Denis Diderot French (1713 – 1784) Assembled the 27-volume Encyclopedie Believed people had a right to pursue truth and knowledge His work was ruled dangerous by the French courts; Diderot was forced to publish in Russia

10 Denis Diderot “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest” “Watch out for the fellow who talks about putting things in order! Putting things in order always means getting other people under your control.” “There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge... observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination.”

11 Voltaire French (1694 -1778) Real name: François-Marie Arouet Wrote Candide (1759) Fought for freedom of speech; campaigned against corruption, religious intolerance, and the slave trade Imprisoned after offending French monarchy and Catholic Church; eventually banished from France

12 Voltaire “I do not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” “It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one” “Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.”

13 Jean-Jacques Rousseau French (1712 – 1778) Wrote The Social Contract (1762) Believed that people were born good but were corrupted by society Wanted a limited, freely elected government Believed that individuals are less important than the community

14 Jean-Jacques Rousseau “Although modesty is natural to man, it is not natural to children. Modesty only begins with the knowledge of evil.” “Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains.” “Each of us puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will; and in a body we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole.”

15 Cesare Beccaria Italian (1738 – 1794) Wrote On Crimes and Punishments (1764) Punishments should deter, not horrify Opposed the death penalty (hypocritical: murder for murder)in favor of imprisonment

16 Cesare Beccaria “For a punishment to be just it should consist of only such gradations of intensity as suffice to deter men from committing crimes.” “For a punishment to attain its end, the evil which it inflicts has only to exceed the advantage derivable from the crime; in this excess of evil, one should include the certainty of punishment and the loss of the good which the crime might have produced. All beyond this is superfluous and for that reason tyrannical”

17 Thomas Jefferson American (1743 – 1826) Wrote The Declaration of Independence (1776) Argued for “self- determination,” or the right of a people to govern themselves rather than subject themselves to rule by outsiders Generally opposed to slavery (although he owned hundreds of slaves himself)

18 Thomas Jefferson No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him. When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants We hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

19 Mary Wollstonecraft English (1759 – 1797) Wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Man (1790) and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) Argued for the abolition of monarchy and hereditary nobility Argued that women are not inferior to men (they only appear so due to less access to education) and that women should have the same rights as men

20 Mary Wollstonecraft “The divine right of husbands, like the divine right of kings, may, it is hoped, in this enlightened age, be contested without danger.” “No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.”

21 Outside Responses Governments and the Church tried to suppress the Enlightenment through censorship and political oppression Some “Enlightened Despots” used their power to bring about social and political change – Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia – agricultural reforms, encouraged religious tolerance – Catherine the Great of Russia – extended rights to the nobility and made small efforts to end serfdom – Joseph II of Austria – abolished serfdom, encouraged religious tolerance, even for Jews


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