The Enlightenment (also known as the
Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment or the Age
of Reason; in French: le Siècle des Lumières, lit. '"the
Century of Lights"'; and in German: Aufklärung, "Enlightenment")
was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the
world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century, "The Century of
The Enlightenment included a range of ideas centered on reason as the
primary source of authority and legitimacy and came to advance ideals
like liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional
government and separation of church and state. In France, the
central doctrines of the Enlightenment philosophers were individual
liberty and religious tolerance, in opposition to an absolute monarchy
and the fixed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. The Enlightenment
was marked by an emphasis on the scientific method and reductionism,
along with increased questioning of religious orthodoxy—an attitude
captured by the phrase Sapere aude, "Dare to know".
French historians traditionally place the Enlightenment between 1715
(the year that
Louis XIV died) and 1789 (the beginning of the French
Revolution). Some recent historians begin the period in the 1620s,
with the start of the scientific revolution. Les philosophes
(French for "the philosophers") of the period widely circulated
their ideas through meetings at scientific academies, Masonic lodges,
literary salons, coffee houses and in printed books and pamphlets. The
ideas of the Enlightenment undermined the authority of the monarchy
and the Church and paved the way for the political revolutions of the
18th and 19th centuries. A variety of 19th-century movements,
including liberalism and neo-classicism, trace their intellectual
heritage back to the Enlightenment.
Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment was preceded by and closely associated with
the scientific revolution. Earlier philosophers whose work
influenced the Enlightenment included Bacon, Descartes, Locke, and
Spinoza. The major figures of the Enlightenment included Beccaria,
Diderot, Hume, Kant, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Adam Smith, and Voltaire.
Some European rulers, including Catherine II of Russia, Joseph II of
Austria and Frederick II of Prussia, tried to apply Enlightenment
thought on religious and political tolerance, which became known as
Benjamin Franklin visited Europe
repeatedly and contributed actively to the scientific and political
debates there and brought the newest ideas back to Philadelphia.
Thomas Jefferson closely followed European ideas and later
incorporated some of the ideals of the Enlightenment into the
Declaration of Independence (1776). One of his peers, James Madison,
incorporated these ideals into the
United States Constitution
United States Constitution during
its framing in 1787.
The most influential publication of the Enlightenment was the
Encyclopédie (Encyclopaedia). Published between 1751 and 1772 in
thirty-five volumes, it was compiled by Diderot, d'Alembert (until
1759) and a team of 150 scientists and philosophers. It helped spread
the ideas of the Enlightenment across Europe and beyond. Other
landmark publications were Voltaire's Dictionnaire philosophique
(Philosophical Dictionary; 1764) and
Letters on the English
Letters on the English (1733);
Discourse on Inequality
Discourse on Inequality (1754) and The Social Contract
(1762); Adam Smith's
The Wealth of Nations
The Wealth of Nations (1776); and Montesquieu's
The Spirit of the Laws
The Spirit of the Laws (1748). The ideas of the Enlightenment played a
major role in inspiring the French Revolution, which began in 1789.
After the Revolution, the Enlightenment was followed by the
intellectual movement known as Romanticism.
3 Sociology, economics and law
4.1 Theories of government
4.2 Enlightened absolutism
4.3 French Revolution
5.1 Separation of church and state
6 National variations
6.1 Great Britain
6.1.3 American colonies
6.2 German states
7.2 Time span
7.3 Modern study
8 Society and culture
8.1 Social and cultural implications in the arts
9 Dissemination of ideas
9.1 The Republic of Letters
9.2 The book industry
9.3 Natural history
9.4 Scientific and literary journals
9.5 Encyclopedias and dictionaries
9.6 Popularization of science
9.7 Schools and universities
9.8 Learned academies
9.11 Debating societies
9.12 Masonic lodges
10 Important intellectuals
11 See also
13 Further reading
13.1 Reference and surveys
13.2 Specialty studies
13.3 Primary sources
14 External links
René Descartes' rationalist philosophy laid the foundation for
enlightenment thinking. His attempt to construct the sciences on a
secure metaphysical foundation was not as successful as his method of
doubt applied in philosophic areas leading to a dualistic doctrine of
mind and matter. His skepticism was refined by John Locke's Essay
Concerning Human Understanding (1690) and David Hume's writings in the
1740s. His dualism was challenged by Spinoza's uncompromising
assertion of the unity of matter in his Tractatus (1670) and Ethics
These laid down two distinct lines of Enlightenment thought: first,
the moderate variety, following Descartes, Locke and Christian Wolff,
which sought accommodation between reform and the traditional systems
of power and faith, and second, the radical enlightenment, inspired by
the philosophy of Spinoza, advocating democracy, individual liberty,
freedom of expression and eradication of religious authority.
The moderate variety tended to be deistic, whereas the radical
tendency separated the basis of morality entirely from theology. Both
lines of thought were eventually opposed by a conservative
Counter-Enlightenment, which sought a return to faith.
German philosopher Immanuel Kant
In the mid-18th century, Paris became the center of an explosion of
philosophic and scientific activity challenging traditional doctrines
and dogmas. The philosophic movement was led by
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who argued for a society based upon reason
rather than faith and Catholic doctrine, for a new civil order based
on natural law, and for science based on experiments and observation.
The political philosopher
Montesquieu introduced the idea of a
separation of powers in a government, a concept which was
enthusiastically adopted by the authors of the United States
Constitution. While the
Philosophes of the French Enlightenment were
not revolutionaries and many were members of the nobility, their ideas
played an important part in undermining the legitimacy of the Old
Regime and shaping the French Revolution.
Francis Hutcheson, a moral philosopher, described the utilitarian and
consequentialist principle that virtue is that which provides, in his
words, "the greatest happiness for the greatest numbers". Much of what
is incorporated in the scientific method (the nature of knowledge,
evidence, experience and causation) and some modern attitudes towards
the relationship between science and religion were developed by his
David Hume and Adam Smith. Hume became a major figure
in the skeptical philosophical and empiricist traditions of
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) tried to reconcile rationalism and
religious belief, individual freedom and political authority, as well
as map out a view of the public sphere through private and public
reason. Kant's work continued to shape German thought and indeed
all of European philosophy, well into the 20th century. Mary
Wollstonecraft was one of England's earliest feminist
philosophers. She argued for a society based on reason and that
women as well as men should be treated as rational beings. She is best
known for her work
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1791).
Science in the Age of Enlightenment
Science played an important role in Enlightenment discourse and
thought. Many Enlightenment writers and thinkers had backgrounds in
the sciences and associated scientific advancement with the overthrow
of religion and traditional authority in favour of the development of
free speech and thought. Scientific progress during the Enlightenment
included the discovery of carbon dioxide (fixed air) by the chemist
Joseph Black, the argument for deep time by the geologist James Hutton
and the invention of the steam engine by James Watt. The
experiments of Lavoisier were used to create the first modern chemical
plants in Paris and the experiments of the Montgolfier Brothers
enabled them to launch the first manned flight in a hot-air balloon on
21 November 1783 from the Château de la Muette, near the Bois de
Broadly speaking, Enlightenment science greatly valued empiricism and
rational thought and was embedded with the Enlightenment ideal of
advancement and progress. The study of science, under the heading of
natural philosophy, was divided into physics and a conglomerate
grouping of chemistry and natural history, which included anatomy,
biology, geology, mineralogy and zoology. As with most
Enlightenment views, the benefits of science were not seen
Rousseau criticized the sciences for distancing man from
nature and not operating to make people happier.
the Enlightenment was dominated by scientific societies and academies,
which had largely replaced universities as centres of scientific
research and development. Societies and academies were also the
backbone of the maturation of the scientific profession. Another
important development was the popularization of science among an
increasingly literate population.
Philosophes introduced the public to
many scientific theories, most notably through the
the popularization of
Voltaire and Émilie du
Châtelet. Some historians have marked the 18th century as a drab
period in the history of science. However, the century saw
significant advancements in the practice of medicine, mathematics and
physics; the development of biological taxonomy; a new understanding
of magnetism and electricity; and the maturation of chemistry as a
discipline, which established the foundations of modern chemistry.
Scientific academies and societies grew out of the Scientific
Revolution as the creators of scientific knowledge in contrast to the
scholasticism of the university. During the Enlightenment, some
societies created or retained links to universities, but contemporary
sources distinguished universities from scientific societies by
claiming that the university's utility was in the transmission of
knowledge while societies functioned to create knowledge. As the
role of universities in institutionalized science began to diminish,
learned societies became the cornerstone of organized science.
Official scientific societies were chartered by the state in order to
provide technical expertise. Most societies were granted
permission to oversee their own publications, control the election of
new members and the administration of the society. After 1700, a
tremendous number of official academies and societies were founded in
Europe and by 1789 there were over seventy official scientific
societies. In reference to this growth,
Bernard de Fontenelle
Bernard de Fontenelle coined
the term "the Age of Academies" to describe the 18th century.
The influence of science also began appearing more commonly in poetry
and literature during the Enlightenment. Some poetry became infused
with scientific metaphor and imagery, while other poems were written
directly about scientific topics.
Sir Richard Blackmore
Sir Richard Blackmore committed the
Newtonian system to verse in Creation, a Philosophical Poem in Seven
Books (1712). After Newton's death in 1727, poems were composed in his
honour for decades. James Thomson (1700–1748) penned his "Poem
to the Memory of Newton", which mourned the loss of Newton, but also
praised his science and legacy.
Sociology, economics and law
Cesare Beccaria, father of classical criminal theory (1738–1794)
Hume and other
Scottish Enlightenment thinkers developed a "science of
man", which was expressed historically in works by authors
including James Burnett, Adam Ferguson, John Millar and William
Robertson, all of whom merged a scientific study of how humans behaved
in ancient and primitive cultures with a strong awareness of the
determining forces of modernity. Modern sociology largely originated
from this movement and Hume's philosophical concepts that directly
James Madison (and thus the U.S. Constitution) and as
popularised by Dugald Stewart, would be the basis of classical
Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations, often considered
the first work on modern economics as it had an immediate impact on
British economic policy that continues into the 21st century. It
was immediately preceded and influenced by Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot,
Baron de Laune drafts of Reflections on the Formation and Distribution
of Wealth (Paris, 1766). Smith acknowledged indebtedness and possibly
was the original English translator.
Cesare Beccaria, a jurist, criminologist, philosopher and politician
and one of the great Enlightenment writers, became famous for his
masterpiece Of Crimes and Punishments (1764), later translated into 22
languages, which condemned torture and the death penalty and was a
founding work in the field of penology and the Classical School of
criminology by promoting criminal justice. Another prominent
intellectual was Francesco Mario Pagano, who wrote important studies
such as Saggi Politici (Political Essays, 1783), one of the major
works of the Enlightenment in Naples; and Considerazioni sul processo
criminale (Considerations on the criminal trial, 1787), which
established him as an international authority on criminal law.
The Enlightenment has long been hailed as the foundation of modern
Western political and intellectual culture. The Enlightenment
brought political modernization to the West, in terms of introducing
democratic values and institutions and the creation of modern, liberal
democracies. This thesis has been widely accepted by Anglophone
scholars and has been reinforced by the large-scale studies by Robert
Roy Porter and most recently by Jonathan Israel.
