what is the enlightment itself?
In the wake of the Scientific Revolution, and the new
ways of thinking it prompted, scholars and philosophers began to reevaluate old
notions about other aspects of society. They sought new insight into the underlying
beliefs regarding government, religion, economics, and education. Their
efforts spurred the Enlightenment, a new intellectual movement that stressed
reason and thought and the power of individuals to solve problems. Known also
as the Age of Reason, the movement reached its height in the mid-1700s and
brought great change to many aspects of Western civilization.
How did the enlightment get all started
The Enlightenment started from some key ideas put forth by two English political
thinkers of the 1600s, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Both men experienced
the political turmoil of England early in that century. However, they came to very
different conclusions about government and human nature.
describe the height of the enlighnement
The Enlightenment reached its height in France in the
mid-1700s. Paris became the meeting place for people who
wanted to discuss politics and ideas. The social critics of
this period in France were known as philosophes
(FIHL•uh•SAHFS), the French word for philosophers. The
philosophes believed that people could apply reason to all
aspects of life, just as Isaac Newton had applied reason to
science. Five concepts formed the core of their beliefs:
Beccaria Promotes Criminal Justice An Italian philosophe named Cesare
Bonesana Beccaria (BAYK•uh•REE•ah) turned his thoughts to the justice system. He
believed that laws existed to preserve social order, not to avenge crimes. Beccaria
regularly criticized common abuses of justice. They included torturing of witnesses
and suspects, irregular proceedings in trials, and punishments that were arbitrary or
cruel. He argued that a person accused of a crime should receive a speedy trial, and
that torture should never be used. Moreover, he said, the degree of punishment should
be based on the seriousness of the crime. He also believed that capital punishment
should be abolished.
Beccaria based his ideas about justice on the principle that governments should
seek the greatest good for the greatest number of people. His ideas influenced
criminal law reformers in Europe and North America.