Age of Reason Powerpoint

Philosophy &
The Age of Reason
The Eighteenth Century
First African slaves brought to the colonies in
1619 (a year before the founding of the
Plymouth Colony)
About 275,000 black slaves were brought to the
colonies in the 18th century
Missionaries & many non-English immigrants
come to the colonies as well
Westward expansion continues, displacing
Native Americans
and Native
The French & Indian War
English v. French & Indians for control of
North America, specifically, a piece of land
called the Forks of the Ohio, now the City of
This area of land, where three rivers merged,
was very valuable for whoever controlled this
point of land and these waterways also
controlled access to the frontier beyond.
The French & Indian War
Ultimately, the empire of France in North
America was destroyed, changing the
course of our world forever.
 Britain, cash strapped by victory, turned
to its colonists to help bear the burdens of
empire by imposing taxation upon them
and the American Revolution ignited.
The Colonies
Americans were content to be left alone
in the colonies
 They had experience in self-government
and were opposed to a standing army
 They were especially adamant in their
opposition to taxation without
The Coming Revolution
1764: Sugar Act
1765: Stamp Act: taxation w/o
1767: Townsend Acts
1770: Boston Massacre
1773: Tea Act (Boston Tea Party)
1774: Intolerable Acts
1774: First Continental Congress
The Boston Massacre
By 1770 Boston had been forced to accept
the presence of four regiments of British
The soldiers treated the inhabitants with
disrespect, posted sentries in front of public
offices, engaged in street fights with the town
boys, and used the Boston Common for
flogging unruly soldiers and exercising
The Boston Massacre
A young barber's apprentice (Edward
Garrick) shouted an insult at Hugh
White, a British soldier on duty in front
of the Customs House (a symbol of
royal authority).
 White gave the apprentice a knock on
the ear with the butt of his rifle.
The Boston Massacre
The boy howled for help, and returned
with a sizable and unruly crowd, chiefly
boys and youths, and, pointing at White,
Garrick said, "There's the son of a
b#@%! that knocked me down!“
 Someone rang the bells in a nearby
church, which drew more people into
the street.
The Boston Massacre
 The
soldier found himself
confronting an angry mob.
 He stood his ground and called for
 Six British soldiers responded.
The Boston Massacre
The unruly crowd soon swelled to
almost 400 men.
 They began pelting the soldiers with
snowballs and chunks of ice.
 Led by Crispus Attucks, they surged to
within inches of the fixed bayonets and
dared the soldiers to fire.
The Boston Massacre
The soldiers loaded their guns, but the
crowd came closer, calling out, "Come on
you rascals, you bloody backs, you lobster
scoundrels, fire if you dare, damn you,
fire and be damned, we know you dare
not," and striking at the soldiers with clubs
and a cutlass (sword).
The Boston Massacre
The soldiers fired, killing three men
outright and mortally wounding two
others; the mob fled.
 As the gunsmoke cleared, Crispus
Attucks and four others lay dead or
dying; six more men were wounded but
Samuel Adams convinced
Paul Revere to make a
picture of the Boston
It was not an accurate
portrayal of the events, but
Adams wanted to use what
happened in the Boston
Massacre to fuel the
Colonists’ anger toward the
British. It is an early example
of political propaganda in
the colonies.
Art of the Revolution
The Spirit of ’76,” by A.M.
Willard, 1875. One of the
most famous images
symbolizing the spirit of
the American Revolutionary
Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, American,
George Washington Crossing the
Delaware, 1851. Oil on Canvas; 12 2/5 x
21 1/4 in. (378.5 x 647.7 cm)
‘Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown'
(1781) by John Trumbull, American
artist (1756-1843).
