Essay on The Age Of Enlightenment And The Enlightenment

1275 Words Dec 20th, 2016 6 Pages
The Age of Enlightenment was a 17th and 18th century intellectual movement that changed peoples’ ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and humanity. This period of great change was heavily influenced by several 17th century philosophers – René Descartes, John Locke, Isaac Newton, Immanuel Kant, Voltaire, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith– who stressed the importance of thinking for oneself, disregarding socially accepted ideologies, especially those of the church, and the need for testing observation through reason. In Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment?, Immanuel Kant challenges people: “Dare to know! Have the courage to use your own intelligence!” That statement embodied the way most people would begin to think, especially in France. France, Paris specifically, is regarded as the center of the Enlightenment. Parisian society held a great importance of salons, which was the gathering of enlightened thinkers, nobles, and invited guests to discuss politics, literature, human rights, and current events. It was in these salons that ideas like feminism, communism, and revolution were born. However, it wasn’t just the upper class who were affected by enlightened ideals, the poor majority attempted to educate themselves and move up the social ladder by procuring equal rights. As more people became educated, more people recognized problems within government a need for change. The poor, the middle class, and a small amount of the nobility were on the same side: The…

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