The Enlightenment was both a movement and a state of mind.
Thomas Jefferson closely followed European ideas and later incorporated some of the ideals of the Enlightenment into the Declaration of Independence One of his peers, James Madisonincorporated these ideals into the United States Constitution during its framing in It helped spread the ideas of the Enlightenment across Europe and beyond.
The ideas of the Enlightenment played a major role in inspiring the French Revolutionwhich began in After the Revolution, the Enlightenment was followed by the intellectual movement known as Romanticism.
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. These laid down two distinct lines of Enlightenment thought: Both lines of thought were eventually opposed by a conservative Counter-Enlightenmentwhich sought a return to faith.
The philosophic movement was led by Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseauwho 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.
Immanuel Kant — tried to reconcile rationalism and religious belief, individual freedom and political authority, as well as map out a view of Enlightenment ideas public sphere through private and public reason.
She is best known for her work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman 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 Blackthe argument for deep time by the geologist James Hutton and the invention of the steam engine by James Watt.
The study of science, under the heading of natural philosophywas divided into physics and a conglomerate grouping of chemistry and natural historywhich included anatomybiology, geologymineralogy and zoology.
Rousseau criticized the sciences for distancing man from nature and not operating to make people happier. 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. Some historians have marked the 18th century as a drab period in the history of science. Scientific academies and societies grew out of the Scientific Revolution as the creators of scientific knowledge in contrast to the scholasticism of the university.
Official scientific societies were chartered by the state in order to provide technical expertise. In reference to this growth, Bernard de Fontenelle coined the term "the Age of Academies" to describe the 18th century.
Some poetry became infused with scientific metaphor and imagery, while other poems were written directly about scientific topics.
Constitution and as popularised by Dugald Stewartwould be the basis of classical liberalism. Smith acknowledged indebtedness and possibly was the original English translator. Another prominent intellectual was Francesco Mario Paganowho wrote important studies such as Saggi Politici Political Essays,one of the major works of the Enlightenment in Naples; and Considerazioni sul processo criminale Considerations on the criminal trial,which established him as an international authority on criminal law.
This thesis has been widely accepted by Anglophone scholars and has been reinforced by the large-scale studies by Robert DarntonRoy Porter and most recently by Jonathan Israel. Theories of government[ edit ] John Locke, one of the most influential Enlightenment thinkers,  based his governance philosophy in social contract theorya subject that permeated Enlightenment political thought.
The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes ushered in this new debate with his work Leviathan in Hobbes also developed some of the fundamentals of European liberal thought: 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. Natural man is only taken out of the state of nature when the inequality associated with private property is established.
This is embodied in the sovereignty of the general willthe moral and collective legislative body constituted by citizens. Locke is known for his statement that individuals have a right to "Life, Liberty and Property" and his belief that the natural right to property is derived from labor.The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, was a philosophical movement that took place primarily in Europe and, later, in North America, during the late 17 th and early 18 th century.
The Age of Enlightenment promoted a confidence in reason or intellectual enquiry to bring greater happiness and progress to humanity; a belief that all aspects of the human and natural worlds are.
The heart of the eighteenth century Enlightenment is the loosely organized activity of prominent French thinkers of the mid-decades of the eighteenth century, the so-called “philosophes”(e.g., Voltaire, D’Alembert, Diderot, Montesquieu).The philosophes constituted an informal society of men of letters who collaborated on a loosely defined .
Some of the major ideas that originated during the Age of Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, were confidence in humanity's intellectual powers, a much lesser degree of trust in the older forms of traditional authority and the belief that rational and scientific thought will lead to an improved human existence.
Significant people and publications. The 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, . Enlightenment, French siècle des Lumières (literally “century of the Enlightened”), German Aufklärung, a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and humanity were synthesized into a worldview that gained wide assent in the West and that instigated revolutionary developments in art, philosophy, and politics.