Art of the Revolution
Gilbert Stuart (painter)
American, 1755 - 1828
George Washington
(Vaughan portrait),
1795 oil on canvas
The Enlightenment
Philosophy and Religion
The Enlightenment
Began in Europe w/rationalist
philosophers & scientists; coincided with
the rise of empirical science
 Believed they were emerging from
centuries of darkness & ignorance into a
new age enlightened by reason, science &
a respect for humanity
Voices of the Enlightenment
John Locke
John Locke
John Locke is the intellectual father of our
While a number of thinkers, stretching from
Plato and Aristotle and including Thomas
Aquinas, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Hobbes
made important contributions, Locke
influenced the author of the Declaration of
Independence and the Framers of the
Constitution more than any.
John Locke
“tabula rasa”: a blank slate upon which
experience inscribes knowledge
“natural rights”: all individuals possess
the rights of life, liberty & property (it is
the responsibility of the government to
protect those rights)
John Locke’s Beliefs
all people are born equal
 education can free people from the
subjugation of tyranny.
 government has a moral obligation to
guarantee that individuals always retain
sovereignty over their own rights,
including ownership of property that
results from their own labor.
John Locke
"[We have learned from] history…that all
peaceful beginnings of government have been
laid in the consent of the people.”
Governments are formed, according to Locke,
to protect the right to life, the right to
freedom, and the right to property.
These rights are absolute, belonging to all the
John Locke
If any government abused these rights
instead of protecting them, then the
people had the right to rebel and form a
new government.
 He advocated a system of checks and
 He also argued for separation of church
and state
Rene Descartes
“I think;
I am.”
Rene Descartes
French mathematician and philosopher
 Like many rationalist philosophers,
novelists, and poets of his time, he
• his own existence
• his reason for being
• man's purpose in the scheme of the
Rene Descartes
He believed in a dualism of mind and
body, that they were two separate parts.
This allowed him to uncover the only truth
he could not deny: "I think, therefore I
Rene Descartes
I think, therefore I am.”
 The "I" that thinks is defined simply as a
thinking thing, and from this, it follows
that the essential nature of the self is the
mind, as distinct from the body.
No More Puritans
No judgmental, actively involved God
 The power of human reason was stressed
 Focus was on the discovery of truth
through the observation of nature, rather
than through the study of authoritative
sources, such as the Bible
 They did not renounce religion altogether
Deism derives the existence and nature of
God from reason and personal
experience, in contrast to theism (like
Christianity, Islam and Judaism) which
relies on revelation in sacred scriptures or
the testimony of other people.
In Deism there is no need for a
preacher, priest or rabbi; all one needs
in Deism is their own common sense.
 Deism teaches self-reliance and
encourages people to constantly use
their reason.
Two features constituted the core of Deism:
 The
rejection of revealed religion
 The belief that reason, not faith,
leads us to certain basic religious
Other Deist Beliefs
Rejection of all religions based on books that
claim to contain the revealed word of God.
Rejection of reports of miracles, prophecies
and religious "mysteries".
Rejection of the Genesis account of creation
and the doctrine of original sin, along with all
similar beliefs.
Rejection of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and
other religious beliefs.
Other Deist Beliefs
God exists and created the universe.
 God wants human beings to behave
 Human beings have souls that survive
death; that is, there is an afterlife.
 In the afterlife, God will reward moral
behavior and punish immoral behavior.
God in the Enlightenment
In the Age of Reason, God was viewed as a
supreme architect or watchmaker who
designed the world, set it in motion, and
then left it to operate on its own
It was up to people, not God, to see that the
world functioned for the good of all, not just
those who happened to belong to one
religious sect or another.
The Great Awakening
In the 1730s, Jonathan Edwards led
this movement to revive Puritanism.
Although it failed to bring back
Puritanism, in general…
the Great Awakening was
successful in bringing people
together, producing a sense of unity
and American nationality before
the American Revolution
All Men Are Created Equal?
Most 18th century Americans considered women’s
place to be in the home, as wives & mothers
subject to the authority of husbands & fathers
Discrimination against slaves, free blacks, &
Native Americans was already entrenched
White Americans were on their way to developing
a coherent racist theory that would justify the
oppression of non-whites, even considering some
non-whites “non-human”
A Continuing Struggle
The U.S. was forced to face the issue of whether or
not the country was ready to confront the extent to
which large groups of Americans were not free.
