Presentation on theme: "The Age of Reason. The Age of Enlightenment Europe had dwelled in the dim glow of the Middle Ages when suddenly the lights began to come on in men’s."— Presentation transcript:
The Age of Enlightenment Europe had dwelled in the dim glow of the Middle Ages when suddenly the lights began to come on in men’s minds and humankind moved forward. As described by Immanuel Kant, enlightenment meant, “the freedom to use one’s own intelligence”.
Enlightenment Thinkers Thomas Hobbes: Ideas: People were cruel, greedy, selfish and if not strictly controlled would fight, rob and oppress each other. Ideas on Government: To escape a brutish life, people entered into a social contract in which they gave up freedom for an organized society. Ideal govt. was a monarchy, it could compel order and obedience.
John Locke: Ideas: Thought people were reasonable and moral. People had natural rights, rights we are born with. Rights include life, liberty and property. Ideas on Government: Believed rulers derived their power only from the consent of the people. The best kind of govt. had limited power. If a govt. violated peoples’natural rights, the people had the right to overthrow that government. He rejected absolute monarchy.
The Philosophes: In the 1700s a group of Enlightenment thinkers applied the methods of science to understand and improve society.
Montesquieu: Ideas:Believed in religious tolerance. Slavery reforms. Wrote Spirit of the Laws, discussed govts. throughout history. Ideas on Government: Felt best way to protect liberty was to divide functions and power of govt. among three branches; executive, legislative and judicial. Each branch would serve as a check on the other two. Sharply criticized absolute monarchy.
Voltaire: Ideas: Advocate of human rights. He denounced organized religion, detested religious prejudice and the slave trade. Attacked corrupt officials and idle aristocrats. Ideas on Government: Defended the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Believed in political freedom.
Rousseau: Ideas: Felt people in their natural state were basically good and that they were corrupted by the evils of society. Hated all forms of political and economic oppression. Ideas on Government:Felt that society placed too many limitations on people. Believed controls should be minimal. Only freely elected govts. should impose these controls. Good of the community as a whole should be placed above the individual. Wrote his ideas in The Social Contract.
Diderot: Ideas: Compiled 28-volume set of books titled Encyclopedia. Explained ideas on government, philosophy and religion. Attacked traditional religions and urged education for all. Ideas on Government: Attacked divine-right theory, praised freedom of expression, denounced slavery.
Wollstonecraft: Ideas: Woman’s first duty is to be a good mother, but can decide her own self-interest. Called for equal education for girls and boys. Ideas on Government: Thought women should participate in public life.
Smith: (physiocrat) Ideas: Urged a policy of laissez faire.The free market should regulate business activity. Ideas on Government: Govt. should stay out of the market place. Thought government should protect society, administer justice, and provide public works.