Theories of government
John Locke, one of the most influential Enlightenment thinkers,
based his governance philosophy in social contract theory, a subject
that permeated Enlightenment political thought. The English
Thomas Hobbes ushered in this new debate with his work
Leviathan in 1651. Hobbes also developed some of the fundamentals of
European liberal thought: the right of the individual; the natural
equality of all men; the artificial character of the political order
(which led to the later distinction between civil society and the
state); the view that all legitimate political power must be
"representative" and based on the consent of the people; and a liberal
interpretation of law which leaves people free to do whatever the law
does not explicitly forbid.
Like other Enlightenment philosophers,
Rousseau was critical of the
Atlantic slave trade
Both Locke and
Rousseau developed social contract theories in Two
Treatises of Government and Discourse on Inequality, respectively.
While quite different works, Locke, Hobbes and
Rousseau agreed that a
social contract, in which the government's authority lies in the
consent of the governed, is necessary for man to live in civil
society. Locke defines the state of nature as a condition in which
humans are rational and follow natural law, in which all men are born
equal and with the right to life, liberty and property. However, when
one citizen breaks the Law of Nature both the transgressor and the
victim enter into a state of war, from which it is virtually
impossible to break free. Therefore, Locke said that individuals enter
into civil society to protect their natural rights via an "unbiased
judge" or common authority, such as courts, to appeal to.
Contrastingly, Rousseau's conception relies on the supposition that
"civil man" is corrupted, while "natural man" has no want he cannot
fulfill himself. Natural man is only taken out of the state of nature
when the inequality associated with private property is
Rousseau said that people join into civil society via
the social contract to achieve unity while preserving individual
freedom. This is embodied in the sovereignty of the general will, the
moral and collective legislative body constituted by citizens.
Locke is known for his statement that individuals have a right to
Liberty and Property" and his belief that the natural right to
property is derived from labor. Tutored by Locke, Anthony
Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury wrote in 1706: "There is a
mighty Light which spreads its self over the world especially in those
two free Nations of England and Holland; on whom the Affairs of Europe
now turn". Locke's theory of natural rights has influenced many
political documents, including the United States Declaration of
Independence and the French National Constituent Assembly's
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
The philosophes argued that the establishment of a contractual basis
of rights would lead to the market mechanism and capitalism, the
scientific method, religious tolerance and the organization of states
into self-governing republics through democratic means. In this view,
the tendency of the philosophes in particular to apply rationality to
every problem is considered the essential change.
Though much of Enlightenment political thought was dominated by social
contract theorists, both
David Hume and
Adam Ferguson criticized this
camp. Hume's essay Of the Original Contract argues that governments
derived from consent are rarely seen and civil government is grounded
in a ruler's habitual authority and force. It is precisely because of
the ruler's authority over-and-against the subject, that the subject
tacitly consents and Hume says that the subjects would "never imagine
that their consent made him sovereign", rather the authority did
so. Similarly, Ferguson did not believe citizens built the state,
rather polities grew out of social development. In his 1767 An Essay
on the History of Civil Society, Ferguson uses the four stages of
progress, a theory that was very popular in Scotland at the time, to
explain how humans advance from a hunting and gathering society to a
commercial and civil society without "signing" a social contract.
Rousseau and Locke's social contract theories rest on the
presupposition of natural rights, which are not a result of law or
custom, but are things that all men have in pre-political societies
and are therefore universal and inalienable. The most famous natural
right formulation comes from
John Locke in his Second Treatise, when
he introduces the state of nature. For Locke, the law of nature is
grounded on mutual security or the idea that one cannot infringe on
another's natural rights, as every man is equal and has the same
inalienable rights. These natural rights include perfect equality and
freedom, as well as the right to preserve life and property. Locke
also argued against slavery on the basis that enslaving yourself goes
against the law of nature because you cannot surrender your own
rights, your freedom is absolute and no one can take it from you.
Additionally, Locke argues that one person cannot enslave another
because it is morally reprehensible, although he introduces a caveat
by saying that enslavement of a lawful captive in time of war would
not go against one's natural rights.
Main article: Enlightened absolutism
The Marquis of Pombal, as the head of the government of Portugal,
implemented sweeping socio-economic reforms (abolished slavery,
significantly weakened the Inquisition, created the basis for secular
public schools and restructured the tax system), effectively ruling as
a powerful, progressive dictator
The leaders of the Enlightenment were not especially democratic, as
they more often look to absolute monarchs as the key to imposing
reforms designed by the intellectuals.
Voltaire despised democracy and
said the absolute monarch must be enlightened and must act as dictated
by reason and justice – in other words, be a "philosopher-king".
Denmark's minister Johann Struensee, a social reformer, was publicly
executed in 1772
In several nations, rulers welcomed leaders of the Enlightenment at
court and asked them to help design laws and programs to reform the
system, typically to build stronger states. These rulers are called
"enlightened despots" by historians. They included Frederick the
Great of Prussia,
Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great of Russia, Leopold II of Tuscany
and Joseph II of Austria. Joseph was over-enthusiastic, announcing
many reforms that had little support so that revolts broke out and his
regime became a comedy of errors and nearly all his programs were
reversed. Senior ministers Pombal in Portugal and Johann Friedrich
Struensee in Denmark also governed according to Enlightenment ideals.
In Poland, the model constitution of 1791 expressed Enlightenment
ideals, but was in effect for only one year before the nation was
partitioned among its neighbors. More enduring were the cultural
achievements, which created a nationalist spirit in Poland.
Frederick the Great, the king of
Prussia from 1740 to 1786, saw
himself as a leader of the Enlightenment and patronized philosophers
and scientists at his court in Berlin. Voltaire, who had been
imprisoned and maltreated by the French government, was eager to
accept Frederick's invitation to live at his palace. Frederick
explained: "My principal occupation is to combat ignorance and
prejudice ... to enlighten minds, cultivate morality, and to make
people as happy as it suits human nature, and as the means at my
The Enlightenment has been frequently linked to the French Revolution
of 1789. One view of the political changes that occurred during the
Enlightenment is that the "consent of the governed" philosophy as
delineated by Locke in
Two Treatises of Government
Two Treatises of Government (1689) represented
a paradigm shift from the old governance paradigm under feudalism
known as the "divine right of kings". In this view, the revolutions of
the late 1700s and early 1800s were caused by the fact that this
governance paradigm shift often could not be resolved peacefully and
therefore violent revolution was the result. Clearly a governance
philosophy where the king was never wrong was in direct conflict with
one whereby citizens by natural law had to consent to the acts and
rulings of their government.
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville described the
French Revolution as the
inevitable result of the radical opposition created in the 18th
century between the monarchy and the men of letters of the
Enlightenment. These men of letters constituted a sort of "substitute
aristocracy that was both all-powerful and without real power". This
illusory power came from the rise of "public opinion", born when
absolutist centralization removed the nobility and the bourgeoisie
from the political sphere. The "literary politics" that resulted
promoted a discourse of equality and was hence in fundamental
opposition to the monarchical regime. De Tocqueville "clearly
designates ... the cultural effects of transformation in the
forms of the exercise of power".
Enlightenment era religious commentary was a response to the preceding
century of religious conflict in Europe, especially the Thirty Years'
War. Theologians of the Enlightenment wanted to reform their faith
to its generally non-confrontational roots and to limit the capacity
for religious controversy to spill over into politics and warfare
while still maintaining a true faith in God. For moderate Christians,
this meant a return to simple Scripture.
John Locke abandoned the
corpus of theological commentary in favor of an "unprejudiced
examination" of the Word of
God alone. He determined the essence of
Christianity to be a belief in
Christ the redeemer and recommended
avoiding more detailed debate. In the Jefferson Bible, Thomas
Jefferson went further and dropped any passages dealing with miracles,
visitations of angels and the resurrection of Jesus after his death,
as he tried to extract the practical Christian moral code of the New
Enlightenment scholars sought to curtail the political power of
organized religion and thereby prevent another age of intolerant
Spinoza determined to remove politics from
contemporary and historical theology (e.g., disregarding Judaic
Moses Mendelssohn advised affording no political weight to
any organized religion, but instead recommended that each person
follow what they found most convincing. A good religion based in
instinctive morals and a belief in
God should not theoretically need
force to maintain order in its believers and both Mendelssohn and
Spinoza judged religion on its moral fruits, not the logic of its
A number of novel ideas about religion developed with the
Enlightenment, including deism and talk of atheism. According to
Thomas Paine, deism is the simple belief in
God the Creator, with no
reference to the Bible or any other miraculous source. Instead, the
deist relies solely on personal reason to guide his creed, which
was eminently agreeable to many thinkers of the time.
much discussed, but there were few proponents. Wilson and Reill note:
"In fact, very few enlightened intellectuals, even when they were
vocal critics of Christianity, were true atheists. Rather, they were
critics of orthodox belief, wedded rather to skepticism, deism,
vitalism, or perhaps pantheism". Some followed
Pierre Bayle and
argued that atheists could indeed be moral men. Many others like
Voltaire held that without belief in a
God who punishes evil, the
moral order of society was undermined. That is, since atheists gave
themselves to no Supreme Authority and no law and had no fear of
eternal consequences, they were far more likely to disrupt
society. Bayle (1647–1706) observed that in his day that
"prudent persons will always maintain an appearance of [religion]" and
he believed that even atheists could hold concepts of honor and go
beyond their own self-interest to create and interact in society.
Locke said that if there were no
God and no divine law, the result
would be moral anarchy: every individual "could have no law but his
own will, no end but himself. He would be a god to himself, and the
satisfaction of his own will the sole measure and end of all his
Separation of church and state
Separation of church and state
Separation of church and state and Separation of church
and state in the United States
The "Radical Enlightenment" promoted the concept of separating
church and state, an idea that is often credited to English
John Locke (1632–1704). According to his principle
of the social contract, Locke said that the government lacked
authority in the realm of individual conscience, as this was something
rational people could not cede to the government for it or others to
control. For Locke, this created a natural right in the liberty of
conscience, which he said must therefore remain protected from any
These views on religious tolerance and the importance of individual
conscience, along with the social contract, became particularly
influential in the American colonies and the drafting of the United
Thomas Jefferson called for a "wall of
separation between church and state" at the federal level. He
previously had supported successful efforts to disestablish the Church
of England in Virginia and authored the Virginia Statute for
Religious Freedom. Jefferson's political ideals were greatly
influenced by the writings of John Locke,
Francis Bacon and Isaac
Newton whom he considered the three greatest men that ever
Europe at the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, 1700
The Enlightenment took hold in most European countries, often with a
specific local emphasis. For example, in France it became associated
with anti-government and anti-Church radicalism while in Germany it
reached deep into the middle classes and where it expressed a
spiritualistic and nationalistic tone without threatening governments
or established churches. Government responses varied widely. In
France, the government was hostile and the philosophes fought against
its censorship, sometimes being imprisoned or hounded into exile. The
British government for the most part ignored the Enlightenment's
leaders in England and Scotland, although it did give
Isaac Newton a
knighthood and a very lucrative government office.
Further information: Georgian era § English Enlightenment
The very existence of an English Enlightenment has been hotly debated
by scholars. The majority of textbooks on British history make little
or no mention of an English Enlightenment. Some surveys of the entire
Enlightenment include England and others ignore it, although they do
include coverage of such major intellectuals as Joseph Addison, Edward
Gibbon, John Locke, Isaac Newton, Alexander Pope, Joshua Reynolds and
Roy Porter argues that the reason for the neglect
was the assumption that the movement was primarily French-inspired,
that it was largely a-religious or anti-clerical and it stood in
outspoken defiance to the established order. Porter admits that
after the 1720s England could claim few thinkers to equal Diderot,
Voltaire or Rousseau. Indeed, its leading intellectuals such as Edward
Edmund Burke and
Samuel Johnson were all quite
conservative and supportive of the standing order. Porter says the
reason was that Enlightenment had come early to England and had
succeeded so that the culture had accepted political liberalism,
philosophical empiricism and religious toleration of the sort that
intellectuals on the continent had to fight for against powerful odds.
