Presentation on theme: "MID 18 TH CENTURY THE AGE OF REASON. I. Characteristics A. Other Name: “American Enlightenment” B. Historically: 1. Revolutionary era 2. Early National."— Presentation transcript:
MID 18 TH CENTURY THE AGE OF REASON
I. Characteristics A. Other Name: “American Enlightenment” B. Historically: 1. Revolutionary era 2. Early National era
II. A Reaction to Puritanism Puritans Advocated for a Theocracy Minister is political leader Society focused on religious good Age of Reason Advocated for Democracy Landowner is political leader Society focused on common good Libraries Post Offices Fire Departments Sanitation Hospitals
II. A Reaction to Puritanism Puritans (cont.) Religion based on revelation=“of the book” John Calvin God’s existence is known; it cannot be questioned > God-centered view of world Believed man was inherently corrupt Age of Reason (cont.) Religion based (supposedly) on reason=“of the mind” John Locke God’s existence is assumed; it, if ever it is questioned, is advocated anew using logic > man-centered view of world Believed man could gradually improve
II. A Reaction to Puritanism Puritans (cont.) Knowledge is a gift to help us first and foremost understand God better Literary Works Sermon Historical Narratives Age of Reason (cont.) Knowledge is a gift to help us first and foremost understand the natural world better Literary Works Pamphlets Speeches
III. Similarities to Puritanism A. Desire to live a virtuous life B. Emphasis on hard work C. Desire for independence D. Literature is primarily non-fiction
IV. Epitome of the Age: Ben Franklin A. “Renaissance Man” – man of many interests and talents. scholar who founded University of Pennsylvania and nation’s first philosophical society politician who drafted U.S. Constitution scientist who invented lightning rod, bifocals, metal-lined fireplace, armonica, etc. businessman who was extremely wealthy
“Puritan” or “Age of Reason”? “Many a man's knowledge is a torch to light him to hell. Thou who hast knowledge of God's will, but doth not do it, wherein dost thou excel the devil, 'who transforms himself into an angel of light.’” Thomas Watson “It is only by the exercise of reason that man can discover God” Thomas Paine
How would Paine and a Puritan respond?
Is there a God? How do you know?
What is the purpose of literature?
What is the American Dream?
Considering Text and Context 1. THE TEXTS (=significance comes from language of document as such) Do you remember any important Puritan tropes (recurrent themes/buzzwords)? Do you recall any important Age of Reason tropes? 2. THEIR CONTEXT (=significance comes from concerns of their culture) How were Puritan values reflected in the religious refugees’ literature? How were Age of Reason values mirrored in the early statesmen's literature? 3. OUR CONTEXT(=significance comes from concerns of our culture) How is our society still influenced by Puritanism today? What signs of it remain? How is our society still impacted by the Age of Reason today? What signs of it remain?
Course Theme Questions 1. How did the Founding Fathers strive to be original? 2. What was the Age of Reason’s American Dream? 3. How is the Age of Reason American Dream like today’s American Dream?