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Chapter 17 Cornell Notes Jacqueline Lockwood

The Age of the Enlightenment: 18th Century November 2010

Background of the Enlightenment, Philosophies, Writers’ attitude toward writing,
“Enlightened” monarchs and Partition of Poland by Prussia, Russia and Austria
A. Ideas of Newton and Locke
Formative Influence 1. Major intellectual frontrunners of the Enlightenment
on the Enlightenment 2. Thinkers began to apply idea of rationalism to society
3. Issac Newton:
a. law of universal gravitation
4. John Locke:
a. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
b. tabula rasa- born with blank page
c. experience shapes character
B. The Example of British Toleration and Political Stability
1. Freedom of the press and free speech
2. Authority of monarchy was limited
3. Army was small
4. Economic life in Great Britain= far less regulation than France ad
other cations
C. The Emergence of Print Culture
1. print culture- culture in which books, journals, newspapers and
pamphlets achieve status of own.
2. volume of printed material led by increased literacy & 
increase in non-religious books
3. more reading because  increase in libraries
4. Samuel Johnson (1709-1719)
a. The Spectator
5. Alexander Pope
a. public opinion
The Philosophes b. impact on government
A. Voltaire-- First Among the Philosophes
1. Background
• Letters on the English
• Elements on the Philosophy of Newton
• Candide
The Enlightenment and Religion
What criticisms did the philosophes lodge against religion and formal
• deism
• Christianity Not Mysterious by John Toland
• What did deists believe?
• How did Enlightenment thinkers argue for religious toleration?
Radical Enlightenment Criticism of Christianity
John Locke... better known as
• Inquiry into Human Nature by David Hume
• The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
• How close were Enlightenment thinkers to wanting atheism?
Jewish Thinkers in the Age of the Enlightenment
• Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)
◦ Ethics
◦ Theologico-Political Treatise
• Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786)
◦ On Ecclesiastical Power and Judaism
Islam in Enlightenment Thought