Furthermore, England rejected the collectivism of the continent and
emphasized the improvement of individuals as the main goal of
One leader of the
Scottish Enlightenment was Adam Smith, the father of
modern economic science
Further information: Scottish Enlightenment
In the Scottish Enlightenment, Scotland's major cities created an
intellectual infrastructure of mutually supporting institutions such
as universities, reading societies, libraries, periodicals, museums
and masonic lodges. The Scottish network was "predominantly
liberal Calvinist, Newtonian, and 'design' oriented in character which
played a major role in the further development of the transatlantic
Enlightenment". In France,
Voltaire said that "we look to Scotland
for all our ideas of civilization". The focus of the Scottish
Enlightenment ranged from intellectual and economic matters to the
specifically scientific as in the work of William Cullen, physician
and chemist; James Anderson, an agronomist; Joseph Black, physicist
and chemist; and James Hutton, the first modern geologist.
Further information: American Enlightenment
Trumbull's Declaration of Independence
Trumbull's Declaration of Independence shows the drafting
committee presenting its work to the Congress
Several Americans, especially
Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson,
played a major role in bringing Enlightenment ideas to the New World
and in influencing British and French thinkers. Franklin was
influential for his political activism and for his advances in
physics. The cultural exchange during the Age of Enlightenment
ran in both directions across the Atlantic. Thinkers such as Paine,
Rousseau all take Native American cultural practices as
examples of natural freedom. The Americans closely followed
English and Scottish political ideas, as well as some French thinkers
such as Montesquieu. As deists, they were influenced by ideas of
John Toland (1670–1722) and Matthew Tindal (1656–1733). During the
Enlightenment there was a great emphasis upon liberty, republicanism
and religious tolerance. There was no respect for monarchy or
inherited political power. Deists reconciled science and religion by
rejecting prophecies, miracles and Biblical theology. Leading deists
Thomas Paine in The Age of
Reason and by
Thomas Jefferson in
Jefferson Bible – from which all supernatural aspects were
Further information: History of Germany § Enlightenment
Prussia took the lead among the German states in sponsoring the
political reforms that Enlightenment thinkers urged absolute rulers to
adopt. There were important movements as well in the smaller states of
Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover and the Palatinate. In each case,
Enlightenment values became accepted and led to significant political
and administrative reforms that laid the groundwork for the creation
of modern states. The princes of Saxony, for example, carried out
an impressive series of fundamental fiscal, administrative, judicial,
educational, cultural and general economic reforms. The reforms were
aided by the country's strong urban structure and influential
commercial groups and modernized pre-1789 Saxony along the lines of
classic Enlightenment principles.
Weimar’s Courtyard of the Muses, a tribute to
The Enlightenment and
Classicism depicting German poets Schiller, Wieland, Herder
Before 1750, the German upper classes looked to France for
intellectual, cultural and architectural leadership, as French was the
language of high society. By the mid-18th century, the Aufklärung
(The Enlightenment) had transformed German high culture in music,
philosophy, science and literature. Christian Wolff (1679–1754) was
the pioneer as a writer who expounded the Enlightenment to German
readers and legitimized German as a philosophic language.
Johann Gottfried von Herder
Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744–1803) broke new ground in
philosophy and poetry, as a leader of the
Sturm und Drang
Sturm und Drang movement of
Classicism (Weimarer Klassik) was a cultural
and literary movement based in Weimar that sought to establish a new
humanism by synthesizing Romantic, classical and Enlightenment ideas.
The movement (from 1772 until 1805) involved Herder as well as
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) and Friedrich
Schiller (1759–1805), a poet and historian. Herder argued that every
folk had its own particular identity, which was expressed in its
language and culture. This legitimized the promotion of German
language and culture and helped shape the development of German
nationalism. Schiller's plays expressed the restless spirit of his
generation, depicting the hero's struggle against social pressures and
the force of destiny.
German music, sponsored by the upper classes, came of age under
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), Joseph Haydn
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791).
In remote Königsberg, philosopher
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) tried
to reconcile rationalism and religious belief, individual freedom and
political authority. Kant's work contained basic tensions that would
continue to shape German thought – and indeed all of European
philosophy – well into the 20th century.
The German Enlightenment won the support of princes, aristocrats and
the middle classes and it permanently reshaped the culture.
However, there was a conservatism among the elites that warned against
going too far.
In the 1780s, Lutheran ministers
Johann Heinrich Schulz and Karl
Wilhelm Brumbey got in trouble with their preaching as they were
attacked and ridiculed by Immanuel Kant,
Wilhelm Abraham Teller
Wilhelm Abraham Teller and
others. In 1788,
Prussia issued an "Edict on Religion" that forbade
preaching any sermon that undermined popular belief in the Holy
Trinity and the Bible. The goal was to avoid skepticism, deism and
theological disputes that might impinge on domestic tranquility. Men
who doubted the value of Enlightenment favoured the measure, but so
too did many supporters. German universities had created a closed
elite that could debate controversial issues among themselves, but
spreading them to the public was seen as too risky. This intellectual
elite was favoured by the state, but that might be reversed if the
process of the Enlightenment proved politically or socially
The Enlightenment played a distinctive, if small, role in the history
of Italy. Although most of Italy was controlled by
conservative Habsburgs or the pope, Tuscany had some opportunities for
reform. Leopold II of Tuscany abolished the death penalty in Tuscany
and reduced censorship. From Naples,
Antonio Genovesi (1713-69)
influenced a generation of southern Italian intellectuals and
university students. His textbook "Diceosina, o Sia della Filosofia
del Giusto e dell'Onesto" (1766) was a controversial attempt to
mediate between the history of moral philosophy on the one hand and
the specific problems encountered by 18th-century commercial society
on the other. It contained the greater part of Genovesi's political,
philosophical and economic thought – guidebook for Neapolitan
economic and social development.
Science flourished as Alessandro
Luigi Galvani made break-through discoveries in electricity.
Pietro Verri was a leading economist in Lombardy. Historian Joseph
Schumpeter states he was "the most important pre-Smithian authority on
Cheapness-and-Plenty". The most influential scholar on the
Italian Enlightenment has been Franco Venturi.
In Russia, the government began to actively encourage the
proliferation of arts and sciences in the mid-18th century. This era
produced the first Russian university, library, theatre, public museum
and independent press. Like other enlightened despots, Catherine the
Great played a key role in fostering the arts, sciences and education.
She used her own interpretation of Enlightenment ideals, assisted by
notable international experts such as
Voltaire (by correspondence) and
in residence world class scientists such as
Leonhard Euler and Peter
Simon Pallas. The national Enlightenment differed from its Western
European counterpart in that it promoted further modernization of all
aspects of Russian life and was concerned with attacking the
institution of serfdom in Russia. The Russian enlightenment centered
on the individual instead of societal enlightenment and encouraged the
living of an enlightened life. A powerful element was
prosveshchenie which combined religious piety, erudition and
commitment to the spread of learning. However, it lacked the skeptical
and critical spirit of the European Enlightenment.
Main article: Enlightenment in Poland
Enlightenment ideas (oświecenie) emerged late in Poland, as the
Polish middle class was weaker and szlachta (nobility) culture
(Sarmatism) together with the
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth political
system (Golden Liberty) were in deep crisis. The political system was
built on republicanism, but was unable to defend itself against
powerful neighbors Russia,
Prussia and Austria as they repeatedly
sliced off regions until nothing was left of independent Poland. The
Polish Enlightenment began in the 1730s–1740s and
especially in theatre and the arts peaked in the reign of King
Stanisław August Poniatowski
Stanisław August Poniatowski (second half of the 18th century).
Warsaw was a main centre after 1750, with an expansion of schools and
educational institutions and the arts patronage held at the Royal
Castle. Leaders promoted tolerance and more education. They
included King Stanislaw II Poniatowski and reformers Piotr Switkowski,
Antoni Poplawski, Josef Niemcewicz and Jósef Pawlinkowski, as well as
Baudouin de Cortenay, a Polonized dramatist. Opponents included
Florian Jaroszewicz, Gracjan Piotrowski, Karol Wyrwicz and Wojciech
The movement went into decline with the Third Partition of Poland
(1795) – a national tragedy inspiring a short period of sentimental
writing – and ended in 1822, replaced by Romanticism.
The Enlightenment has always been contested territory. According to
Keith Thomas, its supporters "hail it as the source of everything that
is progressive about the modern world. For them, it stands for freedom
of thought, rational inquiry, critical thinking, religious tolerance,
political liberty, scientific achievement, the pursuit of happiness,
and hope for the future". Thomas adds that its detractors accuse
it of shallow rationalism, naïve optimism, unrealistic universalism
and moral darkness. From the start, conservative and clerical
defenders of traditional religion attacked materialism and skepticism
as evil forces that encouraged immorality. By 1794, they pointed to
the Terror during the
French Revolution as confirmation of their
predictions. As the Enlightenment was ending, Romantic philosophers
argued that excessive dependence on reason was a mistake perpetuated
by the Enlightenment because it disregarded the bonds of history,
myth, faith and tradition that were necessary to hold society
The term "Enlightenment" emerged in English in the later part of the
19th century, with particular reference to French philosophy, as
the equivalent of the French term Lumières (used first by Dubos in
1733 and already well established by 1751). From Immanuel Kant's 1784
essay "Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung?" ("Answering the
Question: What is Enlightenment?"), the German term became Aufklärung
(aufklären = to illuminate; sich aufklären = to clear up). However,
scholars have never agreed on a definition of the Enlightenment, or on
its chronological or geographical extent. Terms like les Lumières
(French), illuminismo (Italian), ilustración (Spanish) and
Aufklärung (German) referred to partly overlapping movements. Not
until the late nineteenth century did English scholars agree they were
talking about "the Enlightenment".
If there is something you know, communicate it. If there is something
you don't know, search for it.
— An engraving from the 1772 edition of the Encyclopédie; Truth, in
the top center, is surrounded by light and unveiled by the figures to
Philosophy and Reason
Enlightenment historiography began in the period itself, from what
Enlightenment figures said about their work. A dominant element was
the intellectual angle they took.
D'Alembert's Preliminary Discourse
Encyclopédie provides a history of the Enlightenment which
comprises a chronological list of developments in the realm of
knowledge – of which the
Encyclopédie forms the pinnacle. In
1783, Jewish philosopher
Moses Mendelssohn referred to Enlightenment
as a process by which man was educated in the use of reason.
Immanuel Kant called Enlightenment "man's release from his
self-incurred tutelage", tutelage being "man's inability to make use
of his understanding without direction from another". "For Kant,
Enlightenment was mankind's final coming of age, the emancipation of
the human consciousness from an immature state of ignorance". The
Ernst Cassirer called the Enlightenment "a part and a
special phase of that whole intellectual development through which
modern philosophic thought gained its characteristic self-confidence
and self-consciousness". According to historian Roy Porter, the
liberation of the human mind from a dogmatic state of ignorance is the
epitome of what the
Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment was trying to capture.
