The Eighteenth century culminated the movement toward modernity that started in the Renaissance era.  Advances in agriculture and the resulting demographic shifts caused varying social, intellectual, cultural and political changes to occur. These shifts included a religious reform period, shifts in family patterns and practices, changing views towards children and popular education, shifts in and among dynastic wealth and power, and of course the Enlightenment and it’s consequent revolutionary ideals.  The century began relatively quietly and ended with two political and social revolutions in North America and in France.  These Revolutions ushered in the nineteenth century that would early on witness in Napoleon the creation of an empire built on enlightenment concepts yet strangely reminiscent of earlier despotic regimes.

The historically prominent aspect of this century centered on the work of the philosophes.  These philosophs attacked medieval otherwordliness, dethroned theology from its once-proud position as leader of the sciences, and based their understanding of nature and society on reason alone, unaided by revelation or priestly authority. Eighteenth century philosophies were particularly influenced by the seventeenth century social contract theories proposed by Englishmen Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.  Religious toleration, individual liberty, and the place of the state became the center of political and economic debate ending eventually in the American and French Revolutions.  

Overall the eighteenth century Enlightenment expressed basic principles of the west’s modern outlook: certainty in the self-sufficiency of the human mind, conviction that individuals possess natural rights that states should not violate, and the desire to reform society in harmony with rational principles.  These principles would form the basis of nineteenth century conflict and debate starting with the contentious wars of revolution and the resultant Napoleonic Empire.  

Unit Three Syllabus

  Reader VII: 
The Edge of Politics
 Reader VIII: 
Eighteenth Century Life and Politics 
Reader IX: 
Enlightenment and Revolution 
  House of Cards
Jean Simeon CHARDIN
The Swing
Jean-Honore FRAGONARD 
Death of Marat
Jacques-Louis DAVID
 Pages 285-293 
 Pages 303-316
Pages 337-353 
 Pages 294-302
 Pages 317-328
Pages 354-358 
   Pages 329-336
Pages 358-365 

Life in the 18th Century: More Modern Than Not?
Class 01: More of the Same and Then Some
Class 02 & 3: Eighteenth Century Economics, or Big Fat Cow Is Not An Insult

Class 04: New Life For An Old People
Enlightenment Thought: The Divorce Of Science And Religion
Class 05: Changes in Elite Thinking or Shake, Rattle And Change Class 06: Enlightenment Documents: Kant, Wollstonecraft and Beccaria
Class 07: Frederick, Catherine and Maria Theresa, Absolutely Despotic And Enlightened Thinkers
Class 08: DBQ
1789 Revolution: A Play In Four Acts
Class 09: The French Revolution or a Play in Four Acts
Class 10: Declarations Or Enlightenment Fulfilled?
Class 11: The Revolution Turns Radical of Hold On To You Hat, This Will Be A Bumpy Ride
Class 12: Full Circle: The General, The Consul and the Emperor
Class 13: Post Waterloo, or let's go to Vienna and Dance

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