The Enlightenment

Topics: René Descartes, Age of Enlightenment, Scientific method Pages: 3 (601 words) Published: February 12, 2014
The Enlightenment 1650-1800

Was a sprawling intellectual, philosophical, cultural and social movement that spread through the majority of Europe throughout the 1700’s. Influenced by the Scientific Revolution, which begun in 1500’s Transformed the Western world into an intelligent and self-aware civilization The effects of Enlightenment thought soon permeated both European and American life, from improved women’s rights to more efficient steam engines, from fairer judicial systems to increased educational opportunities These ideas, works, and principles of the Enlightenment would continue to affect Europe and the rest of the Western world for decades and even centuries to come. Nearly even theory or fact that is held in modern science has a foundation in the Enlightenment The era’s ground-breaking and tenacious new approaches to investigation, reasoning, and problem solving that make it so important Freedom of Expression


Most apparent cause was the 30 Years’ War. This destructive war, which lasted from 1618-1648, compelled German writers to pen harsh criticisms regarding the ideas of nationalism and warfare.

Hugo Grotius and John Comenius were some of the first Enlightenment minds to go against tradition and propose better solutions.

Finally, centuries of mistreatment at the hands of monarchies and the church brought average citizens in Europe to a breaking point, and the most intelligent and vocal finally decided to speak out.

Pre-Enlightenment Discoveries

The Enlightenment developed through a snowball effect: small advances triggered larger ones, and before Europe and the world knew it, almost two centuries of philosophizing and innovation had ensued.

Great minds such as Kepler and Galileo, challenged the beloved “truths” of Aristotle and disproved them

Other thinkers such as Rene Descartes and Francis Bacon revised the scientific method, allowing Newton to make landmark discoveries in physics

From these discoveries emerged...
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