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The Enlightenment Main Idea Essential Questions

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1 The Enlightenment Main Idea Essential Questions
European thinkers developed new ideas about government and society during the Enlightenment. Essential Questions How was the Enlightenment influenced by reason? What new views did philosophers have about government? What new views did philosophers have about society? How did Enlightenment spread?

2 The Age of Reason Scientific Revolution convinced many European thinkers about power of reason Wondered if reason could be used to study human nature, society Viewed reason as best way to understand truth Concluded reason could be used to solve all human problems This time of optimism now called the Enlightenment

3 Ideas of Enlightenment
The Age of Reason Held notion that world problems could be solved New ideas debated in coffeehouses, public spaces Writers published ideas Ideas of Enlightenment Paris, center of intellectual activity Parisian women hosted social gatherings, salons Philosophers, artists, scientists, writers regularly discussed ideas Peak of Enlightenment

4 Find the Main Idea What exciting conclusion did philosophers reach during the Enlightenment? Answer(s): Reason could be used to solve all human problems.

5 New Views on Government
As the Enlightenment began, European thinkers began looking for ways to apply reason in order to improve the human condition. English thinker, wrote that absolute monarchy best Believed people needed government to impose order People selfish, greedy Should exchange some freedoms for peace, safety, order Thomas Hobbes English philosopher, believed all people born equal Government should protect people’s natural rights Monarchs not chosen by God Power limited by laws Ideas foundation for modern democracy John Locke

6 Jean-Jacques Rousseau
French philosopher, believed people basically good Believed society corrupted people Wrote The Social Contract, contract between all members of society “Man is born free but everywhere is in chains.” View of Government, Society Believed government should work for common good, not wealthy few Individuals should give up some freedoms for benefit of community Despised inequality in society Views inspired revolutionaries in years to come

7 Baron de Montesquieu Separation of powers The Spirit of the Laws
Best form of government divided power among branches of government Separation of powers kept individual or group from abusing power The Spirit of the Laws Published 1748, showed admiration of Great Britain’s government Powers divided into branches: legislative, executive, judicial Parliament made laws, king carried out laws, courts interpreted laws Checks and balances Separation of powers allowed each branch to check against power of others Concept later important structure of democratic governments

8 Make Inferences Why was the subject of government so important to Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Montesquieu? Answer(s): Each philosopher had strong opinions about the power and purpose of government.

9 New Views on Society Voltaire Outspoken philosopher, Attacked injustice among nobility, government, church Created enemies, imprisoned twice Defended principles, fought ignorance Lifelong struggle for justice, toleration, liberty

10 Diderot & Encyclopedia Attacks by French leaders
New Views on Society Diderot & Encyclopedia determined to try to compile knowledge into a single work extensive 35-volume work took 27 year to complete Spread Enlightenment ideas Attacks by French leaders - Criticisms of church, government, legal system - Tried to stop publication - Completed in secret Adam Smith used reason to analyze economic systems wrote The Wealth of Nations Strong believer in laissez-faire economics, no govt. regulation Believed economy would be stronger if market forces of supply and demand were allowed to work freely

11 How did philosophers apply reason to issues in society?
Summarize How did philosophers apply reason to issues in society? Answer(s): They used reason to challenge existing societal views and government policies.

12 Enlightenment Ideas Spread
The spirit of optimism quickly spread throughout Europe. A few monarchs became enlightened despots, changing their systems of government and ruling according to Enlightenment ideas. Enacted some reforms like: education, some religious tolerance, abolishment of torture Prussia, Russia, Austria Did not make reforms to achieve justice but to make own rule more powerful No religious tolerance for Jews Opposed serfdom, did not abolish Limitations Changes resisted by nobility, church had no intention of giving up power Reality?

13 Enlightenment Ideas Spread
Challenged Beliefs Writers, philosophers questioned ideas long held as absolute truth Challenged beliefs in absolute monarchies, questioned relationship between church and sate, debated rules and rights of people in society Promoted ideas reformers and revolutionaries would later use to change society Belief in progress spurred many to enact reforms Believed reason could solve any problem Did not accept poverty, ignorance, inequality as facts of life Reforms Ideas about power, authority inspired reforms and revolutions American colonists inspired to break free from British monarchy Colonists strongly influenced by political views of Locke, Rousseau Revolutions


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