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Enlightenment: French & Latin American Revolutions
The enlightenment was an 18th century European movement in which thinkers attempted to apply the principles of reason & the scientific method to all aspects of society.
Role of reason & logic: Newton used reason to explain the laws governing nature. The philosophes, French social critics, advocated reason which could be applies to all aspects of life.
Reason: Truth could be discovered through logic
Nature: natural laws of motion, economics, politics
Happiness: wanted well-being on earth & believed it was possible, not only in the hereafter (after Earthly misery.)
Progress: a scientific approach would perfect society & humankind
Liberty: through reason French society could be set free as the Glorious Revolution & Bill of Rights did in England.
Despot means absolute ruler. An enlightened despot was a monarch who was convinced to rule justly and respect people’s rights. They reformed.
Frederick the Great – Prussia: He called himself: “The first servant of the state.”
Joseph II – Austria: Abolished serfdom & ordered that peasants be paid for their labor with cash.
Catherine the Great – Russia: modernized & reformed law. Allowed religious toleration, abolished torture & capital punishment
Voltaire advocated tolerance, reason, freedom of religious belief, & freedom of speech. “Crush the evil thing!”
Principles of Capitalism by Adam Smith
1776: The Wealth of Nations: Defended the idea of a free economy, or free markets. Economic liberty guaranteed economic progress. Government need not interfere in the economy. If individuals freely followed their self-interest, the world would be an orderly, progressive place.