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Angeles, Ricardo Luis C.

History 18: Western History


Gutierrez, Samantha B. Second Semester, SY 2015-2016
Magno, Jose Anton Vernelli Y. Dr. Stephanie Marie Coo, PhD
Ochoa, Job P.
Santos, Alfonso Vicente Ignacio P.
Saulog, Margarita Maria Isabella V.
Villonco, Camille Bianca P.

The Age of Enlightenment

Outline
I. Scope and Limitations of Paper
II. Timeline of Events
III. Introduction on the Age of Enlightenment
IV. Philosophies and Politics
A. British Empiricist Philosophers
1. Bishop George Berkeley
2. John Locke
3. David Hume
B. Other Philosophers
1. Jean Jacques Rousseau
2. Francois-Marie Arouet aka Voltaire
3. Immanuel Kant
4. Adam Smith
V. Women in the Enlightenment
A. Mary Wollstonecraft
B. Mary Astell
C. Marie-Therese Geoffrin
VI. Spaces in the Enlightenment
A. Made popular by women
B. Salons
C. Coffee Houses
VII. French Revolution
A. The Three Estates
B. Causes of the French Revolution
1. Inequality
2. Enlightenment
3. Economic
4. Leadership
VIII. Conclusion

Scope and Limitations

The paper consists of the definition of the Age of Enlightenment, information on the the
philosophies that emerged in this time, the philosophers who began them like the British Empiricist
Philosophers, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Immanuel Kant, Adam Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft,
Mary Astell, Marie-Therese Geoffrin, the role of women in this period, the dynamics and significance
of public spaces in this period, and its connection and an introduction to the French Revolution. These
topics are those that we think are most important to the Age of Enlightenment in contrast with the
other major historical periods, and those that we consider appropriate to study in a survey course with
limited time, such as HI18. This paper is only limited from the seven (7) book sources we have found
in the Rizal library and the seven (7) web sources we found online.

Timeline of Events
See Appendix, Figure 1.

Introduction

This Age of Enlightenment is also known as the Age of Reason, which was enabled by the
Scientific Revolution. At this period, there was a burst of intellectual, social, cultural, political and
philosophical movements that spread around areas in Europe such as England, France, and Germany
ranging from 1650s up until the 1800s. The Enlightenment produced numerous books, essays,
inventions, scientific discoveries, laws, wars and revolutions.
Amongst all of the 18th century thinkers, Immanuel Kant was able to describe the era in his
An answer to the question: what is Enlightenment?
essay entitled in which he wrote:
Enlightenment is mans emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is
the inability to use ones own understanding without the guidance of another. This
immaturity is self-incurred if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of
resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another. The motto of the
Enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude (dare to know)!
Have courage to use your own
understanding (Kant, 1784).
During this era, intellectual movements advocated freedom, democracy and reason, because of
this people's minds were free from ignorance which paved way for philosophies of the people. Famous
philosophers in this era were Bishop George Berkeley, John Locke, and David Hume. These three men
formed the British Empiricism, their movement revolved around the idea that origin of all knowledge
is sense experience. This gave rise to Bishop George Berkeleys theory of immaterialism and idea of
solipsism. What made Berkeley different from John Locke and David Hume is that he believed that
what individuals were experiencing are through Gods language, and all reality is effectively mental. The
other notable philosophers from this era are Jean Jacques Rousseau, Francois-Marie Arouet also
known as Voltaire, Immanuel Kant, and Adam Smith. Jean Jacques Rousseau, unlike Hume, saw
humans in a more optimistic manner since humans were naturally good. Rousseau believed that a
simple life has a higher probability to forming humans into less independent beings. Secondly, another
philosopher, Voltaire was also a famous writer and historian. He was a polemicist who fought for the
peoples civil rights. Thirdly, Immanuel Kant was also a philosopher but he focused on metaphysics,
epistemology and ethics. He even instituted the movement of German idealism and had Kantalism,
which was named after him. Lastly, we have Adam Smith, who connected economy with philosophy.
He showed how people thought with money in mind.
We can see that majority of the Age of Enlightenment is most often seen through the
descriptions of male philosophers, writers, and politicians. Women were often displayed to have limited
exposure to economic and political rights. They were confined by traditional gender roles, thus
presenting them as submissive, domestic, and inferior beings who could not match the intellect and
accomplishments of men. Jean Jacques Rousseau was one of the male philosophers who concluded
that females should not posses the same rights as men. He had works about the discrimination for
women, showing a negative effect on the way the females were treated in society. However, there were
many male thinkers that saw the inferiority of women to men, there were some who believed that
women and men were actually capable of equal intellect. Rene Descartes and John Locke were male
philosophers who had a similar notion that men and women possessed a common human nature and
and were intellectual equals. While, Paul-Joseph Barthez greatly emphasized the importance of female
education. Voltaire had also stated that women are capable of all that men are.
There were notable female characters at that time, two of them were: Mary Wollstonecraft and
Mary Astell. Wollstonecraft is the founder of classical liberal feminism, she had a stand on feminism
and womens rights. Her works served as the base for future feminist writings. Astell shared similar
views with Wollstonecraft on the education of women. She was known for her works and her legacy as
one of the first feminists as an inspiration for many writers who supported womens rights.
Women were a force and the masterminds to a significant key in the Age of Enlightenment
society. They came up with the idea of the use of physical spaces as incubators of new ideas. In France,
this physical space is called the salon, usually a room in a private house where people were invited to
come over and have discussions on specific topics. Salons were made popular by the following
women: Madame Therese Geoffrin, Mademoiselle de Lespinasse, and Madame Necker. Geoffrin was
one of the most elite French women in this time and most important salonierre. She educated herself
with gatherings in salons with different creative and intellectual minds. Likewise, in London, people
gathered and held lively discussions in coffee houses. Coffee houses were open to everybody instead of
being invite-only, although specific social circles were identified with specific coffee houses.
The Enlightenment period can also be traced in the events that can define a nation. An event
such as a revolution that can determine the political, economical, and cultural aspect of a country. The
French Revolution resulted in the disestablishment of the monarchy of and the establishment of
France as a republic. It primarily revolved around the people in the social hierarchy that France had.
Most of the theories and facts in science were founded in the period of Enlightenment. Also,
new approaches to reasoning and problem solving were discovered at this era. This period grew out the
turmoil of Europe following the rise of the absolute monarchs. The ideas, principles and works in this
era still continues to affect Europe and the rest of the word even until today. The Age of
Enlightenment marks the era of awareness and reason shown through numerous new ideas and
concretized by philosophies, the rise of women in the academic and social environment, and the use of
public spaces.

