The Enlightenment

  • The Two Treatises of Government

    This book is a work of political philosophy published anonymously in 1689 by John Locke. The first treatises attacks patiarchalism in the form of sentence-by-sentence refutation of Robert Filmer's Patriarcha and the Second Treartises outlines is ideas for more civilized society based on natural rights and contract theory.
  • The First Newspaper in London

    The first daily newspaper was printed in London in 1702. Newspapers were relatively cheap and were even provided free in many coffeehouses.
  • The Salons

    Enlightenment ideas were also spread through the salon. Salons were the elegant drawing roooms of the wealthy upper class's great urban houses. Invited guests gathered in these salons and took part in conversations that were often centered on the new ideas of the philosophes.
  • Charles-Louis de Secondat

    Charles-Louis de Secondat, the baron de Montesquieu, was a french noble. His famous work The Spirit of The Laws was a study of Governments. In it, Montesquieu used the scientific method to try to find the natural laws that govern the social and political relationships of human beings.
  • Denis Diderot

    Denis Diderot went to the University of Paris. His father hoped Denis would pursue a career in law or the Church. He didn't do either. Instead he became a writer. He studied and read in many subjects and languages.
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    The most famous phiosophe of the later Enlightenment. The young Rousseau wondered through France and Italy holding various jobs. Eventually he made his way to Paris, where he was introduced into the circle of the philosophes. He didn't like the city life, and often withdrew into long periods of solitude.
  • Voltaire

    The greatest figure of the Enlightenment was Francois-marie Arouet, known simply as Voltaire. A Parisian, Voltaire came from a prosperous middle-class family. His numerous writings brought him both fame and wealth.
  • On Crimes and Punishments

    One philosphe who proposed a new approach to justice was Cesare Beccaria. In this essay Beccaria argued that punishments should not be exercises in brutality. He also opposed capital punishment. He did not believe that it stopped others from comitting crimes.
  • Encyclopedia

    Diderot's most famous contribution to the Enlightenment was the Enclycopedia. A 28-volume collection of knowledge that he edited. Published between 1751-1772, the Encyclopedia, according to Diderot, was to "change the general way of thinking."
  • The Wealth of Nations

    The best statement of laissez-faire was made in 1776 by Adam Smith in his famous work, The Wealth of Nations. Like the Physiocrats, Smith believed that the state should not interfere in economic matters. Smith gave to government only three basic roles. First, it should protect society from invasion. Second, the government should defent citizens from injustice. Third, it should keep up certain public works that private individuals alone could not afford.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte

    Napoleon Bonaparte promulgated a new constitution and a civil code reflecting the chief accomplishments of the Revolution: popular sovereignty, trial by jury, equality before the law, a citizen army, freedom of religion, abolition of feudal privileges, and freedom of the press. He introduced financial reforms and further centralized the administration of France.
  • Women's Rights

    For centuries, male intellectuals had argued that the nature of women made them inferior to men and made male domination of women necessary. By the eighteenth century, however, female thinkers began to express their ideas about improving the conditions of women. Mary Wollstonecraft, the english writer, advanced the strongest statement for the rights of women.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte

    Napoleon I ranks as one of the world's great conquerors. In addition to conquest, his legal and administrative reforms changed the course of history. Through ambition, intellect, and sheer drive, He became the ruler of France and created a vast empire. Born into an Italian family from Corsica, Bonaparte was educated in French military schools, and gained notoriety by suppressing an uprising in 1795. An ingenious innovator of military tactics, including the use of artillery,
  • John Wesley

    In England, the most famous new religious and evangelical movement- Methodism- was the work of John Wesley,an Anglican minister. He had a mystical experiece in which "the gift of God's grace" assured him of salvation.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte

    As a military leader, Bonaparte endeavored to secure France's "natural borders" and to bring large parts of Europe under French control. In 1803, he launched a series of wars of conquest, and, in the wake of victories swift and stunning, French domination by 1806 extended from the Netherlands and the German North Sea coast to the Illyrian Provinces along the coast of the Adriatic. Italy came under French jurisdiction, and some territories, including Rome, were annexed outright.