Bertrand Russell saw the Enlightenment as a phase in a progressive
development which began in antiquity and that reason and challenges to
the established order were constant ideals throughout that time.
Russell said that the Enlightenment was ultimately born out of the
Protestant reaction against the Catholic counter-reformation and that
philosophical views such as affinity for democracy against monarchy
originated among 16th-century
Protestants to justify their desire to
break away from the Catholic Church. Though many of these
philosophical ideals were picked up by Catholics, Russell argues that
by the 18th century the Enlightenment was the principal manifestation
of the schism that began with Martin Luther.
Jonathan Israel rejects the attempts of postmodern and Marxian
historians to understand the revolutionary ideas of the period purely
as by-products of social and economic transformations. He instead
focuses on the history of ideas in the period from 1650 to the end of
the 18th century and claims that it was the ideas themselves that
caused the change that eventually led to the revolutions of the latter
half of the 18th century and the early 19th century. Israel
argues that until the 1650s Western civilization "was based on a
largely shared core of faith, tradition and authority".
There is little consensus on the precise beginning of the Age of
Enlightenment, though the beginning of the 18th century (1701) or the
middle of the 17th century (1650) are often used as epochs. French
historians usually place the period, called the Siècle des Lumières
("Century of Enlightenments"), between 1715 and 1789, from the
beginning of the reign of
Louis XV until the French Revolution. If
taken back to the mid-17th century, the Enlightenment would trace its
origins to Descartes' Discourse on the Method, published in 1637. In
France, many cited the publication of Isaac Newton's Principia
Mathematica in 1687. It is argued by several historians and
philosophers that the beginning of the Enlightenment is when Descartes
shifted the epistemological basis from external authority to internal
certainty by his cogito ergo sum published in 1637. As
to its end, most scholars use the last years of the century, often
French Revolution of 1789 or the beginning of the
Napoleonic Wars (1804–1815) as a convenient point in time with which
to date the end of the Enlightenment.
In the 1944 book Dialectic of Enlightenment, Frankfurt School
Max Horkheimer and
Theodor W. Adorno
Theodor W. Adorno argued:
Enlightenment, understood in the widest sense as the advance of
thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear and
installing them as masters. Yet the wholly enlightened earth radiates
under the sign of disaster triumphant.
In the 1970s, study of the Enlightenment expanded to include the ways
Enlightenment ideas spread to European colonies and how they
interacted with indigenous cultures and how the Enlightenment took
place in formerly unstudied areas such as Italy, Greece, the Balkans,
Poland, Hungary and Russia.
Intellectuals such as
Robert Darnton and
Jürgen Habermas have focused
on the social conditions of the Enlightenment. Habermas described the
creation of the "bourgeois public sphere" in 18th-century Europe,
containing the new venues and modes of communication allowing for
rational exchange. Habermas said that the public sphere was bourgeois,
egalitarian, rational and independent from the state, making it the
ideal venue for intellectuals to critically examine contemporary
politics and society, away from the interference of established
authority. While the public sphere is generally an integral component
of the social study of the Enlightenment, other historians have
questioned whether the public sphere had these characteristics.
Society and culture
A medal minted during the reign of Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor,
commemorating his grant of religious liberty to
Jews and Protestants
in Hungary—another important reform of Joseph II was the abolition
In contrast to the intellectual historiographical approach of the
Enlightenment, which examines the various currents or discourses of
intellectual thought within the European context during the 17th and
18th centuries, the cultural (or social) approach examines the changes
that occurred in European society and culture. This approach studies
the process of changing sociabilities and cultural practices during
One of the primary elements of the culture of the Enlightenment was
the rise of the public sphere, a "realm of communication marked by new
arenas of debate, more open and accessible forms of urban public space
and sociability, and an explosion of print culture", in the late 17th
century and 18th century. Elements of the public sphere included:
it was egalitarian, it discussed the domain of "common concern" and
argument was founded on reason. Habermas uses the term "common
concern" to describe those areas of political/social knowledge and
discussion that were previously the exclusive territory of the state
and religious authorities, now open to critical examination by the
public sphere. The values of this bourgeois public sphere included
holding reason to be supreme, considering everything to be open to
criticism (the public sphere is critical) and the opposition of
secrecy of all sorts.
Alexander von Humboldt
Alexander von Humboldt showed his disgust for slavery
and often criticized the colonial policies—he always acted out of a
deeply humanistic conviction, borne by the ideas of the
The creation of the public sphere has been associated with two
long-term historical trends: the rise of the modern nation state and
the rise of capitalism. The modern nation state, in its consolidation
of public power, created by counterpoint a private realm of society
independent of the state, which allowed for the public sphere.
Capitalism also increased society's autonomy and self-awareness, as
well as an increasing need for the exchange of information. As the
nascent public sphere expanded, it embraced a large variety of
institutions and the most commonly cited were coffee houses and
cafés, salons and the literary public sphere, figuratively localized
in the Republic of Letters. In France, the creation of the public
sphere was helped by the aristocracy's move from the King's palace at
Versailles to Paris in about 1720, since their rich spending
stimulated the trade in luxuries and artistic creations, especially
The context for the rise of the public sphere was the economic and
social change commonly associated with the Industrial Revolution:
"Economic expansion, increasing urbanization, rising population and
improving communications in comparison to the stagnation of the
previous century". Rising efficiency in production techniques and
communication lowered the prices of consumer goods and increased the
amount and variety of goods available to consumers (including the
literature essential to the public sphere). Meanwhile, the colonial
experience (most European states had colonial empires in the 18th
century) began to expose European society to extremely heterogeneous
cultures, leading to the breaking down of "barriers between cultural
systems, religious divides, gender differences and geographical
The word "public" implies the highest level of inclusivity – the
public sphere by definition should be open to all. However, this
sphere was only public to relative degrees. Enlightenment thinkers
frequently contrasted their conception of the "public" with that of
Condorcet contrasted "opinion" with populace, Marmontel
"the opinion of men of letters" with "the opinion of the multitude"
and d'Alembert the "truly enlightened public" with "the blind and
noisy multitude". Additionally, most institutions of the public
sphere excluded both women and the lower classes. Cross-class
influences occurred through noble and lower class participation in
areas such as the coffeehouses and the Masonic lodges.
Social and cultural implications in the arts
Because of the focus on reason over superstition, the Enlightenment
cultivated the arts. Emphasis on learning, art and music became
more widespread, especially with the growing middle class. Areas of
study such as literature, philosophy, science and the fine arts
increasingly explored subject matter that the general public in
addition to the previously more segregated professionals and patrons
could relate to.
George Frideric Handel
As musicians depended more and more on public support, public concerts
became increasingly popular and helped supplement performers' and
composers' incomes. The concerts also helped them to reach a wider
audience. Handel, for example, epitomized this with his highly public
musical activities in London. He gained considerable fame there with
performances of his operas and oratorios. The music of
Mozart, with their Viennese Classical styles, are usually regarded as
being the most in line with the Enlightenment ideals.
The desire to explore, record and systematize knowledge had a
meaningful impact on music publications. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's
Dictionnaire de musique (published 1767 in Geneva and 1768 in Paris)
was a leading text in the late 18th century. This widely
available dictionary gave short definitions of words like genius and
taste and was clearly influenced by the Enlightenment movement.
Another text influenced by Enlightenment values was Charles Burney's A
General History of Music: From the Earliest Ages to the Present Period
(1776), which was a historical survey and an attempt to rationalize
elements in music systematically over time. Recently,
musicologists have shown renewed interest in the ideas and
consequences of the Enlightenment. For example, Rose Rosengard
Subotnik's Deconstructive Variations (subtitled Music and
Western Society) compares Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (1791) using the
Enlightenment and Romantic perspectives and concludes that the work is
"an ideal musical representation of the Enlightenment".
As the economy and the middle class expanded, there was an increasing
number of amateur musicians. One manifestation of this involved women,
who became more involved with music on a social level. Women were
already engaged in professional roles as singers and increased their
presence in the amateur performers' scene, especially with keyboard
music. Music publishers begin to print music that amateurs could
understand and play. The majority of the works that were published
were for keyboard, voice and keyboard and chamber ensemble. After
these initial genres were popularized, from the mid-century on,
amateur groups sang choral music, which then became a new trend for
publishers to capitalize on. The increasing study of the fine arts, as
well as access to amateur-friendly published works, led to more people
becoming interested in reading and discussing music. Music magazines,
reviews and critical works which suited amateurs as well as
connoisseurs began to surface.
Dissemination of ideas
The philosophes spent a great deal of energy disseminating their ideas
among educated men and women in cosmopolitan cities. They used many
venues, some of them quite new.
The Republic of Letters
Main article: Republic of Letters
French philosopher Pierre Bayle
The term "Republic of Letters" was coined in 1664 by
Pierre Bayle in
his journal Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres. Towards the end of
the 18th century, the editor of Histoire de la République des Lettres
en France, a literary survey, described the
Republic of Letters
Republic of Letters as
In the midst of all the governments that decide the fate of men; in
the bosom of so many states, the majority of them despotic ...
there exists a certain realm which holds sway only over the
mind ... that we honour with the name Republic, because it
preserves a measure of independence, and because it is almost its
essence to be free. It is the realm of talent and of thought.
Republic of Letters
Republic of Letters was the sum of a number of Enlightenment
ideals: an egalitarian realm governed by knowledge that could act
across political boundaries and rival state power. It was a forum
that supported "free public examination of questions regarding
religion or legislation".
Immanuel Kant considered written
communication essential to his conception of the public sphere; once
everyone was a part of the "reading public", then society could be
said to be enlightened. The people who participated in the
Republic of Letters, such as
Diderot and Voltaire, are frequently
known today as important Enlightenment figures. Indeed, the men who
Encyclopédie arguably formed a microcosm of the
Many women played an essential part in the French Enlightenment, due
to the role they played as salonnières in Parisian salons, as the
contrast to the male philosophes. The salon was the principal social
institution of the republic and "became the civil working spaces
of the project of Enlightenment". Women, as salonnières, were "the
legitimate governors of [the] potentially unruly discourse" that took
place within. While women were marginalized in the public culture
of the Old Regime, the
French Revolution destroyed the old cultural
and economic restraints of patronage and corporatism (guilds), opening
French society to female participation, particularly in the literary
Front page of The Gentleman's Magazine, January 1731
In France, the established men of letters (gens de lettres) had fused
with the elites (les grands) of French society by the mid-18th
century. This led to the creation of an oppositional literary sphere,
Grub Street, the domain of a "multitude of versifiers and would-be
authors". These men came to
London to become authors, only to
discover that the literary market simply could not support large
numbers of writers, who in any case were very poorly remunerated by
the publishing-bookselling guilds.
The writers of Grub Street, the
Grub Street Hacks, were left feeling
bitter about the relative success of the men of letters and found
an outlet for their literature which was typified by the libelle.
Written mostly in the form of pamphlets, the libelles "slandered the
court, the Church, the aristocracy, the academies, the salons,
everything elevated and respectable, including the monarchy
itself". Le Gazetier cuirassé by Charles Théveneau de Morande
was a prototype of the genre. It was
Grub Street literature that was
most read by the public during the Enlightenment. According to
Darnton, more importantly the
Grub Street hacks inherited the
"revolutionary spirit" once displayed by the philosophes and paved the
way for the
French Revolution by desacralizing figures of political,
moral and religious authority in France.
