An essay on the period of the enligtenment.

Essay by yeoj69A+, November 2003

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The Enlightenment

The age of Enlightenment took Europe by storm in the 18th century. History at this time was experiencing a change that it had never seen before. People began to questioned once unquestionable beliefs about religion and society. During the Enlightenment, most theories of power and authority were based on the relationship between humans and the sad state in which they lived. This trend was intensified by the practice of absolutism which was a way of life which increased the power of the central state. The rise of modern science and the aftermath of the long religious conflict that followed the reformation, greatly influenced the enlightenment. The Enlightenment was an age of optimism, yet through it surfaced the recognition of the poor state of the human condition. Progress was the keynote of the age, new values which stressed freedoms and rights and reforms in government were to bring about these new values.

The Enlightenment was a period in which the great thinkers such as: John Locke, Sir Issac Newton, Voltaire, Nicolaus Copernicus and many others believed that humanity, through the employment of reason, was truly gaining mastery over the world. The English and French movements kept channels open to exchange information between the great philosophers. In many of the philosophers opinions: the Middle Ages were replete with victimization, autonomies, religious and philosophical prejudices.

Many new concepts of thinking and acting took place during the enlightenment. The most widely influential was a transformation that was called the "scientific revolution. In the popular mind, we associate this revolution with natural science and technological change, but the scientific revolution was, in reality, a series of changes in the structure of European thought itself: systematic doubt, rise in skeptism, the spread of ideas, and the view that the world functions like a...