The Enlightenment

The Assignment: Students need to find a book about, or connected to, an Enlightenment thinker and/or idea. 

Some examples:

Scientific Method/ Inquiry/ Empiricism                   Feminism
     Rene Descartes                                                          Mary Wollstonecraft
     Francis Bacon                                                             Mary Astell
                                                                                         Olympe de Gouge

Government                                                               Justice System/ capital punishment/ torture
        Ben Franklin                                                             Cesare Beccaria
        Jean Jacques Rousseau
        John Locke
        Thomas Jefferson
        Thomas Paine

Philosophy/ Education                                              Economics
        Comenius                                                                 Adam Smith 
        Denis Diderot
        Goerte                                                                  Religion
        David Hume                                                              Voltaire
        Immanuel Kante

Destiny Catalog  check what this Library offerst available  in the Library

EEBooks - online access and there are APPs for mobile devices

Database:   Great Lives from History: 17th Century 18th Century


American History from Revolution to Reconstruction and Beyond   Biographies of John Locke, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith.

InfoPlease   This particular entry is for John Amos Comenius. The article is not long but has links.  
Search for additional Enlightenment thinkers.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy   Excellent source for information about individual philosophers,
like Baron de Montesquieu, and schools of philosophy. "A peer-reviewed academic resource"

Library of Economics and Liberty   The free access to the encyclopedia gives pertinent
information about Adam Smith and David Hume.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy   Another excellent source with background information about The Enlightenment
or Age of Reason. Also extensive information about individuals and theories. Check out John Locke, for example.

The Enlightenment   Understand the nature and scale of cultural changes during the Enlightenment. By completing this online course, you will learn the main characteristics of the Enlightenment and become aware of some of the cultural shifts and trends leading from Enlightenment to Romanticism. During the period from 1725 to 1824, people believed that the expansion of knowledge, the application of reason and the dedication to scientific method would result in greater progress and happiness for mankind. The pervasive influence of the Enlightenment is explained and views on religion, morality, the classics, art and nature are discussed.  Topic:  Enlightenment, Europe--History   Language: English   Lexile: 970  Interactive

Internet Modern History Sourcebook: The Enlightenment   This portion of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook, provided by Fordham University, presents information concerning the Enlightenment. While the page appears to be a site full of internal links to information about the Enlightenment, in reality the page is a directory of web sites on the internet concerning the Enlightenment. External links take the reader to web sites concerning The Enlightenment as a Propaganda Project, The Enlightenment and Political Analysis, The Enlightenment Evaluation of the Human Condition, The Enlightenment and Economics, Enlightenment and Philosophy, and many others. There is wealth of information accessible via this site!
Topic: Enlightenment   Language: English

1700-1800 Age of Enlightenment   The shift in thinking toward the middle of the 18th century brought about a period called the Age of Enlightenment. Discover what influenced the thinkers of the Enlightenment period and explore the art from that time. See examples of Rococo art and watch a video that describes the shift away from the monarchy towards the aristocracy. Explore the characteristics of Neo-Classicism and examine Neo-Classic paintings. English prints and English portraiture from the Age of Enlightenment are also introduced. Several videos are available.
Topic: Enlightenment, Rococo art   Language: English   Lexile: 1250  Video

The Enlightenment by Roger Jones   The characteristics of the Enlightenment are a skepticism towards the doctrines of the church, individualism, a belief in science and the experimental method, the use of reason, that education could be a catalyst of social change and the demand for political representation. Its main social and political consequence was the French revolution. The author presents a lengthy, challenging web page concerning rationalism, empiricism, the encyclopedists, the analytic/synthetic distinction, logic, determinism, and Immanuel Kant. While this page is extremely informative, it is challenging reading.   Topic: Enlightenment   Language: English   Lexile: 1130

Enlightenment Thinkers

Philosophy Resource   Eminent philosophers are profiled at the BBC history web site. Philosophers from the ancient world, from medieval and renaissance times, from the Enlightenment and from the 19th and 20th centuries are introduced. This section of the web site has biographical information for philosophers from the Enlightenment. The modern philosophers listed include Thomas Hobbes, Rene Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, David Hume, Immanuel Kant and others. For some of these philosophers, you can click on their name to go to a page with additional information.
Topic: Philosophy, Philosophers   Language: English   Lexile: BR

Jean Antoine-Houdon: Sculptor of the Enlightenment   Explore the sculptures and learn about the life and training of Jean-Antoine Houdon. Check the overview to find an interactive guide and an audio discussion of a painting of Houdon in his studio surrounded by lifelike sculptures. You will find a list of some of his sculptures in this exhibit. Explore the sculpture of Ben Franklin dated 1779. Photos and additional information are given for each one. For some there are close up images and discussions on Houdon's technique. You can enlarge the image of the sculptures and sometimes rotate it.
Topic: Sculptors   Language: English   Lexile: 970

Baron de Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat   Montesquieu was a great political philosopher of the Enlightenment Era. This report includes sections about his life (1689-1755), major works, the Persian Letters, and the Spirit of the Laws. The Spirit of the Laws, is divided into forms of government, liberty, climate and geography, commerce, and religion. This work of Montesquieu's writing is considered his masterpiece. His aim is to explain human laws and social institution. The distinction between monarchy and despotism depends not on the virtue of the monarch, but whether he governs by fixed and established laws.   Topic: Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat,--baron de,--1689-1755   Language: English   Lexile: 1270  Biography

Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) and the Spanish Enlightenment   Created by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this web site will help you understand the significance of Francisco de Goya to the art world. In addition to biographical information about this famous Spanish painter, you will also learn about the politics and history of nineteenth century Spain. Find out why Goya and his art works changed from being jolly and lighthearted at the beginning of his career to deeply pessimistic at the end. A bonus of this site is that you also get to view some of Goya's most famous paintings, drawings, and etchings.
Topic: Spain--History, Goya, Francisco,--1746-1828   Language: English  Biography

Kant's Critique of Pure Reason   Kant was a tutor and teacher. He understood logic, philosophy, and metaphysics. Although he grew up during the Enlightenment, he evaluated it critically. Descartes and Newton celebrated the ability of reason to weigh evidence logically, discern order, and find knowledge. Rationalism believes that there are things we just know, things that are self-evident, and rights that are inalienable. Empiricism believes that the human mind starts as a blank slate and that all knowledge comes from experience. Kant tried to find the middle ground.
Topic: Rationalism, Kant, Immanuel,--1724-1804   Language: English   Lexile: 870

Immanuel Kant   Although Immanuel Kant was born in 1724, his philosophical ideas are still influential today. Introduce yourself to this modern philosopher at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy web site where you can learn about his family life, education, early interest in philosophy, his publications and his various teaching jobs. There is information about Kant's project called the Critique of Pure Reason and details about Kant's beliefs about transcendental idealism. His theories about morality and freedom are also explained.   Topic: Philosophers, Modern, Kant, Immanuel,--1724-1804, Philosophy   Language: English  
Lexile: 1490  Biography    Encyclopedia

John Locke Biography   Analyze how the ideas of John Locke initiated the Enlightenment and inspired the United States Constitution. This writer and philosopher received a thorough yet strict training at Westminster School before attending Oxford. His course of study was very traditional but Locke supplemented it with studies in medicine, contemporary philosophy, and experimental science. Learn about his studies, alliances, and exile. This site provides a thorough summary of his life and philosophy. Become familiar with the ideas of empiricism as well as Locke's theories about government, education, and religion.
Topic: Locke, John,--1632-1704   Language: English

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)   English essayist, critic, and satirist Alexander Pope, widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of Enlightenment, penned his first verses when he was only twelve years old. An Essay on Criticism was published when he was just twenty-three. According to Books and Writers, Pope's physical defects made him an easy target for heartless mockery, but he was also considered a leading literary critic and the epitome of English Neoclassicism. Suggestions for additional reading and a list of selected works complement this literary biography.
Topic: Pope, Alexander,--1688-1744, Classicism in literature   Language: English   Lexile: 1120  Biography

Jean-Jacques Rousseau Biography   An important philosopher of the French Enlightenment, Jean-Jacques Rousseau was originally apprenticed as an engraver by his clockmaker father. His mother died when he was just a few days old. Rousseau went to Paris to become a composer and introduce a new type of musical notation, but he ended up writing for a radical magazine. He also wrote operas and a best-selling novel. He even worked at an embassy. Rousseau won a prize for an unconventional view on a philosophical question. Learn about his views on religion, education, and politics.
Topic: Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 1712-1778   Language: English   Lexile: 1270  Biography

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1712-1778)   One of the most influential thinkers during the enlightenment in 18th century Europe was Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Find out about Rousseau's first major philosophical work which argued that the progression of the sciences and the arts caused the corruption of virtue and morality. Read a biography of Rousseau's life and learn about his autobiography. There is background information about the beginnings of modern philosophy and the Enlightenment. Rousseau's Discourses and The Social Contract are discussed and his historical and philosophical influences are explained.
Topic: Philosophers, Modern, Philosophy, Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 1712-1778   Language: English   Lexile: 1210  Biography    Encyclopedia

Voltaire   A writer and activist in the 18th century, Voltaire played a major role in shaping the Enlightenment. In a strict sense of the term, Voltaire wasn't a philosopher. He was a writer but his writings helped shape later philosophies. Examine Voltaire's philosophical views and contributions. From a young age, he wanted to be a playwright. His father insisted that he pursue law and public service. He discovered how to obtain patrons but was forced into exile for defamation. Investigate how he rebuilt his image but his work caused further scandal.
Topic: Voltaire,--1694-1778   Language: English   Lexile: 1580  Biography 

