The Enlightenment Started as a response to lack of political mobility in society (monarchy). Emphasizes humanism and inalienable rights of people. Established the first credible challenge to monarchical principle (Locke) followed by economic challenge to the system (Smith)
Key Areas Of Interest Political Science Economic Theory Humanistic Thought
Key Political Players John Locke – L,L,P / Inalienable Rights / Tabula Rasa (Two Tretsies on Gov’t) Baron de Montesquieu – Separation of Powers (Spirit of the Laws) Hobbes – Social Contract (Leviathan) Voltaire – Civil Liberties / Religious Freedom (Candide) J.J. Rousseau – Social Contract / Civil Lib. (The Social Contract Cesare Beccaria – Treatment of Prisoners (Of Crime and Punishment)
Key Economic Players Adam Smith – Famous Quotes » Man, an animal that makes bargains. » Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man or order of men."
Adam Smith – Key Ideas » An Inquiry Into The Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations » Laissez Faire Economics » People, by pursuing their own end will help to promote the society » Invisible Hand » People would invest in lowest risk, highest return » Basis of all classical thought on Economics.
Humanistic Thought David Hume – Empiricist – believes that what we experience is reality. Supports the concept of this Rene Descartes – Cogito Ergo Sum – Believed that all things needed to proven and believed that philosophy could be proven like a science. Adam Smith – focus on human events Voltaire – de-emphaisezed religion and challenged the church at many different points – WITHOUT RETRIBUTION John Locke – Natural rights focused on humans not on “nature”
How did it spread? Salons Scientific Academies Freemasonry Debating Clubs Expansion of Literacy / Book Ownership
Influence on America The development of the US is tied to these philosophers – the founding fathers were all enlightenment thinkers. Take a look at these quotes…
The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either Benjamin Franklin
A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine. Thomas Jefferson
All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson
The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. George Washington
Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people. John Adams
Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. Thomas Paine
Enlightened Despots Enlightened monarchs embraced the principles of the Enlightenment, especially its emphasis upon rationality, and applied them to their territories. They tended to allow religious toleration, freedom of speech and the press, and the right to hold private property. Most fostered the arts, sciences, and education. Maria Theresa, Emperor Joseph II, Frederick the Great of Prussia, Catherine the Great