People and SocietyNew views on people and life during the Enlightenment
Views on people and society before the Enlightenment • Most leaders were absolute monarchs - kings who held all the power - had little respect for the average person. • Religious leaders told people that the purpose of this life was to do good deeds in order to get to heaven. Many aspects of life had religious ties. • The average person had no say in government or the creation of laws. • Only wealthy men had access to a good education. • Children were viewed as small adults. • Women were seen as inferior to men.
Thomas Hobbes• Thomas Hobbes was an Enlightenment thinker who had a very negative view of humanity.• He thought humans were basically beasts and needed to be controlled by a strong government.• Hobbes believed if man was left to his own devices he would kill, steal, and destroy civilization.
John Locke • John Locke had a very different view of humans. He thought people were generally good and deserved to have more rights and freedoms. • Locke believed everybody deserved to have their natural rights - life, liberty, and property - protected.
Jean - Jacques Rosseau• Rousseau believed that people werent born good or bad, but who we become was determined by society.• Rousseau also advocated that children be loved and cared for and that every male regardless of social status have the opportunity to get an education.
Denis Diderot • Diderot believed that man could be shaped and molded by his surroundings. • He believed the church and state should be separated. • Diderot spent much of his life putting together the Encyclopedie - an encyclopedia of the various ideas and information from other Enlightenment thinkers.
Voltaire• Voltaire believed that people should have freedom of speech and that they should be allowed to criticize religion and government/leaders without being punished.• Voltaire also believed that people should be tolerant of others beliefs even if they disagreed with them, and no one should be punished for their beliefs.
Key Points• Enlightenment thinkers had a lot of ideas that were different from the thoughts of the Middle Ages.• Some thinkers had a positive view of mankind while others had a negative view.• New ideas about children and education emerged.• Diderot and Voltaire as well as other Enlightenment thinkers believed that church and state/government should be separated. They believed that government should be secular - having no religious affiliations/connections.• Many Enlightenment thinkers believed the common person should have more rights and freedoms.• More focus on the individual person rather than society as a whole.