Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
World History -
The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement that took place from the 1600s to 1789, the French Revolution. The center of this movement was France. The most notable group of men was called "philosophes."
General Characteristics of the Movement
Held reason as the basis of their thinking. Attacked superstition, ignorance, and easy acceptance of authority.
Used the scientific method.
Since Newton had proved that the universe worked in certain laws, shouldn't man, society, government, and education work in laws, too?
Scientific Revolution had demolished old ideas. People looked at the world in a scientific way and everything was / is controlled by natural laws.
A new idea of man, guided by natural laws, had to come about - a paradigm shift. Since people (as evidenced by the cultures the explorers found) were not all alike, coming up with a consistent view of man was difficult.
Approach of 18th-Century Philosophies
Everyone, since they are human, is the same. Everyone has the same features - different cultures were secondary to this. They tried to figure out what happened before: families, governments, customs, etc. - The Noble Savage Concept. (Turned out that the "Noble Savage" didn't exist).
Man in the State of Nature
Most thinkers thought the fewer the rules, the better. Protect life and property, but leave natural freedoms intact. There were arguments about government Voltaire and Hobbes wanted absolute monarchy. Rosseau wanted Democracy. Montesquieu, Jefferson, and Locke wanted separation of power and constitutional checks on the monarchy.
Simplicity and Social Restraint
Art. Art became more refined.
Literature. The fluid oratory of Shakespeare was replaced by simple clarity.
Religion. People were suspicious of religion. They were impressed by findings in science, many philosophies argued for atheism or deism. Deism is the belief that God was a Great Clock Maker, who, after creating the world according to natural laws, sat back and watched it run according to natural laws.
Education. Before the Enlightenment students were seen as sinful,
arrogant, and indifferent to self-improvement. Education was tough
- lots of punishment, uncomfortable benches, etc. During the Enlightenment,
people thought education should be built around a child's development
(emotional, physical, and intellectual) and that the primary curriculum
should come from nature.
Bust of Voltaire
Historical Periods of
| Mesopotamia & Phoenicians |
Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000
Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Modern European History | Advanced Placement European History | Rise of England | World History |
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