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Scientific revolution and enlightenment essay questions

Locke also argued that man was born good, not depraved, and equal. In his Two Treatises of Government , Locke attacked the divine right of kings, thereby contradicting the ideas of Hobbes. Locke said that the sovereignty of the state lay within the people and that the people possessed unalienable rights, called natural rights. Locke went even further by saying that the people have a right, if not an obligation, to rebel or revolt if the government were to infringe upon those rights.

In addition, Locke advocated freedom of religion and separation of church and state. Locke had a profound influence on the development of the United States Constitution and the government of the United States. The thinkers of the Enlightenment regarded Locke, along with Newton, as one of the greatest European minds of all time.

It provides a fantastic glimpse into the world of Voltaire, and it is quite entertaining. In addition, college representatives who do interviews love to hear students discuss their high school readings lists when they include books like Candide. Pierre Bayle —Pierre Bayle, a French philosopher and skeptic, led the way for skepticism. Born a Protestant, Bayle converted to Catholicism and then back to Protestantism.


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His works, the most famous of which was Historical and Critical Dictionary, attacked superstition, religious dogma, and religious tradition. He also attacked traditional religious heroes like David of the Bible. Bayle believed that Christianity and morality did not necessarily go hand in hand. Bayle also argued against religious intolerance, probably in reaction to Louis XIV. Bernard de Fontenelle —Fontenelle was a French scholar who knew a great deal about science. For several years, he served as secretary for the French Royal Academy of Science.

Fontenelle is best remembered for his book Plurality ofWorlds. Written as a conversation between a man and woman sitting under the night sky, Plurality made the world of science accessible to non-scientists by integrating science with literature. Fontenelle downplayed the importance of religion and the Church, thus contributing to the skepticism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This French writer produced some of the most important works of the Enlightenment. His early work Persian Letters satirized and criticized French politics and social practices. It was written as a collection of letters between two aristocratic Persians who had traveled to Europe and discussed what they had seen.

Montesquieu chose this manner of writing to avoid persecution for his statements. Montesquieu also dealt with the philosophy of history in his Thoughts on the Causes of the Greatness and Downfall of the Romans In , he produced his most famous writings, The Spirit of Laws. In this book, Montesquieu examined the republic, monarchy, and despotism. He advocated a balance of power within the government to protect and preserve individual freedoms. Voltaire —Francois Marie Arouet assumed the name Voltaire for his writings.

Voltaire may have been the greatest of all the philosophes. After that journey, Voltaire forever preferred England to his native France. Although Voltaire received a Jesuit education, he despised the Catholic Church. In fact, he disapproved of all organized religion.


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  7. Voltaire was a deist who saw organized religion as oppressive. He voiced this opinion in the wake of the Lisbon earthquake in by publishing his greatest work, Candide, in In Candide, Voltaire tried to show the evils of the Church and of organized religion. Through this work, he contended that individuals should seek peace within themselves instead of in a set of beliefs or doctrines. In , Voltaire published his Treatise on Toleration, in which he eloquently pleaded for religious toleration.

    The authority of phenomena

    He believed in freedom of thought and respect for all, and he used his writings to champion these ideals. David Hume —David Hume was a Scottish historian and philosopher who advocated skepticism and empiricism. He said that careful observation of human experiences would lead to the knowledge of human nature. Hume also argued against the existence of miracles. During his lifetime, Rousseau managed to alienate himself from friends and other philosophers like Hume and Voltaire. Rousseau developed the idea that man in the state of nature, or as primitive man, was morally superior to modern civilized man.

    Rousseau argued that modern man had become corrupt by art, science, and modern institutions and innovations. In , Rousseau published The Social Contract in which he said that man agreed to be ruled by creating a sort of social contract between the government and the governed. Rousseau said that in this relationship, the individual should submit to the general will, or the will of the community, in order to be free. Rousseau downplayed individualism and said that the individual was part of the greater community.

    In Rousseau also published Emile, another book that created a stir among his contemporaries. In Emile, Rousseau told the story of the education of a young boy named Emile. Rousseau also suggested that children be treated like children and not like adults. Because of his view of emotions over reason, Rousseau found himself at odds with Voltaire. Denis Diderot —Diderot was a French writer of novels, essays, plays, and criticisms. He was asked to work on a French translation of the English Cyclopaedia.

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    Diderot enlisted the help of some the greatest contemporary writers like Voltaire and Montesquieu. Diderot hoped these volumes of information would change the way people thought. Several of his volumes were banned across Europe and included in the Index of Prohibited Books. Catherine the Great of Russia, on the other hand, financed some of the work by Diderot. Kant said that thinkers should be allowed to express themselves through writing and that enlightenment would follow when that came to pass.

    The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment Compared

    Adam Smith —Adam Smith, once a professor in Glasgow, emerged as the most important and influential economists of the Enlightenment. The Scottish Smith met with a group of economists called physiocrats on the Continent and was heavily influenced by their ideas. He adopted much of their ideology that maintains that economics is based on natural law, wealth, and order.

    In this book, he advocated the abolition of mercantilism and all government interference in economics. Smith preferred a laissez-faire economic policy, one in which the government takes a hands-off economic approach. Smith believed that individuals who were left alone to invest and spend on their own would act as if an invisible hand is leading them.

    This invisible hand would lead them, according to Smith, to act in the best interest of everyone. In Wealth of Nations, Smith created a classic economic text that is still used and studied by Economics students today. Immanuel Kant —The German philosopher Kant has been called the most influential modern philosopher. He examined in these books the nature and basis of knowledge. This concept is that humans possess an innate morality, which compels a man to act in any given situation the way one would want others to act in that same situation.

    Kant used this imperative to support the existence of God.

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    He realized this could not be proved, but he still accepted it. He also accepted rationalism and reason. Edward Gibbon —Gibbon was the greatest English historian of the Enlightenment. Use this chronology to begin to frame the big picture.

    Suggested Essay Topics

    Chronologies are helpful when you are trying to see how a story unfolds; in this case, the story is that of the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment. He painted many religious scenes and portrayed even saints and angels as sensual nude figures. His brilliant music was characterized by its ornate fashion. These questions are for review purposes only. The purpose of the review questions is not to predict the questions that will be on the AP exam.

    Why are certain people slaves and other people not slaves? Why do certain people in that world have a right to own these other people? And so this was a very controversial idea, challenging some of these fundamental notions of who should rule, who has the right to rule, and to what degree should people exert control over one another, so given these challenging notions of the Enlightenment, and John Locke was only one of the actors who would figure prominently in this roughly year period, it's no surprise that as you get into the late s and early s, you have a whole string of revolutions, especially in the Americas, to a large degree inspired by the ideas of the Enlightenment, things like life, liberty, health, in the United States Declaration of Independence, these things are cited.

    During the French Revolution, these things are cited. In the various revolutions in Latin America, these ideas are cited. Now one of the reasons why the Enlightenment came about when it did, not only did we have new tools of thinking and the opportunity to challenge notions, but it might have been that society now had the responsibility to think a little bit deeper about these ideas because it was getting more and more powers through the scientific revolution. And those powers were becoming even more significant when that science was applied during the Industrial Revolution.