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The Enlightenment The Age of Reason.

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Presentation on theme: "The Enlightenment The Age of Reason."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Enlightenment The Age of Reason

2 The Church and Government
The Enlightenment The Enlightenment, or Age of Reason, grew out of the Scientific Revolution of the 1500s and 1600s If scientists could understand the physical world using reason, then reason could also be used to discover natural laws, which govern human nature. Prior to the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution, how did Europeans answer questions about the world they lived in? The Church and Government

3 Achieving Heaven on Earth
Enlightened thinkers believed they could solve all the social, political and economic problems using reason. They were known as philosophes. Enlightened thinkers’ ideas were shaped by the times they lived in, characterized by political and religious upheaval. During the Enlightenment there were many philosophers who wrote on the relationship between the government and the masses.

4 Thomas Hobbes According to Hobbes people are naturally cruel, greedy, and selfish. If not strictly controlled people will fight, steal and oppress others. The role of government is to strictly enforce laws to prevent the natural human state from taking over. Hobbes said that people gave up their natural state in return for an organized state headed by a powerful government. This arrangement was called the Social Contract. Hobbes supported rule by Absolute Monarchs Hobbes wrote his ideas in the book entitled The Leviathan.

5 John Locke People are basically moral and reasonable. They want to do the right thing. Additionally, Humans are born with Natural Rights: Life Liberty Property Government exists at the consent of the governed to protect their rights. If the government fails to protect these rights, the contract is broken and the people may change or replace the government. He wrote Two Treatises of Government stressing the best governments had limited power. John Locke’s ideas would help inspire the nations looking to revolt.

6 John Locke What does John Locke mean by this quote?
“Freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power vested in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things, when the rule prescribes not, and not to be subject to the inconstant, unknown, arbitrary will of another man.” -John Locke, Two Treatises of Government What does John Locke mean by this quote? Laws should be consistent, not subject to change based on the desires of the king or others.

7 Montesquieu A Political writer, Montesquieu criticized absolute monarchies. He admired Britain's limited monarchy and said it protected people’s rights. Montesquieu believed having 3 branches in government would prevent tyranny: -Executive (the boss) -Legislative (makes the laws) -Judicial (judges and courts) These 3 branches could check each other and split power.

8 Voltaire Voltaire used witty writing to expose the abuses of his day. He exposed corrupt politicians and religious leaders. He wrote against the slave trade and religious prejudice. His writings angered government and church officials. He was imprisoned and forced into exile. To stop his ideas from spreading his books and writings were outlawed and burned. “I do not agree with a word that you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” -Voltaire

9 Jean Jacques Rousseau Believes people are basically good, but the evils of society corrupts their natural innocence. The social evils include problems such as the unequal distribution of property. Rousseau stressed the importance of the common good which is decided by the general public. Man is born free, and yet every where he is in chains -Rousseau. The Social Contract He wrote The Social Contract where he says the government is in place because people allow it to make decisions for the common good.

10 Enlightenment for Women
The Natural Rights envisioned by the enlightened thinkers did not extend to women. Instead, women’s natural rights were limited to the areas of home and family. Some women exposed to enlightened philosophy through the Salons or meeting places. Prominent and wealthy women would host informal parties where enlightened thinkers could gather and discuss.

11 New Economic Systems Along with trying to solve the political problems of the day, many enlightened thinkers attempted to solve the economic problems. These thinkers were called physiocrats. These thinkers reject Mercantilism and promote Laissez Faire economic practices. In a laissez faire economy the government does not interfere with the operations of business. te

12 Adam Smith In his book The Wealth of Nations, Smith argued for the free market without government interference. He believed supply and demand should run the market. His ideas are still influential in economic discussions today.

13 Effects Before After The public accepted without question a society based on divine rule, a strict class system, and heavenly rewards for earthly suffering Enlightened thinkers challenge governments to protect the people’s rights and interests, believe social class should be flexible and desire material wealth and happiness on earth.

14 Enlightened Ideas Spread
Theories from enlightened thinkers spread rapidly through the distribution of pamphlets and books. These thinkers were primarily concerned -the relationship between people and their government -exposing the abuses of church and political leaders -using reason and natural law to answer life’s questions.

15 Salons Many philosophers met during Salons, parties hosted by wealthy members of society. Attendance included the best thinkers and artists of the Enlightenment period. The Salons were usually hosted by women, thus the philosophers were forced to speak in an easy vernacular to ensure understanding.

16 Censorship The government and church felt they had a duty to prevent the spread of enlightened thought and preserve the “Old Order”. They began a war of censorship. They burned books and imprisoned popular enlightenment thinkers. Some figures, such as Voltaire, were forced into exile. Despite attempts to censor enlightened thought, ideas of reason and questioning the old order continued to spread.

17 Enlightened Despots Some rulers embraced the ideas of the enlightenment to expand their rule. Fredrick the great adopted the idea of “Common Good” to tighten his control over his kingdom and subjects Queen Catherine the Great made several reforms to the laws in Russia. She also spoke against serfdom, but ultimately she continued to expand her own power.

18 The Arts The music of this time period follows was structured and organized, suitable for the age of reason. Some of the most famous artists and musicians from the time period include Rembrandt van Rijn Johann Sebastian Bach Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

19 Review Questions Which statement represents a key idea directly
associated with John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government? (1) Freedom of speech should be denied. (2) The king’s power on Earth comes from God. (3) All people are born with the right to life, liberty, and property. (4) Individuals acting in their own self-interest will achieve economic success.

20 Review Questions Writers of the Enlightenment were primarily interested in: Changing the relationship between people and their government Supporting the Divine Right Theory Debating the role of church in society Promoting increased power for European monarchs

21 Review Questions Which statement best describes a change that occurred during both the Renaissance and the Enlightenment? Feudalism became the dominant political system The use of reason and logic were discouraged Technology and science were considered unimportant A new questioning spirit and attitude


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