18th century european enlightenment essay

Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment is a term used to describe the trends in thought and letters in Europe and the American colonies during the 18th century prior to the French Revolution. The phrase was frequently employed by writers of the period itself, convinced that they were emerging from centuries of darkness and ignorance into a new age enlightened by reason, science, and a respect for humanity. The precursors of the Enlightenment can be traced to the 17th century and earlier. Equally important, however, were the self-confidence engendered by new discoveries in science and the spirit of cultural relativism encouraged by the exploration of the non-European world.

18th century european enlightenment essay

It dates from the end of the 17th century to the end of the 18th century. Beginning with John Locke, thinkers applied scientific reasoning to society, politics, and religion. The Enlightenment was especially strong in France, Scotland, and America.

The Enlightenment may be said to culminate in the revolutions that occurred in America, France, and Latin America between and Man, he posited, was a blank page who could be filled up with good progressive ideas.

People voluntarily came together to form a government that would protect individual rights. Government, therefore, had a contract with the people.

Therefore, people had the right to withdraw their allegiance. Ironically, the rationale used to justify the triumph of Parliament over the Crown in England was 18th century european enlightenment essay against Parliament and Britain nearly a century later in the American Revolution.

Toleration | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Influenced by Newtonian science that posited universal laws that governed the natural world, the Enlightenment emphasis was on human reason. According to major Enlightenment thinkers, both faith in nature and belief in progress were important to the human condition.

The individual was subject to universal laws that governed the universe and formed nature. Using the gift of reason, people would seek to find happiness. Human virtue and happiness were best achieved by freedom from unnecessary restraints imposed by church and state.

Not surprisingly, Enlightenment thinkers believed in education as an essential component in human improvement. They also tended to support freedom of conscience and checks in absolute government.

It was interpreted by conservative English figures to justify the limits on the Crown imposed by Parliament. The limited government supported by the Whigs who took over was spread abroad by the newly created Masonic movement.

In Holland, which was the home of refugees from absolutist leaders such as refugees from England of the later Stuart monarchy and from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and was nominally a republic, the earliest writings appeared.

Its most famous philosopher, Spinoza, argued that God existed everywhere in nature, even society, meaning that it could rule itself.

Art criticism in the 19th century Thomas Jefferson closely followed European ideas and later incorporated some of the ideals of the Enlightenment into the Declaration of Independence
Popular Topics The quantity and diversity of artistic works during the period do not fit easily into categories for interpretation, but some loose generalizations may be drawn. At the opening of the century, baroque forms were still popular, as they would be at the end.
Art criticism - Art criticism in the 18th century: Enlightenment theory | monstermanfilm.com Religion of Nature, by Matthew Tindal Most English deists downplayed the tensions between their rational theology and that of traditional Christianity.
The Early Enlightenment: 1685-1730 Bring fact-checked results to the top of your browser search. Art criticism in the 18th century:
Age of Enlightenment - Sample Essays References and Further Reading 1.

This philosophy applied to arguments against state churches and absolute monarchs. Montesquieu in his greatest work, The Spirit of Laws, argued that checks and balances among executive, legislative, and judicial branches were the guarantors of liberty.

Voltaire, the leading literary figure of the age, wrote histories, plays, pamphlets, essays, and novels, as well as correspondence with monarchs such as Catherine the Great of Russia and Frederick the Great of Prussia. In all of these works, he supported rationalism and advocated reform.

Diderot edited an encyclopedia that included over 70, articles covering the superiority of science, the evils of superstition, the virtues of human freedom, the evils of the slave trade in Africa, and unfair taxes. Rousseau, however, was not a fan of science and reason.

Rather, in the Social Contract, he spoke of the general will of the people as the basis of government. His ideas were to be cited by future revolutions from the French to the Russian. Enlightenment thought spread throughout the globe and was especially forceful in Europe and the Americas.

In Scotland, some ideas of the Enlightenment influenced the writings of David Hume, who became the best known of skeptics of religion, and Adam Smith, who argued that the invisible hand of the market should govern supply and demand and government economic controls should not exist.

In America, deism the belief that God is an impersonal force in the universe and the moral embodiment of the Newtonian laws of the universe attracted Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. On the political side, thinkers such as Thomas Hooker and John Mayhew spoke of government as a trustee that must earn the trust of its constituency and as a financial institution with a fiduciary duty to its depositors.

It was in the realms of politics, religion, philosophy, and humanitarian affairs that the Enlightenment had its greatest effect. The figures of the French Enlightenment opposed undue power as exemplified by absolute monarchy, aristocracy based on birth, state churches, and economic control by the state as exemplified by mercantilism.

18th century european enlightenment essay

Enlightened thinkers saw the arbitrary policies of absolute monarchies as contradictory to the natural rights of man, according to the leaders of the American Revolution.

The most fundamental part of their nature was human reason, the instrument by which people realized their potentials. The individual was a thinking and judging being who must have the highest of freedom in order to operate.

The best government, like the best economy, was the government that governed least. The Enlightenment In Politics The Enlightenment extended to the political realm and was especially critical of monarchs who were more interested in their divine right than in the good of their people.

Man was innately good; however, society could corrupt him. Anything that corrupted people, be it an absolutist government or brutal prison conditions, should be combated. Absolutist policies violated innate rights that were a necessary part of human nature. Ultimately, political freedom depended on the right social environment, which could be encouraged or hindered by government.

Absolutism, for this reason, was the primary opponent of political freedom.World Literature The Enlightenment’s Impact on the Modern World The Enlightenment, Age of Reason, began in the late 17th and 18th century. This was a period in Europe and America when mankind was emerging from centuries of ignorance into a new age enlightened by reason, science, and .

The Enlightenment was enabled by the Scientific Revolution, which had begun as early as This intellectual, philosophical, cultural, and social movement spread through England, France, Germany, and other parts of Europe during the s. I will discuss the Enlightenment and describe the impact it had on societies of the 18th century.

In the dictionary the Enlightenment is defined as “a philosophical movement of the 18th century, characterized by belief in the power of human reason and by innovations in political, religious, and educational doctrine.” The Enlightenment was enabled by the Scientific Revolution, which had begun as .

Age of Enlightenment 2 February The Age of Enlightenment is a term used to describe the trends in thought and letters in Europe and the American colonies during the 18th century prior to the French Revolution. The Enlightenment was an 18th century European movement in which thinkers attempted to apply the principals of reason and scientific method to all aspects of society.

It influenced the Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of the rights of man and of the Citizen. The Enlightenment was an 18th century European movement in which thinkers attempted to apply the principals of reason and scientific method to all aspects of society. It influenced the Declaration of Independence .

Enlightenment - HISTORY