The Enlightenment and the French Revolution


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An introduction to the Enlightenment with some clips from YouTube. One is on Galileo; one is from Carl Sagan's Cosmos to illustrate the knowledge of the ancient world that was being rediscovered; one is from a history of the French Revolution (slide 4) and is accessed by clicking on the picture there. Sapere aude means 'dare to think' (I think!)

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The Enlightenment and the French Revolution

  1. 1. The Enlightenment<br />Sapereaude<br />Causes of the <br />French Revolution<br />
  2. 2. The Darkness<br />Superstition, ignorance, religion leading to...<br />Acceptance of inequality, despotism<br />These things underpinned the Ancien Regime<br />Resulted in mass poverty, servitude of the many to the few<br />The Church seen as blocking the light of reason until the Renaissance (C.16th)<br />Example: Galileo Galilei<br />People had not always been so superstitious<br />Ancient scholars knew much that had to be rediscovered<br />The Library of Alexandria<br />“Écrasezl’infâme!” – Voltaire<br />“Crush infamy!”<br />Meaning the ecclesiastical misuse of power<br />
  3. 3. Light Breaks Through<br />Renaissance: 14th – 17th centuries<br />Start of educational reform, traditionally Church’s role<br />Re-birth of the ancient era’s literature and culture<br />Especially mathematics, science, philosophy<br />Influenced art, literature and culture of Europe<br />Changed approach to traditional thinking, ideas<br />Reformation: 16th – 17th centuries<br />Attacked some Roman Catholic beliefs, teachings<br />Buying indulgences; role of priests; superstitions<br />Scientific Method: pioneered in C17th<br />Inductive (logical, reasoned) empirical approach<br />Newton’s (1643-1727) discoveries showed secrets of natural world could be discovered – God’s secrets not mystical, magical<br />Reason and logic could uncover them<br />
  4. 4. The Enlightenment<br />As you watch the excerpt, make notes on why the Enlightenment was so dangerous and threatening to the traditional order of things.<br />
  5. 5. The Philosophes – 1<br />Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Turgot, Montesquieu<br />Écrasezl’infâme! - Voltaire on Catholic Church<br />Rousseau – Discourse on Inequality:<br />It is against nature that a handful of people should gorge themselves on superfluities while the hungry multitude goes in want of necessities<br />Rousseau – The Social Contract<br />You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to no-one and that the earth itself belongs to everyone<br />Each is born with a natural desire to play a useful part in the community, but the systems of rule we’ve built prevent this from happening<br />Everyone should participate, and flourish, in the state whilst submitting to the will of that state<br />
  6. 6. The Philosophes – 2<br />Turgot: Nature has given to all the right of being happy<br />Montesquieu: no one person should wield the three sorts of power<br />Legislative<br />The power of making laws<br />Executive<br />The power of putting laws into effect<br />The power of actually ruling<br />Judicial<br />The power of judging crimes<br />Hence the separation of powers in the new United States’ Constitution following the War of Independence<br />
  7. 7. 1700s: Le Siècle des Lumières<br />Spread amongst educated, upper classes<br />Salons <br />Challenge to Absolutism<br />American War of Independence<br />Encyclopédie – Diderot<br />Censorship (lifted 1788)<br />Pocket books –Voltaire <br />Hidden pages<br />Popular fiction<br />Pornographic philosophy<br />Robespierre – bringing Enlightenment into legal cases<br />Ideas developed and spread as France’s crises worsened<br />