The book industry
ESTC data 1477–1799 by decade given with a regional differentiation
The increased consumption of reading materials of all sorts was one of
the key features of the "social" Enlightenment. Developments in the
Industrial Revolution allowed consumer goods to be produced in greater
quantities at lower prices, encouraging the spread of books,
pamphlets, newspapers and journals – "media of the transmission of
ideas and attitudes". Commercial development likewise increased the
demand for information, along with rising populations and increased
urbanisation. However, demand for reading material extended
outside of the realm of the commercial and outside the realm of the
upper and middle classes, as evidenced by the Bibliothèque Bleue.
Literacy rates are difficult to gauge, but in France the rates doubled
over the course of the 18th century. Reflecting the decreasing
influence of religion, the number of books about science and art
published in Paris doubled from 1720 to 1780, while the number of
books about religion dropped to just one-tenth of the total.
Reading underwent serious changes in the 18th century. In particular,
Rolf Engelsing has argued for the existence of a Reading Revolution.
Until 1750, reading was done intensively: people tended to own a small
number of books and read them repeatedly, often to small audience.
After 1750, people began to read "extensively", finding as many books
as they could, increasingly reading them alone. This is supported
by increasing literacy rates, particularly among women.
The vast majority of the reading public could not afford to own a
private library and while most of the state-run "universal libraries"
set up in the 17th and 18th centuries were open to the public, they
were not the only sources of reading material. On one end of the
spectrum was the Bibliothèque Bleue, a collection of cheaply produced
books published in Troyes, France. Intended for a largely rural and
semi-literate audience these books included almanacs, retellings of
medieval romances and condensed versions of popular novels, among
other things. While some historians have argued against the
Enlightenment's penetration into the lower classes, the Bibliothèque
Bleue represents at least a desire to participate in Enlightenment
sociability. Moving up the classes, a variety of institutions
offered readers access to material without needing to buy anything.
Libraries that lent out their material for a small price started to
appear and occasionally bookstores would offer a small lending library
to their patrons. Coffee houses commonly offered books, journals and
sometimes even popular novels to their customers. The Tatler and The
Spectator, two influential periodicals sold from 1709 to 1714, were
closely associated with coffee house culture in London, being both
read and produced in various establishments in the city. This is
an example of the triple or even quadruple function of the coffee
house: reading material was often obtained, read, discussed and even
produced on the premises.
Denis Diderot is best known as the editor of the Encyclopédie
It is extremely difficult to determine what people actually read
during the Enlightenment. For example, examining the catalogs of
private libraries gives an image skewed in favor of the classes
wealthy enough to afford libraries and also ignores censured works
unlikely to be publicly acknowledged. For this reason, a study of
publishing would be much more fruitful for discerning reading
Across continental Europe, but in France especially, booksellers and
publishers had to negotiate censorship laws of varying strictness. For
Encyclopédie narrowly escaped seizure and had to be
saved by Malesherbes, the man in charge of the French censure. Indeed,
many publishing companies were conveniently located outside France so
as to avoid overzealous French censors. They would smuggle their
merchandise across the border, where it would then be transported to
clandestine booksellers or small-time peddlers. The records of
clandestine booksellers may give a better representation of what
literate Frenchmen might have truly read, since their clandestine
nature provided a less restrictive product choice. In one case,
political books were the most popular category, primarily libels and
pamphlets. Readers were more interested in sensationalist stories
about criminals and political corruption than they were in political
theory itself. The second most popular category, "general works"
(those books "that did not have a dominant motif and that contained
something to offend almost everyone in authority") demonstrated a high
demand for generally low-brow subversive literature. However, these
works never became part of literary canon and are largely forgotten
today as a result.
A healthy, and legal, publishing industry existed throughout Europe,
although established publishers and book sellers occasionally ran
afoul of the law. For example, the
Encyclopédie condemned not only by
the King, but also by Clement XII, nevertheless found its way into
print with the help of the aforementioned Malesherbes and creative use
of French censorship law. However, many works were sold without
running into any legal trouble at all. Borrowing records from
libraries in England, Germany and North America indicate that more
than 70 percent of books borrowed were novels. Less than
1 percent of the books were of a religious nature, indicating the
general trend of declining religiosity.
Main article: Natural History
Georges Buffon is best remembered for his Histoire naturelle, a 44
volume encyclopedia describing everything known about the natural
A genre that greatly rose in importance was that of scientific
Natural history in particular became increasingly popular
among the upper classes. Works of natural history include
René-Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur's Histoire naturelle des insectes
and Jacques Gautier d'Agoty's La Myologie complète, ou description de
tous les muscles du corps humain (1746). Outside ancien régime
France, natural history was an important part of medicine and
industry, encompassing the fields of botany, zoology, meteorology,
hydrology and mineralogy. Students in Enlightenment universities and
academies were taught these subjects to prepare them for careers as
diverse as medicine and theology. As shown by Matthew Daniel Eddy,
natural history in this context was a very middle class pursuit and
operated as a fertile trading zone for the interdisciplinary exchange
of diverse scientific ideas.
The target audience of natural history was French polite society,
evidenced more by the specific discourse of the genre than by the
generally high prices of its works. Naturalists catered to polite
society's desire for erudition – many texts had an explicit
instructive purpose. However, natural history was often a political
affair. As Emma Spary writes, the classifications used by naturalists
"slipped between the natural world and the social ... to
establish not only the expertise of the naturalists over the natural,
but also the dominance of the natural over the social". The idea
of taste (le goût) was a social indicator: to truly be able to
categorize nature, one had to have the proper taste, an ability of
discretion shared by all members of polite society. In this way
natural history spread many of the scientific developments of the
time, but also provided a new source of legitimacy for the dominant
class. From this basis, naturalists could then develop their own
social ideals based on their scientific works.
Scientific and literary journals
Journal des sçavans
Journal des sçavans was the earliest academic journal published in
The first scientific and literary journals were established during the
Enlightenment. The first journal, the Parisian Journal des Sçavans,
appeared in 1665. However, it was not until 1682 that periodicals
began to be more widely produced. French and Latin were the dominant
languages of publication, but there was also a steady demand for
material in German and Dutch. There was generally low demand for
English publications on the Continent, which was echoed by England's
similar lack of desire for French works. Languages commanding less of
an international market—such as Danish, Spanish and
Portuguese—found journal success more difficult and more often than
not a more international language was used instead. French slowly took
over Latin's status as the lingua franca of learned circles. This in
turn gave precedence to the publishing industry in Holland, where the
vast majority of these
French language periodicals were produced.
Jonathan Israel called the journals the most influential cultural
innovation of European intellectual culture. They shifted the
attention of the "cultivated public" away from established authorities
to novelty and innovation and instead promoted the "enlightened"
ideals of toleration and intellectual objectivity. Being a source of
knowledge derived from science and reason, they were an implicit
critique of existing notions of universal truth monopolized by
monarchies, parliaments and religious authorities. They also advanced
Christian enlightenment that upheld "the legitimacy of God-ordained
authority"—the Bible—in which there had to be agreement between
the biblical and natural theories.
Encyclopedias and dictionaries
First page of the Encyclopedie, published between 1751 and 1766
Although the existence of dictionaries and encyclopedias spanned into
ancient times, the texts changed from simply defining words in a long
running list to far more detailed discussions of those words in
18th-century encyclopedic dictionaries. The works were part of an
Enlightenment movement to systematize knowledge and provide education
to a wider audience than the elite. As the 18th century progressed,
the content of encyclopedias also changed according to readers'
tastes. Volumes tended to focus more strongly on secular affairs,
particularly science and technology, rather than matters of theology.
Along with secular matters, readers also favoured an alphabetical
ordering scheme over cumbersome works arranged along thematic
lines. Commenting on alphabetization, the historian Charles
Porset has said that "as the zero degree of taxonomy, alphabetical
order authorizes all reading strategies; in this respect it could be
considered an emblem of the Enlightenment". For Porset, the avoidance
of thematic and hierarchical systems thus allows free interpretation
of the works and becomes an example of egalitarianism.
Encyclopedias and dictionaries also became more popular during the Age
of Enlightenment as the number of educated consumers who could afford
such texts began to multiply. In the later half of the 18th
century, the number of dictionaries and encyclopedias published by
decade increased from 63 between 1760 and 1769 to approximately 148 in
the decade proceeding the
French Revolution (1780–1789). Along
with growth in numbers, dictionaries and encyclopedias also grew in
length, often having multiple print runs that sometimes included in
The first technical dictionary was drafted by John Harris and entitled
Lexicon Technicum: Or, An Universal English Dictionary of Arts and
Sciences. Harris' book avoided theological and biographical entries
and instead it concentrated on science and technology. Published in
Lexicon technicum was the first book to be written in
English that took a methodical approach to describing mathematics and
commercial arithmetic along with the physical sciences and navigation.
Other technical dictionaries followed Harris' model, including Ephraim
Chambers' Cyclopaedia (1728), which included five editions and was a
substantially larger work than Harris'. The folio edition of the work
even included foldout engravings. The Cyclopaedia emphasized Newtonian
theories, Lockean philosophy and contained thorough examinations of
technologies, such as engraving, brewing and dyeing.
"Figurative system of human knowledge", the structure that the
Encyclopédie organised knowledge into—it had three main branches:
memory, reason and imagination
In Germany, practical reference works intended for the uneducated
majority became popular in the 18th century. The Marperger Curieuses
Natur-, Kunst-, Berg-, Gewerkund Handlungs-Lexicon (1712) explained
terms that usefully described the trades and scientific and commercial
education. Jablonksi Allgemeines Lexicon (1721) was better known than
the Handlungs-Lexicon and underscored technical subjects rather than
scientific theory. For example, over five columns of text were
dedicated to wine while geometry and logic were allocated only
twenty-two and seventeen lines, respectively. The first edition of the
Encyclopædia Britannica (1771) was modelled along the same lines as
the German lexicons.
However, the prime example of reference works that systematized
scientific knowledge in the age of Enlightenment were universal
encyclopedias rather than technical dictionaries. It was the goal of
universal encyclopedias to record all human knowledge in a
comprehensive reference work. The most well-known of these works
Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert's Encyclopédie, ou
dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. The
work, which began publication in 1751, was composed of thirty-five
volumes and over 71 000 separate entries. A great number of the
entries were dedicated to describing the sciences and crafts in detail
and provided intellectuals across Europe with a high-quality survey of
human knowledge. In d'Alembert's Preliminary Discourse to the
Encyclopedia of Diderot, the work's goal to record the extent of human
knowledge in the arts and sciences is outlined:
As an Encyclopédie, it is to set forth as well as possible the order
and connection of the parts of human knowledge. As a Reasoned
Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Trades, it is to contain the
general principles that form the basis of each science and each art,
liberal or mechanical, and the most essential facts that make up the
body and substance of each.
The massive work was arranged according to a "tree of knowledge". The
tree reflected the marked division between the arts and sciences,
which was largely a result of the rise of empiricism. Both areas of
knowledge were united by philosophy, or the trunk of the tree of
knowledge. The Enlightenment's desacrilization of religion was
pronounced in the tree's design, particularly where theology accounted
for a peripheral branch, with black magic as a close neighbour.
Encyclopédie gained popularity, it was published in quarto and
octavo editions after 1777. The quarto and octavo editions were much
less expensive than previous editions, making the
accessible to the non-elite.