Philosophies and Politics

The Age of Enlightenment was an intellectual movement that advocated freedom, democracy,
and reason. Because of this movement, the peoples mind were freed from ignorance, which then gave
birth to the philosophies of the people in that era.
One of the philosophers that shone through that era was Bishop George Berkeley. He was
sometimes considered the father of modern idealism because he was best known for his theory of
Immaterialism. Together with John Locke, and David Hume, they formed the British Empiricism. This
movement revolves around the idea that the origin of all knowledge is sense experience. This gave rise
to his theory of Immaterialism. He states that reality only consists of minds and their ideas. The
individuals during that era can directly know sensations and ideas, and not the objects themselves. He
also proposed the idea of Solipsism. Solipsism deals with the idea that the mind is the only thing that
exists and anything outside of it is unjustified. The idea of Solipsism can also be viewed under a type of
Empiricism where any knowledge obtained by individuals is only attained through direct perception of
their minds. He argues that for an object to exist and the person being aware of it is exactly the same
thing, and that it was through their experience that they know about this concept. What makes Berkeley
different from the other Empiricists such as Locke and Hume is that he believes that what individuals
are experiencing were only ideas sent from God, and not the things themselves.
Berkeley recognized theological loopholes in his theory so he argued that if one saws a table,
then the table exists. However, if no one saw the table, then it could only continue to exist if it was in
an infinite mind that perceives all, that is God. He argues that God is the sole reason that causes
individuals to experience physical objects by giving them the will to experience matter.
To sum up the ideas and theories of Bishop George Berkeley, he states that there exists an
infinite spirit, i.e God, and finite spirits, i.e humans, and these two are in constant communication
through the human's experience. Therefore, what the humans are experiencing in this world are
through Gods language, and all reality is effectively mental.
Another prominent philosopher was Voltaire, whose real name is Francois-Marie Arouet. He
was a French philosopher and writer who was an avid supporter of social reform during that era. He
was known for fighting for the defence of civil liberties, freedom of religion, and free trade, even if
there were censorship laws that has their own associated harsh penalties.
Voltaire was very well known in France because he was a courageous polemicist who fought
for the peoples civil rights. He also denounced the hypocrisies and injustices that were prevalent of the
Ancien Regime, which involved an unfair balance of power and taxes between the First Estate, i.e the
clergy, the Second Estate, i.e. the nobles, and the Third Estate, i.e. the commoners and middle class.
Voltaire saw the people of France in a negative way. He saw the French bourgeoisie as too small and
ineffective, the aristocrats as parasitic and corrupt, the commoners as ignorant and superstitious, and
the church as a force that was only useful to provide backing of revolutions.
He distrusted the idea of democracy because in his perspective, democracy was propagating the
idiocy of the masses. He saw that an enlightened monarch, a benevolent despotism similar to that
advocated Plato, advised by philosophers like him as the only way to bring out the necessary change in
France. He argues that it was in the enlightened monarchs interest to bring about the change or
improve the power and wealth of his subjects and kingdom.
David Hume, on the other hand, was a Scottish Philosopher, economist and historian in this
era. He is with John Locke and Bishop George Berkeley as the three main figureheads of the
influential British movement (Mastin 2008). To Hume, the two types of knowledge are relations of
ideas and matters of fact. This split is referred to as Humes Fork. Relations of ideas are analytic
truths. He regarded these as priori
, meaning that these statements are true to everyone regardless of
their own individual experiences. Mathematical statements like 1+5 = 6 is an example of an analytic
truth. These statements are true by their definition and the definition of the terms in them. Relations of
ideas are, in Humes words, discoverable by the mere operation of thought, without dependence on
what is anywhere existent in the universe (Enquiry IV as cited by Fieser) . It is like saying, All
bachelors are unmarried. By the very definition of a bachelor, this statement is true and cannot be
contradicted. On the other hand, matters of fact are more rooted to experience and physical
manifestations. To Hume they are posteriori
. Any matter of fact can be proven wrong (Brown & Morris
2014).
Hume believes that our acknowledgement of matters of fact to be true stem from constant
conjunction. Constant conjunction is when an event that is perceived as the cause happens directly
before another event which is perceived as the effect. To Hume, our beliefs are just habits. The
repeated times that a causal event happens before an effect leads to the thought that these two
events are associated with one another even if it is unjustifiable that one leads to another (Enquiry V ii).
A common example for this would be the thought that when tomorrow comes, the sun will rise. It is
not a guarantee that the sun really will rise tomorrow, although it is highly likely. In this sense, Hume
finds the method of induction, the thinking process of science, to be problematic. Nothing can be
generalized from specific recurring details to absolute truths.
Aside from this, Hume also created the Bundle Theory. This theory states that everything is
merely a bundle of perceptions. These perceptions are characteristics of an object or a person that are
being projected to the world around it. For example a few perceptions of a chair could be that its
brown, has four legs and is made of wood. What becomes problematic with this theory of Hume is that
