Chapter 17 – Enlightenment and Revolution
Section Notes
Video
Ideas of the Enlightenment
New Views on Government
The Age of Revolution
The Declaration of
Independence
Quick Facts
Ideas of the Enlightenment
Documents of Democracy
Chapter 17 Visual Summary
Maps
European Monarchies
Images
Alessandro Volta
Time Line: The
Enlightenment Reaches
America
Women’s March on
Versailles
Ideas of the Enlightenment
7.11.4
The Big Idea
Enlightenment thinkers built on ideas from earlier
movements to emphasize the importance of reason.
Main Ideas
• The Enlightenment was also called the Age of Reason.
• The Enlightenment’s roots can be traced back to earlier
ideas.
• New ideas came mainly from French and British thinkers.
Main Idea 1:
The Enlightenment was also called the
Age of Reason.
Discoveries made during the Scientific Revolution and on
voyages of discovery led to changes in Europe.
The Age of Reason
• Changes in Europe from the Scientific Revolution led
people to use reason to make decisions.
• The use of reason in guiding people’s thoughts about
philosophy, society, and politics defined a time period
called the Enlightenment.
• These new scholars relied on reason or logical thought
instead of religious teachings to explain how the world
worked.
• They believed that human reason could be used to achieve
three great goals—knowledge, freedom, and happiness.
Main Idea 2:
The Enlightenment’s roots can be traced back
to earlier ideas.
The main ideas of the Enlightenment had their roots in other
eras. Enlightenment thinkers looked back to the Greeks, the
Romans, and the history of Christianity.
The Enlightenment’s Roots
• The Enlightenment was rooted in Greek and Roman ideas.
• Enlightenment thinkers disagreed with the church’s claims
to authority and its intolerance toward non-Christian
beliefs.
• Renaissance and Reformation ideas also reappeared
during the Enlightenment period.
• The Scientific Revolution also influenced Enlightenment
thinkers.
Main Idea 3:
New ideas came mainly from French and
British thinkers.
Enlightenment thinkers borrowed ideas from history to
develop a new worldview. They believed the use of reason
could improve society. To achieve this progress, they had to
share their ideas with others.
The Spread of New Ideas
• French Enlightenment thinkers spread their ideas through
their writings.
• They made efforts to share their writings with the public.
• British men and women also began to publish their
writings.
• Some women writers believed that women should have
the same rights as men.
New Views on Government
7.11.5
The Big Idea
Enlightenment ideas influenced the growth of democratic
government in Europe and America.
Main Ideas
• The Enlightenment influenced some monarchies.
• Enlightenment thinkers helped the growth of democratic
ideas.
• In America, the Enlightenment inspired a struggle for
independence.
Main Idea 1:
The Enlightenment influenced
some monarchies.
In the 1600s, kings, queens, and emperors ruled Europe.
Many of these rulers believed that they ruled by divine right,
or by God’s will.
The Enlightenment’s Influence on Monarchies
Divine Right
• Most rulers believed that they ruled by divine right.
• They believed that God had given them the right to rule as
they chose.
• They believed they shouldn’t be limited by bodies such as
England’s parliament.
Enlightened Despots
• A despot is a ruler with absolute power. The enlightened
despots tried to make life better for commoners in order to
make their countries stronger.
• Frederick II of Prussia and Catherine the Great of Russia
were two such rulers.
Main Idea 2:
Enlightenment thinkers helped the
growth of democratic ideas.
Even though the enlightened despots helped improve their
countries, people still looked for a greater change.
Democratic Ideas
• Three Enlightenment thinkers developed new ideas to
identify the best possible form of government.
• John Locke was an English philosopher who argued that
government was a contract between the rulers and the
people. Government is for the good of the people.
• Charles-Louis Montesquieu, a Frenchman, believed that
government should be divided into separate branches in
order to limit its power.
• Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who was also French, criticized
the power of divine right. He believed that government
should express the will of the people.
Main Idea 3:
In America, the Enlightenment inspired a
struggle for independence.
The ideas of these three philosophers spread throughout
Europe. From Europe the ideas spread to the British colonists
in North America.
British Policy in North America
• The British and the French both had colonies in North
America.
• The two countries had many disagreements that
eventually led to war. This war cost England a lot of
money.
• The English decided to tax the colonies to make up for the
cost of the war. People in England did not have to pay the
tax.
• The colonists thought that this was unfair, and that they
should have the same rights as British citizens.
The Colonists
• Many colonial leaders were familiar with the ideas of the
Enlightenment.
• Two leaders in particular—Benjamin Franklin and Thomas
Jefferson—would apply those ideas to the colonists’
situation.
• Franklin argued for the rights of the colonists. He believed
the British were practicing “taxation without
representation.”
• Jefferson also believed that the British did not have the
right to impose taxes on the colonists.
• Both of these men were leaders in the American
Revolution, and Jefferson later became president of the
United States.
The Age of Revolution
The Big Idea
Revolutions changed the governments of Britain, the
American colonies, and France.
Main Ideas
• Revolution and reform changed the government of
England.
• Enlightenment ideas led to democracy in America.
• The French Revolution caused major changes in France’s
government.
7.11.6
Main Idea 1:
Revolution and reform changed the
government of England.
Enlightenment ideas inspired commoners to oppose
monarchies that ruled without concern for the people’s need.
Revolution and Reform in England
The king of
England and
Parliament had a
very uneasy
relationship. This
led to years of
turmoil and
changes in
leadership.
William and Mary
eventually became
the rulers of
England, after they
promised to sign
the English Bill of
Rights.
The English Bill of
Rights drew on the
ideas of the Magna
Carta, limiting the
power of the rulers
and recognizing
some rights of the
people.
Main Idea 2:
Enlightenment ideas led to
democracy in America.
Although the power of the monarchs was limited in England,
some people in North America were not satisfied. Colonists
there grew increasingly unhappy with both the king and
Parliament.
The American Revolution
• Some of the colonists disliked the laws and taxes that the
British government imposed.
• This led to protests and unrest among the colonists. The
colonists met during the First Continental Congress and
decided to resist the British.
• Fighting began in 1775, and in 1776 the colonial leaders
met again and drafted the Declaration of Independence.
• The Declaration of Independence stated the people’s right
to certain liberties. The document begins with a sentence
that expresses the ideas of the Enlightenment about
natural rights.
Main Idea 3:
The French Revolution caused major changes
in France’s government.
As Americans fought for and created a new nation, the
French paid close attention to these events. They were
inspired by the Americans to fight for their own rights.
The French Social System
• The French king ruled over a society split into groups called
estates.
• Clergy were members of the First Estate, and nobles were
members of the Second Estate, but most people belonged
to the Third Estate.
• The Third Estate paid the highest taxes and had the fewest
privileges.
• The Third Estate formed its own group, called the National
Assembly, and some of its members were familiar with
Enlightenment ideas.
• This group demanded that the king accept a constitution
limiting his powers.
The Fall of the Bastille
• When King Louis refused to give in to the demands of the
National Assembly the common people of France stormed a
Paris prison, the Bastille. This began the French Revolution.
• The revolution spread throughout France, and the National
Assembly wrote a constitution. It was called the
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
• The king was forced to accept the constitution, but it was
not enough. King Louis was put on trial and executed.
• After the revolution, the Reign of Terror began, and France
was in turmoil for many years.
• The revolution was not a complete loss. Eventually France
developed a democratic government.
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