Dark Ages/Medieval times
400- 1200 AD
• Not much recorded history.
• Growth of mankind limited as people were
bound physically and mentally by their “place”
• The church had become as powerful or more
powerful than the king and Government.
A Political, Economic, and Military system where people were bound
to the land they were born, and others exchanged their services to
protect and serve the king.
King and Queen
Great Lords Ladies
The Middle Ages as a historical period, has clearly defined dates agreed on by historians
BEGAN in 476 (fall of the Roman empire in the West) and ended on 1492 (discovery of the
New World by Columbus).
The renaissance and Enlightenment were intellectual and cultural movements in the Arts
and Sciences, and may NOT be historical periods, so there are no universally agreed on
dates for their beginning and end among historians.
Renaissance BEGAN as 1291 (first known works by Giotto); military historians would put
the start date much later,1453 and the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks, and the
ENDED with the Hundred Years War between England and France, the publication of
'Discourse on the Method' (1637) by Descartes, or his 'Meditations on First Philosophy'
(1641) or in 1688 with the Glorious Revolution in England.
The same is true of the Enlightenment BEGAN with either of the 2 works by Descartes
mentioned above, some as the Restoration in England (1660) or the Glorious Revolution.
Some see the Enlightenment as lasting from 1700 - 1800, 1715 - 1789, 1715 - 1815, or
combinations of any of these.
Middle Ages is 476 - 1492.
Renaissance any of the years 1291- 1641
Enlightenment 1688 - 1789
“Out of the Dark Ages”
Renaissance --> Enlightenment
• Also known as the age of Exploration and the
advancements in the Arts.
• Paved the way for the Scientific Revolution 1500-1600.
Discoveries/inventions (compass, clock, blood pressure,
microscope, heliocentric theory, etc..)
Renaissance (1300- 1500 AD)
• Renaissance “ rebirth” facilitated by the
invention of the printing press.
• Okay for people to think again, use reason to
figure things out.
• 1520 AD, Martin Luther’s break from the
Catholic Church and the medieval dogma, --> 95
theses --> Protestant Reformation
Renaissance: movements following the Middle
ages that centered on revival of interest in the
classical learning of Greece and Rome. The
word Renaissance comes from the Latin Word
renasci, meaning “to be born again.”
• The Renaissance began in Italian
cities because of their access to
• Trade brought wealth to Italy
The Renaissance was a time where…
• Classical Greco-Roman ideas were
–These ideas were preserved
through the middle ages by the
I. A Cultural Explosion in Europe
• Started in the 1400s A.D.
• Europeans became wealthier, mainly through increased
• This gave them the ability to spend money on culture:
art, architecture, books, drama, science, exploration,
• Europeans increasingly felt that they might be able to
rebuild advanced civilizations to match those of the
ancient Greeks and Romans (re – birth)!
II. Age of Exploration
When the world became interconnected
The New Daring of European Renaissance Thinkers Led
to Amazing Accomplishments
• Most notably, it led to the discovery of both a ‘New
World’ and a set of scientific laws explaining the physical
• Think about the importance of each:
– Europeans discovered two whole continents not even known by
their Greek and Roman idols – the size of the world was suddenly
twice as large
– The careful use of a scientific method of thinking based on reason
led scientists to ‘rewrite’ the structure of the universe, solving lots
of mysteries that had always puzzled humanity
• Humans now had a nearly perfect understanding of all motion on earth
and in the heavens
• Clearly, humans were opening a new era of limitless
An age of reborn interest in the arts,
education, and the classical culture
of ancient Greece and Rome.
• Wealthy Patrons supported the arts
• Humanism spread throughout
IV. Printing Press-
invented in 1448 by Johann Gutenberg.
• Arguably the greatest invention of all time.
• First major text reproduced was the Holy Bible
• With more people reading the bible not
dependent on priests interpretation.
• Martin Luther questioned the authority of the
Pope in 1520.
• Started the Protestant Movement.
• Printing Press
•1. Increase in literacy rates
•2. Secular (World) ideas spread
•3. Books are circulated to public
–Ex. Shakespeare’s sonnets
V. The Church
Many of the new ideas and
enlightened thinkers during the
Renaissance period challenged
the absolute authority of the
• Martin Luther – A German Monk
–Challenges the practices of the Roman
–Wrote the 95 Theses to criticize indulgences.
–Believed the Bible should be the authority of
–Believed people are right with God through
faith – not works.
Protestant Ideas Spread
• Martin Luther rejects the pope’s
• As a result, Protestant sects spread
• King Henry VIII of England breaks
away from the Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church threatened
Luther to take back his ideas and
criticism of the Church.