Robert Darnton estimates that there were
approximately 25 000 copies of the
Encyclopédie in circulation
throughout France and Europe before the French Revolution. The
extensive, yet affordable encyclopedia came to represent the
transmission of Enlightenment and scientific education to an expanding
Popularization of science
One of the most important developments that the Enlightenment era
brought to the discipline of science was its popularization. An
increasingly literate population seeking knowledge and education in
both the arts and the sciences drove the expansion of print culture
and the dissemination of scientific learning. The new literate
population was due to a high rise in the availability of food. This
enabled many people to rise out of poverty, and instead of paying more
for food, they had money for education. Popularization was
generally part of an overarching Enlightenment ideal that endeavoured
"to make information available to the greatest number of people".
As public interest in natural philosophy grew during the 18th century,
public lecture courses and the publication of popular texts opened up
new roads to money and fame for amateurs and scientists who remained
on the periphery of universities and academies. More formal works
included explanations of scientific theories for individuals lacking
the educational background to comprehend the original scientific text.
Sir Isaac Newton's celebrated Philosophiae Naturalis Principia
Mathematica was published in Latin and remained inaccessible to
readers without education in the classics until Enlightenment writers
began to translate and analyze the text in the vernacular.
A portrait of Bernard de Fontenelle
The first significant work that expressed scientific theory and
knowledge expressly for the laity, in the vernacular and with the
entertainment of readers in mind, was Bernard de Fontenelle's
Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds
Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds (1686). The book was produced
specifically for women with an interest in scientific writing and
inspired a variety of similar works. These popular works were
written in a discursive style, which was laid out much more clearly
for the reader than the complicated articles, treatises and books
published by the academies and scientists. Charles Leadbetter's
Astronomy (1727) was advertised as "a Work entirely New" that would
include "short and easie [sic] Rules and Astronomical Tables".
The first French introduction to
Newtonianism and the Principia was
Eléments de la philosophie de Newton, published by
1738. Émilie du Châtelet's translation of the Principia,
published after her death in 1756, also helped to spread Newton's
theories beyond scientific academies and the university. Writing
for a growing female audience,
Francesco Algarotti published Il
Newtonianism per le dame, which was a tremendously popular work and
was translated from Italian into English by Elizabeth Carter. A
similar introduction to
Newtonianism for women was produced by Henry
Pemberton. His A View of Sir Isaac Newton's
Philosophy was published
by subscription. Extant records of subscribers show that women from a
wide range of social standings purchased the book, indicating the
growing number of scientifically inclined female readers among the
middling class. During the Enlightenment, women also began
producing popular scientific works themselves.
Sarah Trimmer wrote a
successful natural history textbook for children titled The Easy
Introduction to the Knowledge of Nature (1782), which was published
for many years after in eleven editions.
Schools and universities
Main article: Education in the Age of Enlightenment
Most work on the Enlightenment emphasizes the ideals discussed by
intellectuals, rather than the actual state of education at the time.
Leading educational theorists like England's
John Locke and
Switzerland's Jean Jacques
Rousseau both emphasized the importance of
shaping young minds early. By the late Enlightenment, there was a
rising demand for a more universal approach to education, particularly
after the American and French Revolutions.
The predominant educational psychology from the 1750s onward,
especially in northern European countries was associationism, the
notion that the mind associates or dissociates ideas through repeated
routines. In addition to being conducive to Enlightenment ideologies
of liberty, self-determination and personal responsibility, it offered
a practical theory of the mind that allowed teachers to transform
longstanding forms of print and manuscript culture into effective
graphic tools of learning for the lower and middle orders of
society. Children were taught to memorize facts through oral and
graphic methods that originated during the Renaissance.
Many of the leading universities associated with Enlightenment
progressive principles were located in northern Europe, with the most
renowned being the universities of Leiden, Göttingen, Halle,
Montpellier, Uppsala and Edinburgh. These universities, especially
Edinburgh, produced professors whose ideas had a significant impact on
Britain's North American colonies and later the American Republic.
Within the natural sciences, Edinburgh's medical also led the way in
chemistry, anatomy and pharmacology. In other parts of Europe,
the universities and schools of France and most of Europe were
bastions of traditionalism and were not hospitable to the
Enlightenment. In France, the major exception was the medical
university at Montpellier.
Louis XIV visiting the Académie des sciences in 1671: "It is widely
accepted that 'modern science' arose in the Europe of the 17th
century, introducing a new understanding of the natural world" —
The history of Academies in France during the Enlightenment begins
Academy of Science, founded in 1635 in Paris. It was closely
tied to the French state, acting as an extension of a government
seriously lacking in scientists. It helped promote and organize new
disciplines and it trained new scientists. It also contributed to the
enhancement of scientists' social status, considering them to be the
"most useful of all citizens". Academies demonstrate the rising
interest in science along with its increasing secularization, as
evidenced by the small number of clerics who were members (13
percent). The presence of the French academies in the public
sphere cannot be attributed to their membership, as although the
majority of their members were bourgeois, the exclusive institution
was only open to elite Parisian scholars. They perceived themselves as
"interpreters of the sciences for the people". For example, it was
with this in mind that academicians took it upon themselves to
disprove the popular pseudo-science of mesmerism.
The strongest contribution of the French Academies to the public
sphere comes from the concours académiques (roughly translated as
"academic contests") they sponsored throughout France. These academic
contests were perhaps the most public of any institution during the
Enlightenment. The practice of contests dated back to the Middle
Ages and was revived in the mid-17th century. The subject matter had
previously been generally religious and/or monarchical, featuring
essays, poetry and painting. However, by roughly 1725 this subject
matter had radically expanded and diversified, including "royal
propaganda, philosophical battles, and critical ruminations on the
social and political institutions of the Old Regime". Topics of public
controversy were also discussed such as the theories of Newton and
Descartes, the slave trade, women's education and justice in
Antoine Lavoisier conducting an experiment related to combustion
generated by amplified sun light
More importantly, the contests were open to all and the enforced
anonymity of each submission guaranteed that neither gender nor social
rank would determine the judging. Indeed, although the "vast majority"
of participants belonged to the wealthier strata of society ("the
liberal arts, the clergy, the judiciary and the medical profession"),
there were some cases of the popular classes submitting essays and
even winning. Similarly, a significant number of women
participated—and won—the competitions. Of a total of 2,300 prize
competitions offered in France, women won 49—perhaps a small number
by modern standards, but very significant in an age in which most
women did not have any academic training. Indeed, the majority of the
winning entries were for poetry competitions, a genre commonly
stressed in women's education.
In England, the Royal Society of
London also played a significant role
in the public sphere and the spread of Enlightenment ideas. It was
founded by a group of independent scientists and given a royal charter
in 1662. The Society played a large role in spreading Robert
Boyle's experimental philosophy around Europe and acted as a
clearinghouse for intellectual correspondence and exchange. Boyle
was "a founder of the experimental world in which scientists now live
and operate" and his method based knowledge on experimentation, which
had to be witnessed to provide proper empirical legitimacy. This is
where the Royal Society came into play: witnessing had to be a
"collective act" and the Royal Society's assembly rooms were ideal
locations for relatively public demonstrations. However, not just
any witness was considered to be credible: "Oxford professors were
accounted more reliable witnesses than Oxfordshire peasants". Two
factors were taken into account: a witness's knowledge in the area and
a witness's "moral constitution". In other words, only civil society
were considered for Boyle's public.
Historiography of the salon
Main articles: coffeehouse and English coffeehouses in the 17th and
Coffeehouses were especially important to the spread of knowledge
during the Enlightenment because they created a unique environment in
which people from many different walks of life gathered and shared
ideas. They were frequently criticized by nobles who feared the
possibility of an environment in which class and its accompanying
titles and privileges were disregarded. Such an environment was
especially intimidating to monarchs who derived much of their power
from the disparity between classes of people. If classes were to join
together under the influence of Enlightenment thinking, they might
recognize the all-encompassing oppression and abuses of their monarchs
and because of their size might be able to carry out successful
revolts. Monarchs also resented the idea of their subjects convening
as one to discuss political matters, especially those concerning
foreign affairs—rulers thought political affairs to be their
business only, a result of their supposed divine right to rule.
Coffeehouses represent a turning point in history during which people
discovered that they could have enjoyable social lives within their
communities. Coffeeshops became homes away from home for many who
sought, for the first time, to engage in discourse with their
neighbors and discuss intriguing and thought-provoking matters,
especially those regarding philosophy to politics. Coffeehouses were
essential to the Enlightenment, for they were centers of free-thinking
and self-discovery. Although many coffeehouse patrons were scholars, a
great deal were not. Coffeehouses attracted a diverse set of people,
including not only the educated wealthy but also members of the
bourgeoisie and the lower class. While it may seem positive that
patrons, being doctors, lawyers, merchants, etc. represented almost
all classes, the coffeeshop environment sparked fear in those who
sought to preserve class distinction. One of the most popular
critiques of the coffeehouse claimed that it "allowed promiscuous
association among people from different rungs of the social ladder,
from the artisan to the aristocrat" and was therefore compared to
Noah's Ark, receiving all types of animals, clean or unclean.
This unique culture served as a catalyst for journalism when Joseph
Richard Steele recognized its potential as an audience.
Together, Steele and Addison published
The Spectator (1711), a daily
publication which aimed, through fictional narrator Mr. Spectator,
both to entertain and to provoke discussion regarding serious
The first English coffeehouse opened in Oxford in 1650. Brian Cowan
said that Oxford coffeehouses developed into "penny universities",
offering a locus of learning that was less formal than structured
institutions. These penny universities occupied a significant position
in Oxford academic life, as they were frequented by those consequently
referred to as the virtuosi, who conducted their research on some of
the resulting premises. According to Cowan, "the coffeehouse was a
place for like-minded scholars to congregate, to read, as well as
learn from and to debate with each other, but was emphatically not a
university institution, and the discourse there was of a far different
order than any university tutorial".
Café Procope was established in Paris in 1686 and by the 1720s
there were around 400 cafés in the city. The
Café Procope in
particular became a center of Enlightenment, welcoming such
Voltaire and Rousseau. The
Café Procope was where
D'Alembert decided to create the Encyclopédie. The
cafés were one of the various "nerve centers" for bruits publics,
public noise or rumour. These bruits were allegedly a much better
source of information than were the actual newspapers available at the
London Debating Societies
The debating societies are an example of the public sphere during the
Enlightenment. Their origins include:
Clubs of fifty or more men who, at the beginning of the 18th century,
met in pubs to discuss religious issues and affairs of state.
Mooting clubs, set up by law students to practice rhetoric.
Spouting clubs, established to help actors train for theatrical roles.
John Henley's Oratory, which mixed outrageous sermons with even more
absurd questions, like "Whether Scotland be anywhere in the
An example of a French salon
In the late 1770s, popular debating societies began to move into more
"genteel" rooms, a change which helped establish a new standard of
sociability. The backdrop to these developments was "an explosion
of interest in the theory and practice of public elocution". The
debating societies were commercial enterprises that responded to this
demand, sometimes very successfully. Some societies welcomed from 800
to 1,200 spectators a night.
The debating societies discussed an extremely wide range of topics.
Before the Enlightenment, most intellectual debates revolved around
"confessional" – that is, Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed
(Calvinist) or Anglican issues and the main aim of these debates was
to establish which bloc of faith ought to have the "monopoly of truth
and a God-given title to authority". After this date, everything
thus previously rooted in tradition was questioned and often replaced
by new concepts in the light of philosophical reason. After the second
half of the 17th century and during the 18th century, a "general
process of rationalization and secularization set in" and confessional
disputes were reduced to a secondary status in favor of the
"escalating contest between faith and incredulity".
