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Transcript of The Enlightenment
Immanuel Kant once said:
What is the Enlightenment?
It's man's emergence from his self-imposed...inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance. Dare to know!
According to Strayer's Ways of the World textbook, the Enlightenment can best be described as:
"A Key belief in the power of knowledge to transform human society."
Enlightenment thinkers often used a satirical, critical style, had a commitment to open-mindedness and inquiry, and some showed a hostility toward established political and religious authority. (Also from Ways of the World)
The rise and diffusion of Enlightenment thought that questioned established traditions in all areas of life often preceded the revolutions and rebellions against existing governments during this time period.
Thinkers applied new ways of understanding of the natural world to human relationships, encouraging observation and inference in all spheres of life.
Intellectuals critiqued the role that religion played in public life, insisting on the importance of reason as opposed to revelation.
Pressed for freedom of religion and expression; separation of church and state
"It does not require great art or magnificently trained eloquence to prove that Christians should tolerate each other. I, however, am going further: I say that we should regard all men as our brothers. What? The Turk my brother? The Chinaman my brother? The Jew? The Siam? Yes, without doubt; are we not all children of the same father and creatures of the same God?
Enlightenment thinkers developed new political ideas about the individual, natural rights, and the social contract.
Example: John Locke
John Locke: Father of Liberalism
Believed that people would form a state, naturally bound morally by the laws of nature
The government would protect life, liberty, and property
The Government derives its "just powers from the consent of the governed."
Civil Liberties and political freedom
Limited government and Laissez-Faire economy
Liberalism was the result of industrialization and urbanization
Comparing Voltaire and Locke:
Locke believed in a constitutional government, consent of the governed, and a social contract between rulers and those ruled created by human ideas rather than religion.
Voltaire distrusted democracy.
Viewed democracy as a way to push the idiocy of the masses
While Locke supported a government for the people by the people and the right to revolt against an unjust government, Voltaire distrusted "the masses" and believed that only an Enlightened monarch could rule well.