it denies the existence of everything. The chair that was just mentioned does not actually exist. Instead
it is just a bundle of characteristics put together causing people to be perceived as a chair. A chair that
is merely a chair does not exist. To defend this idea, Hume challenges anyone to come up with anything
without any perceptions. This became controversial because to Hume, this also applies to humans.
According to Hume and his Bundle theory, Humans do not exist.
In a nutshell, Humes philosophy is simply Skepticism. The world, if it even exists, known to
man is simply something that cannot be fully understood. The basis of our knowledge is experience as
it is the closest people can get to the truth. However human experience is something very limited. With
this he does not even accept the idea of a god because god cannot be proven through human
experience. In fact, he does not even accept the existence of humans because humans and objects are
merely a bundle of perceptions put together.
Another notable philosopher of this era would be Jean Jacques Rousseau. Unlike Hume who
was known for being skeptical, Rousseau viewed humans in a more optimistic manner. Rousseau saw
humans as naturally good (Bertram 2010). However, humans are not naturally good in the sense or
morality because to Rousseau morality isnt something that is natural. Morality is something that human
develop as they experience life.
The problem with humans is that they are corrupted by society. The presence of a society leads
to what Rousseau would call Amour Propre or self love.
Amour Propre can also be interpreted as vanity,
greed, pride or other self centered negative characteristics. Society caused humans to compare
themselves with each other. This leads to humans craving for gratification and respect. Humans created
identities that are based on the people around them. With society, there became a lack of looking
internally and recognizing the individual's own wants and needs. Everything became a competition for
status superiority.
In order to prove his view on humans being naturally good, Rousseau compared humans
around him with primitive humans or noble savages (though Rousseau never used this term). By
tracing back to human ancestors, he found that compared to the people of his time, the more primitive
humans lived more simple lives of passion, compassion, generosity, pity, etc (Martin 2008).
Jean Jacques Rousseau thought humans were born good. That is why to him, babies should not
be view as blank slates or evil beings. Parents are to raise their children using the most natural
processes to try to fend off the corruption that society can bring to people. Society can make people
self centered. To Rousseau a simple life has a higher probability to forming humans into less
interdependent beings.
To add to this roster of philosophers is Immanuel Kant, one of the most well known
philosophers in this age. His main focuses were metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. He instituted the
movement of German Idealism and had Kantianism, which is named after him, flourish during his life.
One of Kants biggest and most original contributions would be the idea that it is the
representation that makes the object possible, rather than the object that makes the representation
possible (Mastin 2008). This paved the way for the idea of the human mind being the originator of an
object rather than something that merely receives information. This helped us unravel the fact th at the
mind is at the center of in
quiry (Mastin 2008).
Kant had written many masterpieces, but one stands out, and taking more than a decade to
write, it was also one of his known works. This is the Kritik der reinen Vernunft
or the Critique of Pure
Reason. He argues in what is called his first Critique, is that empirical objects, or objects that we can
perceive are real, they may not be transcendentally real. To be able to know if something is
transcendentally real, one must be able to transcend from his perceptual limitations. Thus, we do not
know what other objects exist other than what we can perceive. Although this may sound worrying,
Kant also says that it should not be a problem.
When it comes to ethics, Kants view is on the deontological side, which means that he focuses
of the ethics of the action itself, rather than the ethics of the consequences of said action. For his
contributions on this study, he developed the theory of the Categorical Imperative. Simply said, it
means that you must act the way you want the universal law to be, which may be applied to anyone in
the same situation. Another part of this theory that has is somewhat controversial is that an individual
must treat towards someone as the ends, and not as the means, even if the action is done for the
greater good.
Another philosopher born around the time of Kant is Adam Smith. Although he was one of
Scotlands main economists, he was also one of its leading philosophers.
Smiths first published work was The Theory of Modern Sentiments. He revised this work
multiple times throughout his life, even until shortly before his death. To put it simply, his book
explains how man works morally despite the fact that man is prone to working through self interest. It
also speaks about how sympathy is developed, by observing others, one is made aware of himself.
Although this sympathy may go against his other works on Individualism or Egoism, he states that
this sympathy may also work for ones self interest.
He also connected economy with philosophy, showing how people thought with money in
mind. He said that what motivates someone in the economic aspect is selfishness and greed, it would
benefit society as a whole by the inclination to keep prices at a minimum. He was one of the most well
known philosophers due to his economic connections to philosophy.
These philosophers are only a handful of those that emerged in the Age of Enlightenment for
this age brought about a whole new way of thinking for people. The philosophers mentioned, along
with the multitude that arose in the era helped the bloom of these new philosophies.

