The Enlightenment: 1750 - 1815

Age of Enlightenment Video:

Enlightenment 1750-1850

  • Definition: use reason and experience rather than religion or tradition to understand the world and help it progress
  • Society should progress
  • Enlightenment
  • Politics
    • Enlightened Despots, US and French Rev’s
    • Philosophy
    • Reason, Tolerance
    • Religion
    • Deism (clockmaker god); Cult of Reason
    • Science                
    • Agricultural Revolution
    • Industrial Revolution
    • Exploration 
    • Discover the S. Pacific
    • (Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, Hawaii)
    • Art
    • Classical Realism
    • Enlightenment Political Reform

John Locke

  • 2nd Treatise on Government
  • Social Contract
  • Rule by the people
  • Natural rights of property, liberty and equality
    • Rule by Law (Constitution) not by a person or king

Jean Jacques Rousseau

  • “All men are born free, but everywhere they are in chains”
  • Spread Locke’s ideas to France
  • Rousseau’s Views on Education
  • Formal education ineffective
  • Students should go nature to learn
  • Students should study when interested
  • Enlightenment Political Reform

Baron de Montesquieu authored “Spirit of the Laws”

  • Favored system of checks and balances for division of power

Enlightened Absolutism

  • Ideally “A better way to govern”
  • Practically: Rulers remain despotic
  • Promotes the nation-state
  • Fosters scientific discovery

Frederick the Great of Prussia

  • Builds 4th largest Army in Europe
  • Streamlines government
  • Loves his uniform

Joseph II of Austria

  • Problem uniting disparate groups (Austrians and Magyars)
  • Abolishes serfdom
  • Forces taxes on nobility
  • Backs primary education
  • Takes control of Catholic Church in Austria
  • Reforms repealed after death

Catherine the Great of Russia

  • Comes to power after unexplained death of husband Peter III
  • From Germany, continued to westernize
  • Corresponded with Enlightenment thinkers
  • Demanded free peasants work for nobles
  • Catherine the Great of Russia
  • Compromised with nobility for control
  • Enlightened in philosophy, despotic in deed
  • Known for romantic exploits