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Chapter 17: Enlight

The Age of Enlightenment: the Eighteenth-Century Though

Philosophes -intellectuals, writers, and critics who championed economic and political reforms in the emerging print culture -interested in greater freedoms and liberties -sought rational improvement on many levels of society
Isaac Newton -determining the role of gravitation in the relationship between objects enabled other Europeans to realize that much remained to be discovered -his use of empirical support for general laws became an important feature of Enlightenment thought
John Locke's view of Psychology -all humans begin life as a tabula rasa (Blank page) -gave Enlightenment thinkers grounds for arguing that the human condition could be improved by modifying the surrounding social and political environment.
Print culture -a culture in which books, journals, newspapers, and pamphlets had achieved a status of their own -helped spread the ideas of philosophes -public became more literate
public opinion the collective effect on political and social life of views circulated in print and discussed in the home, the workplace, and centers of leisure.
British Toleration -Britain's domestic stability, religious toleration, freedom of the press, small army, unregulated domestic life, and political sovereignty of Parliament acted as an example for Enlightenment thinkers.
Obstacles to reform -Louis XIV's heavy taxation, absolute monarchy, religious persecution, and large standing army perceived as obstacles to reform
Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet) -most influential philosophe -suggested reforms in his books ("Letters on the English" and "Candide") -believed he could improve French life by modeling his theories on the English system
"Letters on the English" -Voltaire -suggested reforms based on the English system
"Candide" -Voltaire -attacked war and religious persecution
"Encyclopedia" -assembled by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert -a major undertaking by Enlightenment thinkers -the product of writing by more than 100 authors -survived many attempts at censorship -included most advanced ideas of the day
The Enlightenment and Religion -philosophes were critical of Christianity -felt that it focused attention on the world to come to the detriment of the present condition -objected to the power structure of the old regime, which gave special rights to clergy
"Crush the Infamous Thing" -Voltaire's famous slogan that summed up the general attitudes of philosophes toward Christianity
Deism -belief that religion and reason could be combined -popular among some of the philosophes -believed God must be rational -believed religion should be rational as well -believed that God existed and could be empirically justified in the study of natur
Cesare Beccaria -attacked torture and capital punishment in his work "On Crimes and Punishments" -used critical analysis to address the problem of making punishments just and effective.
Physiocrats -18th c. French thinkers who attacked the mercantilist regulation of the economy -advocated a limited economic role for government -believed that all economic production depended on sound agriculture -leaders: Francois Quesnay and Pierre Dupont de Nemo
Adam Smith, an English economist -believed that economic liberty was the foundation for a natural economic system -urged that the mercantilist system be abolished -believed individuals should be able to pursue their own economic interests -founder of laissez-faire
laissez-faire -French phrase that mean "allow to do" -in economics the doctrine of minimal gov't interference in the working of the economy
four-stage theory of human social and economic developments -Adam Smith -enabled Europeans to see themselves dwelling at the highest level of achievement -served as a major justification for their economic and imperial domination of the world
Baron de Montesquieu -"Spirit of the Laws" held up the British constitution as an example of the wisest model for regulating the power of gov't -championed aristocracy in improving French political regime
Jean-Jacques Rousseau -"The Social Contract" envisioned a society in which each individual could maintain personal freedom while participating as a loyal member in a larger community -saw human beings as enmeshed in social relationships -encouraged loyalty to the community
Mary Wollstonecraft -"A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" addressed the shortcomings of women and critiqued Rousseau
Women and the philosophes -women gave philosophes access to their social and political contacts -provided a forum for philosophes to circulate their ideas
marquise of Pompadour -Louis XV's mistress -helped the "encyclopedia" overcome censorship efforts
Madame de Tencin -promoted Montesquieu's "Spirit of the Laws" by purchasing it and circulating it among friend
Enlightened Absolutism -the phenomenon of several European rulers' embrace of the reforms set out by the philosophes -Frederick II of Prussia, Joseph II of Austria, and Catherine II of Russia
Created by: katsteve