In addition to debates on religion, societies discussed issues such as
politics and the role of women. However, it is important to note that
the critical subject matter of these debates did not necessarily
translate into opposition to the government. In other words, the
results of the debate quite frequently upheld the status quo.
From a historical standpoint, one of the most important features of
the debating society was their openness to the public, as women
attended and even participated in almost every debating society, which
were likewise open to all classes providing they could pay the
entrance fee. Once inside, spectators were able to participate in a
largely egalitarian form of sociability that helped spread
Masonic initiation ceremony
Historians have long debated the extent to which the secret network of
Freemasonry was a main factor in the Enlightenment. The leaders of the
Enlightenment included Freemasons such as Diderot, Montesquieu,
Voltaire, Lessing, Pope, Horace Walpole, Sir Robert Walpole,
Mozart, Goethe, Frederick the Great, Benjamin Franklin and George
Washington. Norman Davies said that
Freemasonry was a powerful
force on behalf of liberalism in Europe from about 1700 to the
twentieth century. It expanded rapidly during the Age of
Enlightenment, reaching practically every country in Europe. It was
especially attractive to powerful aristocrats and politicians as well
as intellectuals, artists and political activists.
During the Age of Enlightenment, Freemasons comprised an international
network of like-minded men, often meeting in secret in ritualistic
programs at their lodges. They promoted the ideals of the
Enlightenment and helped diffuse these values across Britain and
France and other places.
Freemasonry as a systematic creed with its
own myths, values and set of rituals originated in Scotland around
1600 and spread first to England and then across the Continent in the
eighteenth century. They fostered new codes of conduct—including a
communal understanding of liberty and equality inherited from guild
sociability—"liberty, fraternity and equality". Scottish
soldiers and Jacobite Scots brought to the Continent ideals of
fraternity which reflected not the local system of Scottish customs
but the institutions and ideals originating in the English Revolution
against royal absolutism.
Freemasonry was particularly prevalent
in France—by 1789, there were perhaps as many as 100,000 French
Freemasonry the most popular of all Enlightenment
associations. The Freemasons displayed a passion for secrecy and
created new degrees and ceremonies. Similar societies, partially
imitating Freemasonry, emerged in France, Germany, Sweden and Russia.
One example was the
Illuminati founded in Bavaria in 1776, which was
copied after the Freemasons, but was never part of the movement. The
Illuminati was an overtly political group, which most Masonic lodges
decidedly were not.
Masonic lodges created a private model for public affairs. They
"reconstituted the polity and established a constitutional form of
self-government, complete with constitutions and laws, elections and
representatives". In other words, the micro-society set up within the
lodges constituted a normative model for society as a whole. This was
especially true on the continent: when the first lodges began to
appear in the 1730s, their embodiment of British values was often seen
as threatening by state authorities. For example, the Parisian lodge
that met in the mid 1720s was composed of English Jacobite
exiles. Furthermore, freemasons all across Europe explicitly
linked themselves to the Enlightenment as a whole. For example, in
French lodges the line "As the means to be enlightened I search for
the enlightened" was a part of their initiation rites. British lodges
assigned themselves the duty to "initiate the unenlightened". This did
not necessarily link lodges to the irreligious, but neither did this
exclude them from the occasional heresy. In fact, many lodges praised
the Grand Architect, the masonic terminology for the deistic divine
being who created a scientifically ordered universe.
German historian Reinhart Koselleck claimed: "On the Continent there
were two social structures that left a decisive imprint on the Age of
Republic of Letters
Republic of Letters and the Masonic lodges".
Scottish professor Thomas Munck argues that "although the Masons did
promote international and cross-social contacts which were essentially
non-religious and broadly in agreement with enlightened values, they
can hardly be described as a major radical or reformist network in
their own right". Many of the Masons values seemed to greatly
appeal to Enlightenment values and thinkers.
Diderot discusses the
link between Freemason ideals and the enlightenment in D'Alembert's
Dream, exploring masonry as a way of spreading enlightenment
beliefs. Historian Margaret Jacob stresses the importance of the
Masons in indirectly inspiring enlightened political thought. On
the negative side, Daniel Roche contests claims that Masonry promoted
egalitarianism and he argues that the lodges only attracted men of
similar social backgrounds. The presence of noble women in the
French "lodges of adoption" that formed in the 1780s was largely due
to the close ties shared between these lodges and aristocratic
The major opponent of
Freemasonry was the
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church so
that in countries with a large Catholic element, such as France,
Italy, Spain and Mexico, much of the ferocity of the political battles
involve the confrontation between what Davies calls the reactionary
Church and enlightened Freemasonry. Even in France, Masons
did not act as a group. American historians, while noting that
Benjamin Franklin and
George Washington were indeed active Masons,
have downplayed the importance of
Freemasonry in causing the American
Revolution because the Masonic order was non-political and included
both Patriots and their enemy the Loyalists.
Main article: List of intellectuals of the Enlightenment
1755 Lisbon earthquake
Atlantic Revolutions (American Revolution, French Revolution, Latin
American Revolutions, etc.)
Education in the Age of Enlightenment
European and American voyages of scientific exploration
Haskalah, "Jewish Enlightenment"
Modern Greek Enlightenment
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in which a new and accurate translation of that of the celebrated Mr.
Bayle, with the corrections and observations printed in the late
edition at Paris, is included; and interspersed with several thousand
lives never before published. The whole containing the history of the
most illustrious persons of all ages and nations particularly those of
Great Britain and Ireland, distinguished by their rank, actions,
learning and other accomplishments. With reflections on such passages
of Bayle, as seem to favor scepticism and the Manichee system.
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conscience into a systematic argument for distinguishing the realm of
government from the realm of religion.")
^ Feldman, Noah (2005). Divided by God. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, p.
^ Ferling, 2000, p. 158
^ Mayer, 1994 p. 76
^ Hayes, 2008, p. 10
^ Cogliano, 2003, p. 14
^ David N. Livingstone and Charles W. J. Withers, Geography and
^ Peter Gay, ed. The Enlightenment: A comprehensive anthology (1973) p
^ Roy Porter, "England" in Alan Charles Kors, ed.,
Encyclopedia of the
Enlightenment (2003) 1:409–15.
^ Karen O'Brien, "English Enlightenment Histories, 1750–c.1815" in
José Rabasa, ed. (2012). The Oxford History of Historical Writing:
Volume 3: 1400-1800. OUP Oxford. p. 518–35.
^ Roy Porter, The creation of the modern world: the untold story of
the British Enlightenment (2000), pp 1–12, 482–84.
^ Israel 2011, pp. 248–49.
^ A. Herman, How the Scots Invented the Modern World (Crown Publishing
^ Harrison, Lawrence E. (2012). Jews, Confucians, and Protestants:
Cultural Capital and the End of Multiculturalism. Rowman &
Littlefield. p. 92. ISBN 9781442219649.
^ J. Repcheck, The Man Who Found Time:
James Hutton and the Discovery
of the Earth's Antiquity (Basic Books, 2003), pp. 117–43.
^ Henry F. May,
The Enlightenment in America (1978)
^ Michael Atiyah, "
Benjamin Franklin and the Edinburgh Enlightenment,"
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society (Dec 2006) 150#4
^ Jack Fruchtman, Jr., Atlantic Cousins:
Benjamin Franklin and His
Visionary Friends (2007)
^ Charles C. Mann, 1491 (2005)
^ Paul M. Spurlin,
Montesquieu in America, 1760–1801 (1941)
^ "The Founding Fathers, Deism, and Christianity". Encyclopædia
^ Charles W. Ingrao, "A Pre-Revolutionary Sonderweg." German History
20#3 (2002), pp 279-286.
^ Katrin Keller, "Saxony: Rétablissement and Enlightened Absolutism."
German History 20.3 (2002): 309-331.
^ Gagliardo, John G. (1991). Germany under the Old Regime,
1600–1790. pp. 217–34, 375–95.
^ Richter, Simon J., ed. (2005), The Literature of Weimar
^ Owens, Samantha; Reul, Barbara M.; Stockigt, Janice B., eds. (2011).
Music at German Courts, 1715–1760: Changing Artistic
^ Kuehn, Manfred (2001). Kant: A Biography.
^ Van Dulmen, Richard; Williams, Anthony, eds. (1992). The Society of
the Enlightenment: The Rise of the Middle Class and Enlightenment
Culture in Germany.
^ Thomas P. Saine, The Problem of Being Modern, or the German Pursuit
of Enlightenment from Leibniz to the
French Revolution (1997)
^ Michael J. Sauter, "
The Enlightenment on trial: state service and
social discipline in eighteenth-century Germany's public sphere."
Modern Intellectual History 5.2 (2008): 195-223.
^ Dino Carpanetto and Giuseppe Ricuperati, Italy in the Age of Reason,
^ Burr Litchfield, "Italy" in Kors, ed.,
Encyclopedia of the
Enlightenment (2003) 2:270-76
^ Niccolò Guasti, "Antonio genovesi's Diceosina: Source of the
Neapolitan Enlightenment." History of European ideas 32.4 (2006):
^ Pier Luigi Porta, "Lombard enlightenment and classical political
economy." The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought 18.4
^ Franco Venturi, Italy and the Enlightenment: studies in a
cosmopolitan century (1972) online
^ Anna Maria Rao, "Enlightenment and reform: an overview of culture
and politics in Enlightenment Italy." Journal of Modern Italian
Studies 10.2 (2005): 142-167.
^ Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter, "Thoughts on the Enlightenment and
Enlightenment in Russia", Modern Russian History & Historiography,
2009, Vol. 2 Issue 2, pp. 1–26
^ Israel 2011, pp. 609–632.
^ Colum Leckey, "What is Prosveshchenie? Nikolai Novikov's Historical
Dictionary of Russian Writers Revisited." Russian History 37.4 (2010):
^ Maciej Janowski, "Warsaw and Its Intelligentsia: Urban Space and
Social Change, 1750-1831." Acta Poloniae Historica 100 (2009): 57-77.
^ Richard Butterwick, "What is Enlightenment (oświecenie)? Some
Polish Answers, 1765–1820." Central Europe 3.1 (2005): 19-37.
^ Jerzy Snopek, "The Polish Literature of the Enlightenment." Archived
2011-10-05 at the Wayback Machine. (PDF 122 KB) Poland.pl. Retrieved
October 7, 2011.
^ Keith Thomas, "The Great Fight Over the Enlightenment," The New York
Review April 3, 2014
^ a b Thomas, 2014
^ Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd Edn (revised)
^ Lough, John (1985). "Reflections on Enlightenment and Lumieres".
Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Journal for Eighteenth-Century
Studies. 8#1: 1–15. doi:10.1111/j.1754-0208.1985.tb00093.x.
^ Jean le Rond d'Alembert, Discours préliminaire de l'Encyclopédie
^ Outram, 1. The past tense is used deliberately as whether man would
educate himself or be educated by certain exemplary figures was a
common issue at the time.
D'Alembert's introduction to
l'Encyclopédie, for example, along with Immanuel Kant's essay
response (the "independent thinkers"), both support the later model.
^ Immanuel Kant, "What is Enlightenment?", 1.
