The Enlightenment

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Transcript The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment
18 century (1700s)
Mr. Zywicki and Mr. Chmiel
Scientific Revolution Sparks the Enlightenment
In the wake of the Scientific Revolution came the
This was an era in which people used reason to try to
understand more about human behavior and solve the
problems of society
Three key values: Reason, liberty, and progress
Reason, Liberty, and Progress – Key
Enlightenment Values
Reason – people should seek to find scientific/natural
explanations for phenomenon; should not just accept
events based on faith or superstition
Liberty – people should be free to think, read, write,
and speak without fear of government restriction
(governments often try to hold back the spread of
knowledge when it feels threatened)
Progress – people can and should work to improve the
world around them; they should not just accept
problems and wait to go to heaven
Enlightenment – Age of Reason
The Enlightenment is also called the “Age of
It began in France and spread to Britain,
America, and beyond.
Its motto: “AUDERE SAPERE,” Latin for
Europe in the 1600s-1700s
“Old fashioned”
Absolute monarchies
Dominance of the Christianity
Church supported absolute monarchs (“divine
right of kings”)
People were supposed to not ask questions,
accept things based on faith in God, and not
challenge governmental authority.
A group of French philosophers who wrote about government, law, and society
were known as the philosophes.
Diderot – put together first encyclopedia – spread knowledge to more
Voltaire – key thinker, promoted freedom of people to think, read, and speak
without government restriction; challenged the old system of the church
and state working together; thought this restricted people’s freedoms to
think differently
Montesquieu – key political thinker – separation of powers, checks and
balances produces best governments (protect people’s rights)
Rousseau – promoted people participating in government more
Denis Diderot
► All things must be examined,
debated, investigated without
exception and without regard
for anyone’s feelings.
► We will speak against senseless
laws until they are reformed;
and, while we wait, we will
abide by them.
The Encyclopédie
► Complete cycle of knowledge…………...…
change the general way of thinking.
► 28 volumes.
► Alphabetical, cross-referenced,
► First published in 1751.
Pages from Diderot’s Encyclopedie
Subscriptions to Diderot’s Encyclopedie
An Increase in Reading
New Ideas Challenge Society
While churches and monarchies tried to stop
the flow of Enlightenment ideas through
CENSORSHIP (threw philosophes in
prison; banned certain essays and books)
Enlightenment thinkers found new ways of
spreading their ideas, such as through
novels and salons.
A Parisian Salon
•Salon – living room in a wealthy person’s home; the
hostess (it was usually a woman) hosted gatherings of
intellectuals, scientists, philosophes, and friends for
Enlightened discussions, readings, and experiments
•Salons spread the Enlightenment ideas
Madame Geoffrin’s Salon
The Royal Academy of Sciences, Paris
Zoology & Biology
A dissection at the Royal Academy, London.
Chemistry Labs & Botany Gardens
Natural History Collections
► Cocoa plant
► Sir Hans
► Collected from Jamaica.
Private Collections
The Origins of Modern Museums.
“It is dangerous to
be right when the
government is
Look at how this
sculpture makes
him look like a
Famous essayist, writer (books, letters), and
satirist (he used comedies to poke fun at the
government and religion)
Saw corruption and falseness of government
and organized religion
Wrote letters to free people prison, challenged
the French government for not having enough
Thrown in prison (the Bastille) more than once
Powerful and influential man – very brave,
willing to risk life to spread Enlightenment
The Baron de Montesquieu
• A separation of political
powers ensured freedom
and liberty
• Believed that government
should have different
branches – executive,
legislative, judicial
• He saw the problems of
absolute monarchies - all
power in executive
• Any examples?
Separation of powers into different branches
Each branch can check the other’s powers (checks and
Presidential veto power over Congressional legislation
House votes on articles of impeachment, Senate votes to
impeach President who commits high crimes while in office
Supreme Court can declare acts to be unconstitutional
President nominates Supreme Court justices, who must then
be approved by Senate vote
Separation of powers would bring progress by
preserving liberty of its citizens
What do you think?
Jean Jacques Rousseau
Government must
preserve “virtue”
Man is born free,
yet everywhere he is
in chains.
The Social Contract
Believed that people needed to participate in
their government more
Favored a republic – people vote for the
representatives (similar to how American
citizens vote for their senators and
Giving people greater say in their government
would protect their natural rights more.
Major influence on American and French
Hobbes and Locke: Different ideas
on Government
Both men wanted to protect people’s rights.
Therefore, both had Enlightenment values –
liberty, progress, and reason
Hobbes believed government should be given
absolute power and then could protect lawabiding citizens better.
Locke believed that government’s power should
be limited by the consent of the governed.
Thomas Hobbes: 1600’s A.D.
 People give up (cede) their own
sovereignty (power) to the state --government then provides peace
and order
 Government must exercise
absolute power to enforce laws –
like the biblical sea monster – the
Leviathan, which was the name of
his book
Thomas Hobbes: 1600’s A.D.
 People give up some freedoms and
rights to have lives and property
 Think of police searches and seizures,
interrogating terrorists
 In contrast, our government must
respect the rights of the accused, which
sometimes means that the guilty go
 What do you think? Are you willing to
give up more freedoms in order to have
more effective protection?
John Locke:
 Government limited by consent of the
 Natural Rights: inherent to being a human –
life, liberty, pursuit of happiness
 People should overthrow government when
it does not protect their natural rights
 Examples: American Revolution and
French Revolution
New Economic Thinking
Economists also applied reason to their
study of economics during the
Adam Smith and a group of French thinkers
called physiocrats urged economies that
operated with little government control.
Adam Smith
The Wealth of Nations, 1776
 Self Interest
 Invisible Hand
 Power of Market
 Wealth of Nations = GDP
 Destroys mercantilism
 Laissez Fair Tax policies
Adam Smith
Governments should NOT get involved in the
economy. They should follow a laissez-faire (“leave it
alone”) approach to the economy)
Governments should allow business to have free trade
– no restrictions. No tariffs.
Consumers will choose to buy the best products from
the companies who have the best combination of
quality and price.
Weaker companies go out of business.
Supply and demand will naturally reach an equilibrium
(supply and demand intersect at an ideal price).
Adam Smith continued
The best companies survive and produce the
best products to satisfy the consumers.
The market is naturally regulated by the laws of
supply and demand – government does not need
to and SHOULD NOT get involved in
interfering with supply and demand!
Allowing free trade (laissez-faire – “leave it
alone”) capitalism produces the greatest wealth.
Smith showed that Enlightenment ideals of
reason, liberty and progress could be used to
improve the economy.
Price Level
Real GDP
The Enlightenment in America
Friends with Voltaire
Lived in Paris and frequented
The American “Philosophes”
John Adams
Ben Franklin
…...…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…………...
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
► Common Sense,
► The Rights of Man,