Writing Assignment #2
The Enlightenment was a major turning point in European
history. It affected Europe’s politics, science, philosophy, and way of life.
It was named The Age of Reason due to its emphasis on the scientific method.
The Enlightenment was said to illuminate the minds of
European after the dark middle ages. The scientific revolution that began
during the Thirty Years War is what led to the beginning of the Enlightenment.
Many philosophical concepts became prominent during that time. Important
figures of the Enlightenment include John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and Isaac
Newton to name a few.
Before the 1700s, European governments were harsh. Rulers
believed they were chosen by God, and thus tyranny was very big during that time.
Citizens of European countries didn’t have many rights; their main duty was to
serve the government. This was widely accepted until the Enlightenment.
People began to question the role of government in
society, and eventually started to reject traditional ideas. The Enlightenment
pushed for people to ponder the purpose of the governments role. It also
advocated for natural rights. This caused citizens to have a negative view on
their rulers, and they thought the absolute monarchy days needed to end. People
also became aware of their taxes funding the lavish lifestyles of the monarchs.
During the Enlightenment, people wanted a say in the way their country was
governed; they also wanted constitutions that granted them rights.
Freedom became a big idea during the Enlightenment.
Believers in Enlightenment argued that liberty was a God given right, and that
knowledge to science was important for human progress. Reason and the power of thought
were concepts that caused numerous books and essays to be published during the Enlightenment.
Scientific discoveries, revolutions, and inventions were also a big part of this
In 1689, John Locke wrote the essay Concerning Human Understanding.
The essay discussed the way humans perceive everything around them, and detailed
how religious practice and logic played majors roles in the way we live. He argued
that human knowledge was only gained through experience. Locke was a known advocator
for natural rights and liberty, and he helped pushed the Enlightenment ideologies.
In 1686, Isaac Newton published his Principia Mathematica.
His worked developed calculus and optical theories. Along with his previous work
on the laws of gravity, Newton helped pushed the idea of reason and the importance
of science during the Enlightenment.
Some concepts of philosophy that were huge during the Enlightenment
were skepticism, reason, and progress, amongst others. Skepticism revolved around
the idea that people should not be blinded by faith. Instead, they should focus
on facts and scientific evidence.