SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
 The Scientific Revolution had the greatest influence on the
Enlightenment ideas of natural law and reason
 Scientists questioned traditional beliefs about the universe
 Observation and experimentation were central ideas
COPERNICUS AND GALILEO
 Galileo Galilei’s observations supported the theories of
Nicholas Copernicus
 They were both astronomers who supported the
heliocentric theory (planets revolve around the sun)
 Their ideas developed into the scientific method (logical
procedure for gathering and testing ideas)
HELIOCENTRIC THEORY
SCIENTIFIC METHOD
ENLIGHTENMENT IDEAS
 Central belief = the use of reason would lead to human
progress
 Philosophers of this period believed society could be best
improved by applying reason and the laws of nature
 Similar to the Scientific Revolution because this movement
encouraged the spread of new ideas
 Similar to the Renaissance because a new questioning spirit
and attitude emerged
ENLIGHTENMENT POLITICAL VIEWS
 European political thinkers who supported this movement
believed governments should protect the rights of people
 They also supported representative democracy
 Writers during this period wanted to change the relationship
between people and their government
JOHN LOCKE
 Important Enlightenment philosopher from England
 Believed the purpose of government was to protect the natural rights of
people (life, liberty, property)
 Governments should be based on the consent of the people
 He directly influenced the following phrase located in the Declaration of
Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal…”
BARON DE MONTESQUIEU
 Enlightenment philosopher who wrote The Spirit of Laws
 He believed in separating the government into three branches:
legislative, executive, and judicial
 Three branches of government would prevent tyrants from
rising to power
ENLIGHTENMENT PHILOSOPHERS
 John Locke, Baron de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau,
and Voltaire all believed in establishing a democratic republic
(people elect their leaders)
 Their ideas influenced movements for political reform and
revolutions in Europe and the Americas
SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
 Scholars in Europe during the mid-1500s replaced old
assumptions with new theories
 This was a new way of thinking about the natural world
 New way = careful observation and a willingness to
question accepted beliefs
HELIOCENTRIC THEORY
 Presented by Polish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus
 Heliocentric Theory = the stars, Earth, and other planets
revolved around the sun
 This challenged the geocentric theory that stated all
heavenly bodies revolved around the Earth
 Geocentric theory was supported by Greek philosopher,
Aristotle, Greek astronomer, Ptolemy, and Christianity
GALILEO GALILEI
 Italian scientist who built upon Copernicus’ ideas about
astronomy
 He built and used his own telescope in 1609 to study the
heavens
 Discovered 4 moons orbiting Jupiter, the sun’s dark spots, and
the moon’s surface was rough and uneven
 In 1633, he was forced to confess to the Catholic Church that
the ideas of Copernicus were false, otherwise he would have
faced torture
SCIENTIFIC METHOD
 Developed by Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes
 Modern scientific methods are based on their ideas
 Scientists have shown that observation and experimentation,
together with general laws expressed by mathematics, can
help people better understand the natural world
 Scientific Method = observation-> question-> hypothesis->
experimentation-> conclusion
ISAAC NEWTON
 English scientist who discovered the law of universal gravitation
 Law = all physical objects are affected equally by the same force; this force
ruled the motion of the planets and all matter on Earth and in space
 Every object in the universe attracts every other object
 The degree of attraction depends upon the mass of the objects and the
distance between them
 He believed that God created the universe to function perfectly according
to mathematics
THE ENLIGHTENMENT
 This was a revolution in intellectual activity that changed
Europeans’ view of government and society
 Scientific Revolution led to the Enlightenment which was a
movement stressing the use of reason and logic
 The literate middle class, thinkers and artists, and American
colonists were all influenced by this movement
THOMAS HOBBES
 English political thinker who distrusted humans and
favored a strong government to keep order
 In his book Leviathan (1651), Hobbes promotes social
contract, which is achieving order in society by giving
power to an absolute monarch
JOHN LOCKE
 English philosopher who criticized absolute monarchy
 Consent of the Governed = he proclaimed that governments get their
power from the people
 Stresses that people have a right to overthrow an unjust government
 Natural rights = he believed that all people are born free and equal and
have the right to life, liberty, and property
 His ideas directly influenced the American Revolution and our
Constitution
PHILOSOPHES
 Philiosphes is the French word for philosophers
 They believed progress (improvement) for society could
be achieved through reason, nature, happiness, and
liberty
 Salons = regular social gatherings where philosophers,
writers, artists, and scientists met to spread
Enlightenment thinking; began in Paris
VOLTAIRE
 French philosopher who fought for tolerance, reason,
freedom of religious belief, and freedom of speech
 Made powerful enemies and was imprisoned twice for his
views
 His view on religious freedom directly influenced our First
Amendment in the U.S. Bill of Rights
BARON DE MONTESQUIEU
 French writer who favored separation of powers to keep one
body from completely running a government
 He believed in three branches of government – legislative,
executive, and judicial
 In his book, On the Spirit of Laws (1748), he explains the
concept of “checks and balances”
JEAN JACQUES ROSSEAU
 Believed that civilization corrupted people’s natural goodness
 He believed that the only good government was one that was
freely formed by the people and guided by the “general will”
of society
 His book, The Social Contract (1762), explains the idea of a
direct democracy
NEOCLASSICAL STYLE
 Pre-Enlightenment art style was baroque - grand and ornate
designs (over-the-top)
 Enlightenment style was neoclassical, which emphasized
elegance and simplicity
 New style was based on Greek and Roman themes
 Classical music emerges – lighter and more elegant than
earlier style; led by composers such as Haydn, Mozart, and
Beethoven
ENLIGHTENED DESPOTS
 Monarchs who embraced Enlightenment values to strengthen their rule
 Frederick II - king of Prussia (1740 to 1786); reforms education and justice
system, grants freedom of worship, and abolishes torture
 Catherine the Great – ruler of Russia (1762 to 1796); she responded to a
peasant revolt by giving nobles more power over serfs and successfully
expanded the Russian empire by seizing northern coast of Black Sea and
large parts of Poland
AMERICAN REVOLUTION
 Enlightenment ideas swept through Europe as well as colonial America
 The spirit of questioning during the Scientific Revolution influenced the
American Revolution because it led to challenging ideas about government
 After England passed the Stamp Act in 1765, American colonists accused
Parliament of “taxation without representation” which was a violation of
their “natural rights”
 The colonists won the American Revolution (1775 to 1781) due to a strong
motivation to fight for their land, mistakes made by British generals,
guerilla warfare, and the British having to fight an overseas war
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
 Written by Thomas Jefferson and issued on July 4th, 1776
 Colonial leaders used Enlightenment ideas to justify
independence
 John Locke’s natural laws of life, liberty, and property, as well
as the pursuit of happiness, were incorporated into the actual
document
ARTICLES OF CONFEDRATION
 In 1781, the original 13 States created a government with
a legislature only (Congress) and no executive or judicial
branches
 Result was a weak national government that failed to
provide unity and order
UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
 Leaders call the Constitutional Convention in 1787 to revise
the Articles
 In 1787, the Constitution creates three branches of
government
 Provides checks and balances - ensures branches share power
equally
 Promotes federal system - power divided between national
and state governments
BILL OF RIGHTS
 Some Americans feared too much national power and few protections of
rights
 Leaders won support for creating a new Constitution by adding a Bill of
Rights (completed in 1789 and ratified in 1791)
 Bill of Rights = the first ten amendments to Constitution that protect
human freedoms and civil liberties
 The Bill of Rights was influenced by John Locke, Voltaire, and Rousseau
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(The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment)