The Beginning of the Enlightenment

The newly created scientific method of the Scientific Revolution assisted leaders to solve problems, helped scientists and philosophers question further, and set the tone for a new age of advancement. The Enlightenment would not have been possible without this method.

Agricultural methods, laws, religion, and social hierarchy were question during the Scientific Revolution. Such questioning and advances led to what was to become the Enlightenment. Religious reformations, such as the Protestant Reformation influenced the Enlightenment in that a major belief was the concept that love guided a marriage, which raised the status of women. The work of the Scientific Revolution was done by "enlightened" people whose teachings were later banned or even burned. Philosophers, such as Voltaire, guided the Scientific Revolution into the Enlightenment state of mind.

The Age of Humanism
The Humanistic belief originated in the
time of the Renaissance and guided
further questioning and advances of
the Scientific Revolution. The Early
Enlightenment was based around,
and built off of, that belief.

The core of the Enlightenment is philosophy, especially as it was spread throughout Europe, Russia, and the colonies of America. Those who were optimistic, saw great room for improvement in human beliefs and institutions. However, many political and religious rulers did not agree with the many scientific philosophies at the time and sometimes outnumbered the "enlightened" thinkers. As simply a state of mind, Europe in 1750 became divided politically and religiously. The printing press, invented years before, truly guided the spread of these ideas and profoundly changed life for future centuries.

The Gutenburg printing press triggered the spread of the ideas formed throughout the Enlightenment. This invention pioneered many to come, as well as changed the way people distributed information.
John Locke, one of many Enlightenment thinkers wrote of political philosophy and natural rights each individual has. Although their books may have been banned, thinkers of this time period still had an impact on the world.

Directly from the Enlightenment came the scientific philosophy of Deism, which was the belief that there was a god who created the earth, then left to operate by natural law. Political rights for women were fought for, especially by Mary Wollstonecraft of England. Political philosophies, like those of Adam Smith in his belief that government regulation of the economy should be minimal in order to allow the free operation of the laws of supply and demand. The Enlightenment used the application of human reason to improve society.

This painting of God exemplified Deism. It shows God still controlling the universe even thought he is not on earth.
Mary Wollstonecraft pioneered the fighting for women's rights. Her thoughts led to the movement in the U.S. and allow women to have the rights they do, today.