Francois Marie Arouet De Voltaire (1694-1778)   Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities, French writer Francois Marie Arouet De Voltaire once asserted. This guide to Voltaire comprises an image, links to five related Guardian and Observer features and reviews, and a number of facts about the author arranged under such headings as Critical verdict (The embodiment of the European Enlightenment, [Voltaire] published more than [two thousand] books, plays and pamphlets, excelling in all the major literary forms of the day), Now read on, and Recommended biography.
Topic: Voltaire,--1694-1778   Language: English   Lexile: 1380  Biography     News Source





1700-1800 Age of Enlightenment  
The shift in thinking toward the middle of the 18th century brought about a period called the Age of Enlightenment. Discover what influenced the thinkers of the Enlightenment period and explore the art from that time. See examples of Rococo art and watch a video that describes the shift away from the monarchy towards the aristocracy. Explore the characteristics of Neo-Classicism and examine Neo-Classic paintings. English prints and English portraiture from the Age of Enlightenment are also introduced. Several videos are available.
Topic: Enlightenment, Art--History, Rococo art Language: English Lexile: 1220    

The Rise, Decline, and Reemergence of Classical Liberalism


The Lockesmith Institute, founded in 1992, is named for two of classical liberalism's most influential writers, John Locke and Adam Smith. The premiere issue of the Institute's journal, The Lockesmith Review, included the essay "The Rise, Decline, and Reemergence of Classical Liberalism"; the complete text is available at this site. The essay outlines the history of classical liberal thoughtits ideas, thinkers (e.g., Locke, Mary Wollstonecraft, Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stewart Mill), and schools of thought (e.g., the Scottish Enlightenment, the French Enlightenment, the American Democratic-Republicans, the Manchester School, American Transcendentalism, the Austrian School, the Chicago School).

Topic: Liberalism, Locke, John,--1632-1704, Smith, Adam,--1723-1790




Museum Mausoleum Copenius
Information about John Comenius. The site is in Dutch;
just indicate Translate. Check out the biographical information, too.

The Enlightenment  
Although the intellectual movement called 'The Enlightenment' is usually associated with the 18th century, its roots in fact go back much further. The author defines the term enlightenment, before explaining the pre-eighteenth century roots of The Enlightenment. This college level reading presents information topically beginning with Background in Antiquity, The Renaissance Humanists, The Political and Economic Background, and many others, concluding with The Heritage of the Enlightenment. Links are provided to other web pages about The Enlightenment.
Topic: Enlightenment Language: English Lexile: 1360    
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)


Although he never left the town where he was born, Immanuel Kant spoke to the world about logic and metaphysics through his work. This philosopher started a revolution of the mind concerning how people saw reason, judgment, and knowledge. Through reason, Kant believed people made sense of their experiences as they divided them into categories. Concerning morality, Kant felt it was never right to lie, and that moral duty was more important than happiness. He also believed that beauty was objective.

Topic: Kant, Immanuel,--1724-1804




Immanuel Kant, 1724- 1804


Although he was raised in poverty and the strictness of Pietism, Immanuel Kant became a philosopher. His "Critique of Pure Reason" is a philosophical classic. He believed that "though our knowledge begins with experience, it does not follow that it arises out of experience." He also believed in the existence of God, freedom, immortality, and a universal moral law. Kant lived an ordered life and stayed close to home, but was known for being witty in his lectures.

Topic: Kant, Immanuel,--1724-1804




Francis Bacon


A large report about the life and works of Francis Bacon (1561-1626), one of the leading figures in natural philosophy and in the field of scientific methodology. Sections of interest include; biography, natural philosophy, scientific method, science, and social philosophy, ethical dimensions in Bacon's thought, and Novum Organum and the Theory of Induction. Francis Bacon was a lawyer, a Member of Parliament, and served on the Queen's Counsel. Bacon wrote many essays that pondered questions of ethics.

Topic: Bacon, Francis,--1561-1626


Francis Bacon


Here is an introduction to the life and work of Sir Francis Bacon, British statesman, philosopher, early champion of scientific investigation and one of the torch bearers of Renaissance humanism. His career is outlined, his major works are introduced, and their significance is explained. There is also a timeline listing the important events in his life. Those interested in becoming acquainted with his work will find links to full text versions of Bacon's Essays and The New Atlantis.

Topic: Bacon, Francis,--1561-1626


Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626)


The famous English philosopher, Frances Bacon, was born in London in 1561. In 1620, he wrote and published "Novum Organum". The book was about the proper way to attain knowledge. On this page, you will find a short biography on the life and career of Sir Francis Bacon, the man who is sometimes referred to as the "pioneer of modern scientific thought". This article and photograph of Francis Bacon is presented in the historical figures section from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Web site.

