THE ENLIGHTENMENT Also known as the Age of Enlightenment, the Enlightenment or Age of Reason. It was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe, that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. Originating from about 1650–1700, flourishing until about 1790–1800. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in Church and state.
THE ENLIGHTENMENT The center of the Enlightenment was France. The new intellectual forces spread to urban centers across Europe, notably:
the German states
THE TERM The term "Enlightenment" came into use in English during the mid-18th century. “Enlightenment” was a desire for human affairs to be guided by rationality rather than by faith, superstition, or revelation.
THE TERM According to Immanuel Kant: “Mankind's final coming of age, the emancipation of the human consciousness from an immature state of ignorance and error.” According to Bertrand Russell: “The enlightenment was a phase in a progressive development, which began in antiquity, and that reason and challenges to the established order were constant ideals throughout that time.”
Timespan The beginning of the 18th century (1700) or the middle of the 17th. Others define the Enlightenment as beginning in Britain's Glorious Revolution of 1688 or with the publication of Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica in 1687. As to its end, most scholars use the last years of the century – often choosing the French Revolution of 1789 or the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars (1804–15).
FIVE BASIC IDEAS BEHIND ENLIGHTENMENT Rationalism Naturalism Materialism Optimism Humanitarianism
The Enlightenment Philosophers
Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677) Noted for:
Panentheism, Pantheism, intellectual and religious freedom / separation of church and state, Political society derived from power, not contract.
John locke (1632–1704) Noted for:
Tabula rasa, "government with the consent of the governed”, state of nature, liberty and property.
Pierre bayle (1647–1706) Noted for:
Being a forerunner of the Encyclopedists and an advocate of the principle of the toleration of divergent beliefs, his works subsequently influenced the development of the Enlightenment.
Contributions It cracked the spiritual, political and economic values of the 18th century. The political ideals influenced the American Declaration of Independence, the United States Bill of Rights, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and the Polish–Lithuanian Constitution of May 3, 1791. The Enlightenment also pioneered in applying scientific methods to the study of human society, sketching the modern social sciences. The Enlightenment brought a new vision of the future, which forecast the end of absolute monarchy.