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The Age of Revolutions, Part I The English Revolution and the Dawn of the Western Enlightenment.

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Presentation on theme: "The Age of Revolutions, Part I The English Revolution and the Dawn of the Western Enlightenment."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Age of Revolutions, Part I The English Revolution and the Dawn of the Western Enlightenment

2 I. The English Civil War and Revolutions, Medieval concepts of individual rights (Magna Carta, 1215) advance in English law Origins of “Liberalism” 1.) rights that government is bound to respect; must be spelled out in a “contract” 2.) such a condition is “natural;” self-evident

3 Ideas born in England take root and grow elsewhere (America, France) , France , America

4 A. James I (Stuart Kings) “Divine Right of Kings” - absolutism - hostility to religious dissent 2. Colonization, economic expansion challenged power of the monarch - economic and political stresses

5 B. The Ghost of John Calvin 1. The Puritans - reject “Catholic/Anglican” hierarchy - “democratic” Protestantism 2. Calvinism spurred mercantile development - “bourgeois” class 3. Growing power of Parliament - new money v. aristocracy/king

6 C. The English Civil War, 1640s 1. Charles I tries to maintain power v. Parliament Oliver Cromwell

7 2. Parliament under Cromwell establishes New Model Army - would defeat King - would crush Irish Rebellion New Model Army scout

8 3. Charles I losing grip on power a. captured and tried for treason b. 1649, Charles I is executed

9 4. “liberties” of Englishmen at risk - denied life, liberty, and property due to religious and class affiliations

10 D. The Commonwealth, Cromwell rules with dictatorial powers a. Ruthless suppression of some b. Made deals with non-Puritan groups (Quakers, Methodists, Anglicans) - angered his “political base” c. 1658, Cromwell dies, his son takes over - old and new foes conspire to oust Cromwell Jr.

11 E. The Restoration, Charles II agrees to limits to monarchical power “Restoration Colonies”

12 F. The Glorious Revolution , James II begins to challenge Parliament’s power 2. Parliament begins to conspire against James II

13 3. William and Mary “invited” to take the throne, the Glorious (or Bloodless) Revolution

14 G. the upshot of English politics 1. As representatives of the people, Parliament had the right to choose rulers 2. English Declaration of Rights, written rules limiting power of Monarchy 3. Toleration Act, Religious freedom

15 H. the Conservative response 1. Absolutism 2. Conservatism Thomas Hobbes Leviathan (1660) “life is nasty, brutish and short”

16 E. Justifying the Glorious Revolution and the “beginning” of the Enlightenment John Locke

17 1. Two Treatises on Government, natural rights 2. Essay on Human Understanding, tabula rasa

18 II. The Enlightenment

19 A. What is Enlightenment? 1. Immanuel Kant a. Critique of Pure Reason, 1781 can the personal become universal? All people bound by same ethics

20 2. Friedrich Hegel, a. Historical Dialectic Thesis Anti-thesis Synthesis progress in history/society

21 3. The Philosophes (1700s) a. progress depends on: - understanding “natural laws” (rationalism) - overcoming “ignorance” bred of religion - humanity can be improved through social change and government structure * natural rights (Locke) + Enlightenment rationalism (Philosophes) = modern Liberalism

22 B. Enlightenment as a challenge to authority Philosophical Letters Concerning the English Nation 1. Voltaire - Philosophical Letters Concerning the English Nation, 1734; Candide - sarcastic treatment of Church, gender norms, colonization, Western Civilization

23 2. David Hume - neither matter or mind can be proven to exist a. Nothing exists to be sure b. too skeptical even to be an atheist argued for an ethical code based on secular values something can be “good” w/o relying on religion influenced Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham “utilitarian” ethics

24 3. Attack on religion Thomas Paine, Baron d’Holbach religion as social control Thomas Paine Baron d’Holbach Paine, Age of Reason - religious hierarchy inherently corrupt d’Holbach - “castles in the air”

25 C. Enlightenment and Rational Education 1. Locke - tabula rasa Emile 2. Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Emile (1762) - human beings are not inherently evil - societies can be “engineered” with education

26 D. Enlightenment and Rational Government 1. Locke - Two Treatises on Government The Spirit of the Laws 2. Montesquieu - The Spirit of the Laws, 1748 a. each type of government has a spirit b. govt.’s need checks/balances c. justice must be blind 4. Jefferson - Declaration of Independence

27 3. Rousseau, The Social Contract justice achieved when needs of people balanced with legitimate powers of government So where does this bring us…?

28 The Age of Revolutions? English develop concepts of Natural Rights Philosophes critical of authority for tradition’s sake society can be built on secular/rational values the quality of a government should reflect the quality of its people

29 III. Empire of Reason: the American Revolution

30 A. Extensive Revolution 1. Began as defense of “property rights” a. Seven Years War, b. end of “benign neglect” 2. “conservative” leadership a. North: merchants, lawyers b. South: planters

31 B. Intensive Revolution 1. “Rights of Englishmen” threatened a. Proclamation of 1763 b. decline in eligible voters 2. Leaders turn anger against British Sam Adams Patrick Henry

32 3. Liberty Declaration of Independence, - Jefferson “Give me Liberty, or give me death” - Henry Thomas Paine, Common Sense

33 C. Unintended consequences 1. “The spirit of Liberty has spread where it was not intended to go…” 2. Decline in deference 3. Rise of the “new men” The Spirit of ‘76

34 4. Articles of Confederation, dominated by states, new men 5. Pennsylvania State Constitution “stay laws” 6. Shays’ Rebellion,

35 D. the Counter-revolution 1. Competing definitions of “liberty” 2. The U.S. Constitutional Convention, 1787

36 3. Balancing property rights v. economic opportunity - slavery approved - the Bill of Rights James Madison

37 E. The Great Experiment 1. Republic of Enlightenment virtues 2. Republic of enlightened self-interest liberty = the right of free (white) men to control their own economic, political destiny Liberty not made universal


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