^ Porter 2001, p. 1
^ Ernst Cassirer, The
Philosophy of the Enlightenment, (1951), p. vi
^ Porter 2001, p. 70
^ a b Russell, Bertrand. A History of Western Philosophy.
^ Israel 2010, pp. 49–50.
^ Israel 2006, pp. v–viii.
^ Israel 2001, pp. 3.
^ J. B. Shank, The Newton Wars and the Beginning of the French
Enlightenment (2008), "Introduction"
^ Martin Heidegger  (2002) The Age of the World Picture
For up to Descartes ... a particular sub-iectum ... lies at
the foundation of its own fixed qualities and changing circumstances.
The superiority of a sub-iectum ... arises out of the claim of
man to a ... self-supported, unshakeable foundation of truth, in
the sense of certainty. Why and how does this claim acquire its
decisive authority? The claim originates in that emancipation of man
in which he frees himself from obligation to Christian revelational
truth and Church doctrine to a legislating for himself that takes its
stand upon itself.
^ Ingraffia, Brian D. (1995) Postmodern theory and biblical theology:
vanquishing God's shadow p. 126
^ Norman K. Swazo (2002) Crisis theory and world order: Heideggerian
reflections pp. 97–99
^ Frost, Martin (2008), The age of Enlightenment, archived from the
original on 2007-10-10, retrieved 2008-01-18
^ Theodor W. Adorno;
Max Horkheimer (1947). "The Concept of
Enlightenment". In G. S. Noerr. Dialectic of Enlightenment:
Philosophical Fragments. Translated by E. Jephcott. Stanford: Stanford
University Press. p. 3. ISBN 9781859841549.
^ Outram, 6. See also, A. Owen Alridge (ed.), The Ibero-American
Enlightenment (1971)., Franco Venturi, The End of the Old Regime in
Europe 1768–1776: The First Crisis.
^ For example, Robert Darnton, Roger Chartier, Brian Cowan, Donna T.
^ James Van Horn Melton, The Rise of the Public in Enlightenment
Europe (2001), p. 4.
^ Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public
Sphere, (1989), pp. 36, 37.
^ Melton, 8.
^ Nicolaas A. Rupke (2008). "Alexander Von Humboldt: A Metabiography".
University of Chicago Press. p. 138 ISBN 0-226-73149-9
^ Melton, 4, 5. Habermas, 14–26.
^ Daniel Brewer, ed. (2014). The Cambridge Companion to the French
Enlightenment. Cambridge UP. pp. 91ff.
^ Outram, Dorinda.
The Enlightenment (2nd ed.). Cambridge University
Press, 2005, p. 12.
^ Outram 2005, p. 13.
^ Chartier, 27.
^ Mona Ozouf, "'Public Opinion' at the End of the Old Regime
^ David Beard and Kenneth Gloag, Musicology, The Key Concepts (New
York: Routledge, 2005), 58.
^ J. Peter Burkholder, Donald J. Grout and Claude V. Palisca, A
History of Western Music, Seventh Edition, (New York: W.W. Norton
& Company, Inc., 2006), 475.
^ a b Beard and Gloag, Musicology, 59.
^ a b Beard and Gloag, Musicology, 60.
^ a b c Burkholder, Grout and Palisca, A History of Western Music,
^ a b c Outram, 21.
^ Chartier, 26.
^ Chartier, 26, 26. Kant, "What is Enlightenment?"
^ Outram, 23.
^ Goodman, 3.
^ Dena Goodman, The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the
French Enlightenment (1994), 53.
^ Carla Hesse, The Other Enlightenment: How French Women Became Modern
^ Crébillon fils, quoted from Darnton, The Literary Underground, 17.
^ Darnton, The Literary Underground, 19, 20.
^ Darnton, "The Literary Underground", 21, 23.
^ Darnton, The Literary Underground, 29
^ Outram, 22.
^ Darnton, The Literary Underground, 35–40.
^ Outram, 17, 20.
^ Darnton, "The Literary Underground", 16.
^ from Outram, 19. See Rolf Engelsing, "Die Perioden der
Lesergeschichte in der Neuzeit. Das statische Ausmass und die
soziokulturelle Bedeutung der Lektüre", Archiv für Geschichte des
Buchwesens, 10 (1969), cols. 944–1002 and Der Bürger als Leser:
Lesergeschichte in Deutschland, 1500–1800 (Stuttgart, 1974).
^ "history of publishing :: Developments in the 18th century".
^ Outram, 27–29
^ Erin Mackie, The Commerce of Everyday Life: Selections from The
The Spectator (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1998), 16.
^ See Mackie, Darnton, An Early Information Society
^ In particular, see Chapter 6, "Reading, Writing and Publishing"
^ See Darnton, The Literary Underground, 184.
^ a b Darnton, The Literary Underground, 135–47.
^ Darnton, The Business of Enlightenment, 12, 13. For a more detailed
description of French censorship laws, see Darnton, The Literary
^ Eddy, Matthew Daniel (2008). The Language of Mineralogy: John
Chemistry and the Edinburgh Medical School, 1750–1800.
^ Emma Spary, "The 'Nature' of Enlightenment" in The Sciences in
Enlightened Europe, William Clark, Jan Golinski, and Steven Schaffer,
eds. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 281–82.
^ Spary, 289–93.
^ See Thomas Laqueur, Making sex: body and gender from the Greeks to
^ Israel 2001, pp. 143–44.
^ Israel 2001, pp. 142.
^ Israel 2001, pp. 150–51.
^ a b Headrick, (2000), p. 144.
^ a b Headrick, (2000), p. 172.
^ Porter, (2003), pp. 249–50.
^ Headrick, (2000), p. 168)
^ Headrick, (2000), pp. 150–52.
^ Headrick, (2000), p. 153.
^ d'Alembert, p. 4.
^ Darnton, (1979), p. 7.
^ Darnton, (1979), p. 37.
^ Darnton, (1979), p. 6.
^ Jacob, (1988), p. 191; Melton, (2001), pp. 82–83
^ Headrick, (2000), p. 15
^ Headrick, (2000), p. 19.
^ Phillips, (1991), pp. 85, 90
^ Phillips, (1991), p. 90.
^ Porter, (2003), p. 300.
^ Porter, (2003), p. 101.
^ Phillips, (1991), p. 92.
^ Phillips, (1991), p. 107.
^ Eddy, Matthew Daniel (2013). "The Shape of Knowledge: Children and
the Visual Culture of Literacy and Numeracy".
Science in Context. 26
(2): 215–245. doi:10.1017/s0269889713000045.
^ Hotson, Howard (2007). Commonplace Learning: Ramism and Its German
Ramifications 1543–1630. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
^ Eddy, Matthew Daniel (2008). The Language of Mineralogy: John
Chemistry and the Edinburgh Medical School, 1750–1800.
^ Elizabeth Williams, A Cultural History of Medical Vitalism in
Enlightenment Montpellier (2003) p. 50
^ Peter Barrett (2004),
Theology Since Copernicus: The
Search for Understanding, p. 14, Continuum International Publishing
Group, ISBN 0-567-08969-X
^ Daniel Roche, France in the Enlightenment, (1998), 420.
^ Roche, 515, 516.
^ Caradonna JL. Annales, "Prendre part au siècle des Lumières: Le
concours académique et la culture intellectuelle au XVIIIe siècle"
^ Jeremy L. Caradonna, "Prendre part au siècle des Lumières: Le
concours académique et la culture intellectuelle au XVIIIe siècle",
Annales. Histoire, Sciences sociales, vol.64 (mai-juin 2009), n.3,
^ Caradonna, 634–36.
^ Caradonna, 653–54.
^ "Royal Charters". royalsociety.org.
^ Steven Shapin, A Social History of Truth: Civility and
Seventeenth-Century England, Chicago; London: University of Chicago
^ Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump:
Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1985), 5, 56, 57. This same desire for multiple
witnesses led to attempts at replication in other locations and a
complex iconography and literary technology developed to provide
visual and written proof of experimentation. See pp. 59–65.
^ Shapin and Schaffer, 58, 59.
^ Klein, Lawrence E. (1 January 1996). "
1660-1714: An Aspect of Post-Courtly Culture in England". Huntington
Library Quarterly. 59 (1): 31–51. doi:10.2307/3817904.
JSTOR 3817904 – via JSTOR.
^ Klein, 35.
^ Cowan, 90, 91.
^ Colin Jones, Paris: Biography of a City (New York: Viking, 2004),
^ Darnton, Robert (2000). "An Early Information Society: News and the
Media in Eighteenth-Century Paris". 105#1. American Historical Review:
1–35. JSTOR 2652433.
^ Donna T. Andrew, "Popular Culture and Public Debate:
This Historical Journal, Vol. 39, No. 2. (June 1996), pp. 405–423.
^ Andrew, 406. Andrew gives the name as "William Henley", which must
be a lapse of writing.
^ Andrew, 408.
^ Andrew, 406–08, 411.
^ a b Israel 2001, p. 4.
^ Andrew, 412–15.
^ Andrew, 422.
^ Maynard Mack, Alexander Pope: A Life, Yale University Press, 1985
pages 437-440. Pope, a Catholic, was a Freemason in 1730, eight years
before membership was prohibited by the Catholic Church (1738). Pope's
name is on the membership list of the Goat Tavern Lodge (p. 439).
Pope's name appears on a 1723 list and a 1730 list.
^ J. A. Leo Lemay (2013). The Life of Benjamin Franklin, Volume 2:
Printer and Publisher, 1730–1747. University of Pennsylvania Press.
pp. 83–92. ISBN 9780812209297.
^ Bullock, Steven C. (1996). "Initiating the Enlightenment?: Recent
Scholarship on European Freemasonry". Eighteenth-Century Life. 20 (1):
^ Norman Davies, Europe: A History (1996) pp. 634–35
^ Margaret C. Jacob's seminal work on Enlightenment freemasonry,
Margaret C. Jacob, Living the Enlightenment: Free masonry and Politics
in Eighteenth-Century Europe (Oxford University Press, 1991) p. 49.
^ Margaret C. Jacob, "Polite worlds of Enlightenment," in Martin
Fitzpatrick and Peter Jones, eds.
The Enlightenment World (Routledge,
2004) pp. 272–87.
^ Roche, 436.
^ Fitzpatrick and Jones, eds.
The Enlightenment World p. 281
^ Jacob, pp. 20, 73, 89.
^ Jacob, 145–47.
^ Reinhart Koselleck, Critique and Crisis, p. 62, (The MIT Press,
^ Thomas Munck, 1994, p. 70.
Denis Diderot (1769). "
D'Alembert's Dream" (PDF).
^ Margaret C. Jacob, Living the Enlightenment:
politics in eighteenth-century Europe (Oxford University Press, 1991.)
^ Roche, 437.
^ Jacob, 139. See also Janet M. Burke, "Freemasonry, Friendship and
Noblewomen: The Role of the Secret Society in Bringing Enlightenment
Thought to Pre-Revolutionary Women Elites", History of European Ideas
10 no. 3 (1989): 283–94.
^ Davies, Europe: A History (1996) pp. 634–35
^ Richard Weisberger et al., eds.,
Freemasonry on both sides of the
Atlantic: essays concerning the craft in the British Isles, Europe,
the United States, and Mexico (2002)
^ Robert R. Palmer, The Age of the Democratic Revolution: The struggle
(1970) p. 53
^ Neil L. York, "Freemasons and the American Revolution", The
Historian Volume: 55. Issue: 2. 1993, pp. 315+.
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