The Revolution & the first decades of the new
republic marked but one state in
America’s ongoing struggle to reconcile its
extraordinary idealism with a social reality
that so clearly ran counter to the principles
upon which it was founded.
The Age of Reason
Literature in the Age of Reason
Writing was public, persuasive & political
(Puritans writing = pious & private)
 Pamphlets, magazines, newspapers,
 Cultural norms were politically
conservative, patriarchal & white-dominant
 Most American writers tried to distance
themselves from their European ancestors.
Literacy & Education
In the second half of the century, more
Americans were learning to read & write
 Power was in the hands of white,
educated men (few women were
educated, some Native Americans in the
East received formal education & slaves
were denied education)
Literary Works
Benjamin Franklin
Autobiography, Poor Richard,
Remarks Concerning the Savages…
Benjamin Franklin
Inventor, diplomat, writer
 Known as “the first American”
 The epitome of the rational man in the
Age of Reason
 Wrote under the pseudonym of “Poor
Richard” (Richard Saunders) in Poor
Richards Almanac (aphorisms/proverbs)
 Helped create the Declaration of
Independence & The Constitution
Franklin’s Autobiography
Franklin tries to achieve “moral
He picks 13 “virtues” on which
to focus:
Temperance, silence, order,
resolution, frugality, industry,
sincerity, justice, moderation,
cleanliness, tranquility, chastity,
The virtues are echoes of those
values which the Puritans
stressed in their daily lives
Franklin’s Autobiography
“It was about this time that I conceiv’d the
bold and arduous Project of arriving at moral
2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit
others or yourself. Avoid trifling Conversation.
8. Justice: Wrong none, by doing injuries or
omitting the Benefits that are your Duty.
11. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at Trifles, or at
Accidents common or unavoidable.
Franklin’s Autobiography
To achieve the virtue of Order, Franklin
planned out his entire day, so as to make the
most of his time:
“The Precept of Order requiring that every Part of my Business should
have its allotted Time, on Page in my little Book contain’d the following
Scheme on Employment for the Twenty-four Hours of a natural Day.
Like his Puritan ancestors, he was
introspective, ending each day with selfreflection: “What Good have I done today?”
Question. What good
shall I do this day?
Question. What good
have I done today?
Rise, wash, and address
Powerful Goodness!
Contrive day's business,
and take the resolution
of the day; prosecute
the present study, and
Read, or overlook my
accounts, and dine.
Put things in their
Supper. Music or
diversion, or
Examination of the day.
Poor Richard’s
“A penny saved is a penny earned.”
“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a
man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
“Don’t throw stones if your own
house is made of glass.”
“A slip of the foot you may soon
recover, but a slip of the tongue you
may never get over.”
“A small leak will sink a great ship.”
Remarks Concerning the Savages of
North America (1784)
“Savages we call them, because their Manners differ
from ours, which we think the Perfection of Civility;
they think the same of theirs.”
“Having few artificial Wants, they have abundance of
Leisure for Improvement by Conversation.” (NOBLE
“Our laborious Manner of Life, compared with theirs,
they esteem as slavish and base; and the Learning, on
which we value ourselves, they regard as frivolous
and useless.”
The Declaration of
Thomas Jefferson
The Declaration of Independence
Drafted by Thomas Jefferson
“We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
“Sacred” to “Self-evident”
Jefferson originally wrote, “We hold these
truths to be sacred…”
Ben Franklin suggested the change to “selfevident,” which reflects the principles &
philosophy of the Age of Reason as opposed
to that of the Puritans (the separation of
church and state as well as the emphasis on
human reason and logic)
“All Men are Created Equal”?
“He [King George III] has excited
domestic insurrections amongst us, and
has endeavored to bring upon the
inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless
Indian Savages, whose known rule of
warfare is an undistinguished destruction
of all ages, sexes and conditions.”
