The Enlightenment In The United States
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  • usefull presentations but not that deep the enlightenment still has other origins and impacts but this presentation help as a starting point to my research since it is dealing with origins and i m dealing with effects of the enlightenment on America.
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  • 1. The Origins of Enlightenment Scientific • Much of early science had to do with sun and stars. • Mixed Religion with Science. Theology and science were self reinforcing for many years. – Galileo- spent 8 years under house arrest for challenging church ideals about rotation of planets. • Superstition very significant- ex., idea that comets were predictors of important social events. 1066 comet.
  • 2. Enlightenment Thinking- Characteristics • Do not uncritically accept authority. – Emancipation of mankind from arbitrary authority by submission to REASON. • The mind alone is the source of meaning and value. • Passion for ideas. • Belief in the scientific method.
  • 3. Sir Isaac Newton
  • 4. The Origins of Enlightenment Newton: Principia (1687): • Used mathematics to establish laws for governing the universe. Rules/Laws = Order = Predictability (maybe even Control in some cases)
  • 5. Newton: Principia (1687): • 3 Laws of motion – Body at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by some force (inertia). – Change of a body’s motion is proportional to force acting on it. – To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. • Motion of planets and stars, gravity focus of the work.
  • 6. The Origins of Enlightenment Newton Opticks (1704): – Proof by experiment. – Dealing largely with light. – Experimentalism: learn by experience, prove by experience, trial and error. » Important for… • Criticizing what exists • Trying to establish things that are new and better.
  • 7. The Origins of Enlightenment • Newton was science and science (“natural philosophy”) was the 18th Century ideal. • Newton’s work had the effect of rationalizing the world. Made the world regular, understandable, predictable, rather than mysterious and arbitrary. • Newtonian “world machine” - rationalizing the world.
  • 8. The Origins of Enlightenment • Newton encouraged the desire to know and understand the world, not merely accept conventional wisdom. • In Newton’s view a rational god created a rational universe, which man can discern. The idea of a “world machine” implies a builder. Took much that was unknown about the world out of the category of the unknown. Created hope for other discoveries.
  • 9. American Enlightenment • Intellectual movement that swept Europe with new, radical ideas finds its way to America – Often called The Age of Reason • The Enlightenment’s basic assumptions – Optimistic view of human nature – God set up the universe and human society to operate by mechanistic, natural laws – Those laws can be found through reason • Mixed reception in America – Americans defended church, embraced search for practical ways of improving life – But Enlightenment had broad impact even if many tried to keep it’s ideas/values at bay.
  • 10. Benjamin Franklin
  • 11. The Origins of Enlightenment Science in America: Ben Franklin Experiments and Observations on Electricity (1754) – Translated into at least 7 languages over 20 years. – Introduced terms that we use today- positive and negative charges, battery, insulators, conductors, capacitors.
  • 12. The Origins of Enlightenment Experiments and Observations on Electricity • Research into lightening- famous lightening and kite experiment. Kite not actually struck by lightening- the cord flying it charged by the atmosphere; felt spark when touched the key on the cord. • Invention of lightening rod: Many had believed that lightening a message from God. Franklin invented lightening rod to save structures and prevent fires (especially dangerous in colonial era). Mobs tore down lightening rods out of fear.
  • 13. The Origins of Enlightenment • Franklin became most famous American in the world due to his scientific work. – Turned scientific fame into diplomatic success. – Flexibility of mind and breadth of knowledge and vision served him very well in diplomatic ventures in Europe’s capitals. – His fame did anger some. He was more famous and people wanted his company more than many in the nations he worked in (including the kings, for example) » His likeness on medallions, paintings, engravings, even chamber pots. More recognized by sight than even King Louis.
  • 14. Thomas Jefferson
  • 15. The Origins of Enlightenment Science in America: Thomas Jefferson • Not a scientist like Franklin. More of a student of science and a naturalist. • Keeper of scientific artifacts – Large collection of fossils in White House (unfinished East Room) – Bear cubs in pit in back yard of White House from Lewis and Clark. – Large collection in his home of artifacts from Virginia and Lewis and Clark. • Inventor- his home a virtual museum of inventions.
  • 16. The Origins of Enlightenment Notes on the State of Virginia. • Jefferson’s only book. • Written to attack the theory of degeneration put forward by French scientist Buffon. Buffon argued that all living things degenerate in the new world due to a variety of conditions. Plants and animals (including humans) smaller and weaker. • Jefferson attacked this theory. Why? – Buffon wrong and Jefferson knew it. – If believed the theory would hurt immigration. – Implied inferiority of America and Americans.
  • 17. The Origins of Enlightenment • Jefferson makes lengthy lists and tables in book with measurements to show degeneration not valid. He made comparisons between conditions in Europe and America, and showed mostly similarities. Later sent a mastodon to Buffon in Europe. • Spoke highly of Natives. Had clearly studied them and their behavior. Knew much about their language.
  • 18. The Origins of Enlightenment Student of science • Probably only US President to ever read Principia. Widely read and studied in other scientific works. • Large collection of works of science in his library. • Kept correspondence with scientists from around the world. • Exceptional student of agriculture; inventor of better form of plow. • President of American Philosophical Society- largely scientific organization founded by Franklin. • Recorded temp. and barometric pressure every day for 50 years.
  • 19. “Must Read” Books of the Time
  • 20. The Origins of Enlightenment Philosophic: • Most crucial to understanding the American Revolution: –John Locke »State of Nature »Natural Rights »Consent of the Governed »Liberty
  • 21. John Locke (1632-1704) Letter on Toleration, 1689 Two Treatises of Government, 1690 Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 1693 The Reasonableness of Christianity, 1695
  • 22. John Locke’s Philosophy (I) The individual must become a “rational creature.” Virtue can be learned and practiced. Human beings possess free will. - they should be prepared for freedom. - obedience should be out of conviction, not out of fear. Legislators owe their power to a contract with the people. Neither kings nor wealth are divinely ordained.
  • 23. John Locke’s Philosophy (II) There are certain natural rights that are endowed by God to all human beings. - life, liberty, property! The doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings was nonsense. He favored a republic as the best form of government.
  • 24. The Philosophe polymathic- broad knowledge autonomous- beholden to no one. sociable- worked with other philosophes. moral obligation - improve society. - find the most just and efficient “systems.” (economic, political, social)
  • 25. The American “Philosophes” John Adams Thomas (1745-1826) Ben Franklin Jefferson (1706-1790) (1743-1826) …...…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…………...
  • 26. What is “Enlightenment?” Reason Traditions & Logic and Superstitions rationalism nostalgia for the empiricism past tolerance organized skepticism religions Deism irrationalism emotionalism
  • 27. Religion and Science as Partners • The Enlightenment and Great Awakening combine to EMPOWER citizens. If people can control their salvation, and can control their lives through education, then they can, and should, control their politics. Following the arbitrary rules of a king does not follow reason. People should be able to control their government. All people, not just an aristocracy should have a say in the government- this is a natural right. • All of these issues, created by the ENLIGHTENMENT and GREAT AWAKENING, helped create the foundation for the American Revolution.