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The Age of Reason or The Age of Rationalism

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1 The Age of Reason or The Age of Rationalism
The Enlightenment 1700s The Age of Reason or The Age of Rationalism

2 Background Info Why did The Enlightenment Period begin?
Privileged minority rules the majority Scientific Revolution – people want facts & no longer look to God or gods for information about daily life. Monarchs ruling with absolute power What is The Enlightenment? A period in the 1700s where philosophers believed that they could apply the scientific method & reason to explain human nature logically God did not act in human affairs Human actions determined the future

3 Quick Overview Why was it important? And why do we need to study it?
Many new political ideas Some are in our founding documents! New ideas led to revolutions and new governments! Ideas still in use today! Contributions The Encyclopedia – By Diderot & Jean d’ Alembert 28 volumes of complaints on the church, government, slave trade, taxes, & war Salons – Gathering place for enlightenment women Revolutions American Revolution 1776 French Revolution 1789

4 Enlightenment Thinkers
Philosophes Critics of society and government The church Government Published their beliefs in books, pamphlets, and plays.

5 Thomas Hobbes Lived through the English Civil War
People are naturally in a state of total freedom & chaos (anarchy) & need a government to keep order and stop self interest from taking over. SO, people give up their freedom to enter a Social Contract An agreement between the people and the government that they form Contract is FINAL and the leader has absolute power!

6 John Locke “The Father of the Social Contract”
Modifies Hobbes’ theory by stating that people still have rights even under a social contract & government. Life, Liberty, & Property We need a government to protect those rights The people can amend (change) the contract! We have changed the Constitution 27 times! If the government or leaders aren’t protecting the people’s rights – the people can overthrow them and create a new one!

7 Baron de Montesquieu French author who wrote The Spirit of the Laws
He describes the perfect government His idea of a perfect government has 3 branches… Executive Legislative Judicial All of these have Checks & Balances which allow each to limit or check the power of the other two. Believed Great Britain had the best government

8 Voltaire French author who wrote satires about the French government and the leaders of the church. Most famous was Candide Believed in personal freedoms Freedom of Speech Freedom of Religion Arrested twice for his views. “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

9 Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Wrote The Social Contract People are naturally good but their environment, laws, & education corrupt them. SO, government should be made by the people, for the people Popular Sovereignty “We, the People” in the US Constitution Did not want a strong centralized government. The only Enlightenment thinker who did not like the idea of reason or rationalism.

10 Mary Wollstonecraft English author 1759-1797
Used Enlightenment thinkers’ ideas of equality to argue for women’s rights Equality for men and women

11 Long Term Effects People fought for their new ideas in government and revolution ensued. Many enlightenment ideas can be found in America’s founding documents! Especially the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10), The Constitution They still form the basis for human rights violations

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