Topic: Bacon, Francis,--1561-1626





Voltaire: On Francis Bacon


This letter was written by the great philosopher Voltaire, following a discussion with his associates about who was the greatest man. It not only discusses the contributions of Sir Francis Bacon to experimental philosophy and why they were of such great significance but also provides a historical context for them. With great esteem for Bacon, whom he calls "our illustrious Thuanus," he compares his discoveries to those of people who came before him and adds anecdotal information about Bacon's life and work. You will find this document worth browsing although there may be references to some things which are not familiar. Search by keyword for related information on the Internet Modern History Sourcebook main page.

Topic: Bacon, Francis,--1561-1626



Women - Olympe de Gouges 1745 - 1793
"She was a popular playwright and she strongly advocated the rights of French women."
Much more.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)  
German poet, novelist, playwright, courtier, and natural philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe earned early fame with the publication of The Sorrows of Young Werther in 1774, but Faust, a poetic drama in two parts, is his most famous work. Considered one of the greatest figures in Western literature, Goethe also pursued interests in alchemy, biology, and physics (he developed a non-Newtonian and unorthodox theory of the character of light and color that influenced such abstract painters). Suggestions for additional reading and a list of works complement this literary biography.
Topic: Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von,--1749-1832 Language: English Lexile: 1170    
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe         

The son of a lawyer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was tutored in languages and memorized literary passages by Homer and Ovid. While studying law, he wrote poetry and a satirical crime comedy. While practicing progressive law, he wrote a novel and collaborated on plays. Learn about his epic poem Faust, which was adapted for opera. In addition to being a poet and lawyer, Goethe was a scientist and philosopher. His writings inspired Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Topic: Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von,--1749-1832   Language: English    Lexile: 1370  Biography      


John Locke


Known as the "father of empiricism", John Locke advocated his belief that all knowledge is attained through the use of the senses, through his writings. This site documents Locke's childhood, raised the son of an attorney, through his education in which he became a physician and philosopher. The site also discusses his thoughts, opinions, and ideas about man, existence, society, and government. The often radical thinking characteristic of John Locke, which is evident in the few works published by him, are also discussed.

Topic: Empiricism, Locke, John,--1632-1704



John Locke


One of the greatest philosophers in Europe at the end of the seventeenth century was John Locke. Understand the history behind the time in which Locke lived and see why it was considered one of the most extraordinary centuries of English political and intellectual history. Read about his monumental work called An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and see when and why he wrote the Two Treaties of Government. A bibliography of Locke's works is included.

Topic: Locke, John,--1632-1704, Philosophers, Modern






René Descartes


The Galileo Project Web site features a collection of biographical fact sheets describing the achievements and contributions of scientists who built upon the work of the great scientist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. The information on French scientific philosopher René Descartes includes his birth, family history, religion, and education, as well as his scientific pursuits, important discoveries, fellow researchers, and patrons. There is also a site link to a page of "Portraits" that features a picture of Descartes and other scientists of his era.

Topic: Descartes, Rene,--1596-1650



Descartes' Life and Works


Here is an informative look at the life and accomplishments of philosopher Descartes. You will learn about his early life, starting in his childhood and taking you through his army career and his interest in mathematics. You will then get a look into Descartes famous writings, The World and Discourse, The Meditations, The Principles and The Passions, that are described on this page. This is a great resource for detailed information about this historical figure's contributions to mathematics and science.

Topic: Descartes, Rene,--1596-1650, Philosophers, Modern




Library of Economics and Liberty
The free access to the encyclopedia gives pertinent information aboutAdam
Smith. Also includes David Hume.

Thomas Paine


Common Sense, The Crisis, The Rights of Man, and Age of Reason are all writings by the late Thomas Paine that are available for you to read when you visit this site. Paine's beginnings started back in Thetford, England where he was born on January 29, 1737. He started out working for his father as a corsetiere after he failed out of school. Paine's misfortunes in the jobs he held led him to his journey to America. When you visit this site you will find a brief biography on Thomas Paine and discover the important role he played in America.

Topic: Paine, Thomas,--1737-1809





Tom Paine


In this biography of Thomas Paine you will learn about the man that had a great impact on the writing of the Declaration of Independence. He wrote the famous pamphlet Common Sense that debated the idea of England breaking away from the rule of the king. Paine wrote the pamphlet soon after he was offered a job by Benjamin Franklin as the editor of Pennsylvania Magazine. It sold over 150,000 copies. His writing caused colonists to seek the need for independence from England. You will also learn about the diversified jobs and careers Thomas Paine held.

Topic: Paine, Thomas,--1737-1809