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1. The four dominant ideas of The Enlightenment
• Moderate enlightenment (late 17th -late 18th centuries) (ideas of
Newton and Locke). Stressed tolerance and compromise. Inspired the
American Founding fathers (George Washington).
Present mainly in France (Voltaire, Hume, Diderot, Holbach). Protest against
the decadent aristocracy and clergy, using satire. Hume developed
epistemological skepticism, and Holbach – radical materialism.
• Revolutionary Enlightenment
Era of the American and French revolutions. These thinkers started with
Rousseau, continuing to Thomas Paine, Joseph Priestley, Richard Price, and William Godwin.
Championed a destruction of the old world, with a goal of liberating humanity from burdening
and restrictive customs, ignorance, and oppression. Inspired the Jacobins.
• Didacticicsm. Started in Scotland, in the mid-1700's. Aimed to integrate faith and the
idea of a divinely ruled universe with an outlook of rational progress. Championed by
2. The historical events in England and France that reinforced the need for
In England, the start of the Enlightenment was traced to the Glorious
Revolution of 1688, which limited absolutism. In France, the En...