The Church also challenged several other
VI. Scientific Revolution:
A period from the 1500’s and
1600’s where many scientific
theories and discoveries were
Johannes Kepler: (1600)
He proved mathematically that the
planets rotate around the Sun and that
Copernicus was right.
Middle Age theory that the sun
rotated around the earth and
was the center of the universe.
(1530) Polish churchman and
astronomer who questioned that
the earth was the center of the
universe and came up with the
Theory that the earth rotates
around the sun.
(1690) Discovered the laws
of motion, gravity, inertia
and invented calculus. He
proposed that these were
natural laws that existed
Mathematics and logic
was more important
than just observation.
Reason could prove
“I think therefore I am”.
Galileo Galilei was threatened to be killed by
the Church if he did not take back his
Age old beliefs, like the earth being the
center of the universe, were proven wrong
through inventions like the telescope.
(1630) Saw the moons
around Jupiter and
supported the Heliocentric
theory. He published his
findings but was persecuted
by the Church and
For Many Europeans Impressed by their
European Social Systems Seemed Antiquated (old or
• These thinkers wanted to find ‘a Newton for the
– In other words, a thinker who might unlock the secret
natural laws of harmonious government
• This movement was known as the Enlightenment
The age of reason, where people began
to apply scientific laws and reason to
human behavior, government, society,
economics, and religion.
The power of human reason
Self-confidence and Individuality
The cultural effect of the Enlightenment
• Spreading knowledge and free public discussion
• Wrote for a larger audience, because of the
expansion of literacy Printing Press
• Created a public debate of issues
• Encyclopedia published (mid 1700’s) that
challenged the church, government, torture ,
taxes and war.
• “Enlightened Despotism” an educated Monarchy
that governed by the principles of the
enlightenment. (Voltaire, Montesquieu,
• Apply reason to explain Human Nature and
Politics --> Philosophes (thinkers)
Time of intellectual debate and growth
Increased study of individual rights (all
should have individual rights)
These Ideas inspired the American &
VII. European Governments at the Time of the
Enlightenment Were Primarily Absolute Monarchies
• The power of these gov’s came from Divine Right
• This often seemed random or absurd to thinkers familiar with the
accomplishments of human reason in other fields
– In England, over the space of two hundred years, kings were Catholic, then one
became a Protestant, then his heir became Catholic, then Protestant again, then
Catholic, then the people killed the king because they didn’t like him and their was
a period of military rule, then another king took power who was Protestant, then a
Catholic took over, and then people got rid of their king again (without killing him,
this time) and got a Protestant again.
• So, could God not make up his mind about what religion he wanted England to be?
Doesn’t this seem like an absurd way to run society, especially a society that can cross
the oceans and describe the cosmos?
A Political Change in England
The Magna Carta was signed by King John
This document limited the powers of the
The Magna Carta would later be used to
guarantee rights to all people.
The Parliament was made up
government officials who represented
The Parliament would later help balance
the power of the King
Petition of Right in 1628
King had to follow same laws as citizens
Can only be taxed with representation
Can only be put in prison with a lawful
English Bill of Rights
Stated the king would share
power with Parliament
Stated the rights granted to all
A quick turn around or change in a
government system or organization.
American & French Revolutions
inspired others to seek independence
(English) He believed war
was unnecessary if you had
a strong leader who had
total power to keep law
and order or a social
“People were wicked”
(English) All people
have “natural rights”
of life, liberty and
was to protect these, if
it didn’t overthrow it.
Wrote Two Treatises of
should protect the natural
rights of life, liberty, &
Government based on
consent of people
French writer who
used humor to target
the clergy and
and free speech.
French lawyer who
fought for the
separation of powers
• Wrote the Spirit of
have a separation
should have checks
Believed man was born
good and society (gov. &
religion) corrupted him.
The “Noble Savage” or
man in nature was
• Wrote The Social
• Believed the
individuals’ rights by
Published volumes of
writings he called
was very similar to
1743-1826• 1776 –Thomas Jefferson
Drafts The Declaration of
• We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men
are created equal, that they
are endowed by their
Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that
among these are Life,
Liberty and the pursuit of
• Later became the 3rd
President of the United
• Person most accredited
for the actual writing of
the US Constitution
The power of the
government must come
from the people.
• 4th President of US
• South America's greatest
• His victories over the
independence for Bolivia,
Ecuador, Peru, and
• “The Liberator”
• Steps toward building the democracies that exist today.
Basic rights for man.
• Set up the Revolutionary period:
Glorious Revolution 1688
American Revolution 1776
French Revolution 1789
Can people be trusted to govern themselves? What is
the role of government?