-from The Declaration of Independence
“property” to “pursuit of happiness”
To understand Jefferson’s choice of the
phrase "pursuit of happiness," it is essential
to understand both the political climate of
the day and the philosophical basis upon
which the Declaration was premised and
the contemporary understanding of
Locke and Property
John Locke wrote in the Second Treatise that
men unite in a society "for the mutual
preservation of their lives, liberties, and
estates, which I call by the general name
He said that the supreme power (the
legislative) "cannot take from any man any
part of his property without his own consent.”
“property” to “pursuit of happiness”
Property in the understanding of Thomas
Jefferson and the political philosophers of
his day (John Locke and Algernon
Sydney), was everything from your name
and reputation to your real estate.
 Your freedom of speech was your
 Your choice of religion and political
affiliation was your property.
“property” to “pursuit of happiness”
Your intellectual achievements were your
property (patents and copyrights were
issued to protect intellectual property).
 Your choice of how to make a living is
your property.
 A business reputation built up by you is
your property.
 Your choice of social association is your
“property” to “pursuit of happiness”
John Adams, one of the signers of the
Declaration and architect of the Constitution,
well understood the premier position of private
property in a free society.
He stated, "The moment that idea is admitted
into society that property is not as sacred as the
Laws of God, and that there is not a force of law
and public justice to protect it, anarchy and
tyranny commence. Property must be sacred or
liberty cannot exist."
“property” to “pursuit of happiness”
When we reread Jefferson’s words in the
Declaration, in light of his understanding of
property, his choice to use "pursuit of
happiness" becomes clear.
Your life is your property. Your liberty is
your property. Your pursuit of happiness is
your property.
If Jefferson had used "property" instead of
"pursuit of happiness," he would have been
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A Note on Currency
U.S. currency notes now in production bear the
following portraits: George Washington on the $1 bill,
Thomas Jefferson on the $2 bill, Abraham Lincoln on
the $5 bill, Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, Andrew
Jackson on the $20 bill, Ulysses S. Grant on the $50
bill, and Benjamin Franklin on the $100 bill.
There are also several denominations of currency
notes that are no longer produced. These include the
$500 bill with the portrait of William McKinley, the
$1,000 bill with a portrait of Grover Cleveland, the
$5,000 bill with a portrait of James Madison, the
$10,000 bill with a portrait of Salmon P. Chase, and
the $100,000 currency note bearing a portrait of
Woodrow Wilson.
A Note on Currency
As with our nation's coinage, the Secretary of
the Treasury usually selects the designs shown
on United States currency. Unless specified by
an Act of Congress, the Secretary generally has
the final approval.
The law prohibits portraits of living persons from
appearing on Government Securities.
Therefore, the portraits on our currency notes
are of deceased persons whose places in history
the American people know well.
Other Perspectives of the
Letters by
Abigail Adams
Phyllis Wheatley
Abigail Adams
(“Letter to John
Adams’ audience is her husband, John Adams,
the future President (an intimate, private
audience – not a public one)
Adams is pointing out the contradiction of her
husband’s desire for freedom while denying
his wife equality.
Abigail Adams
(“Letter to John
“I cannot say that I think you are very
generous to the ladies; for, whilst you are
proclaiming peace and good-will to men,
emancipating all nations, you insist upon
retaining an absolute power over wives.”
Abigail Adams
(“Letter to John
“But you must remember, that arbitrary power
is like most other things which are very hard,
very liable to be broken; and, notwithstanding
all your wise laws and maxims, we have it in
our power, not only to free ourselves, but to
subdue our masters, and without violence,
throw both your natural and legal authority at
our feet;--
Phyllis Wheatley
(“Letter to Samson Occom”)
Wheatley’s is writing to a friend & political
ally, Samson Occom, in response to his written
protest against slave-owning ministers
Wheatley says that civil liberty and religious
liberty go hand in hand.
That those who demand liberty for themselves
while enslaving others contradict themselves.
Phyllis Wheatley
Wheatley hopes God will make slaveholders
see how absurd it is to demand freedom
themselves but deny freedom to slaves.
“…to convince them of the strange absurdity
of their conduct, whose words and actions are
so diametrically opposite.”