Women in the Enlightenment

The history of the Age of Enlightenment is most often seen through the narratives of brilliant
male philosophers, writers, and politicians. In these narratives, women were often shown to have
limited exposure to economic and political rights, and were confined by traditional gender roles. These
roles presented women as submissive, domestic, and inferior beings who could not match the intellect
and accomplishments of men. During this period, many male philosophers supported this view of
women by arguing that this difference between males and females was a cause of natural biological
outcomes such as having smaller brains that could not develop the rational capabilities of a man.
(Spielvogel, 2008, p. 326).
Jean Jacques Rousseau was one of the philosophers who concluded that females should not
possess the same rights as men. His works were often tainted with much discrimination for women,
displaying a negative effect on the treatment of women in society. In Rousseaus Emile (1762), he
created a system of education that would form a citizen of the new idealized state. However, this
account remained utterly conservative regarding womens education, labeling a womans purpose in life
to tend to her husband and make his life pleasant (Lerner, 1993, p. 211). In Gerda Lerners The
Creation of Feminist Consciousness (1993), it mentions Rousseaus view on female education was for a
woman to love her duties toward men and to carry them out intelligently and cheerfully (p. 211).
Although he showed much disdain for the rights of a woman, he regarded the role of being a wife and
mother as ultimately fulfilling and noble. This gave a sense of purpose to women of the middle and
nobility class (Boyer-Switala, 2010).
Although many male thinkers saw the inferiority of women to men, there were some who
believed that women and men were actually capable of equal intellect. Rene Descartes and John Locke
had a similar notion that men and women possessed a common human nature and and were intellectual
equals. Descartes Cartesian dualism stated that whether male or female the mind was not shaped by
the body it went with (Kidner et al., 2009, p. 502). His rationalism had denied the idea of education
being the source of higher insight. For him, logical reason and thinking was a universal power (Lerner,
1993, p. 210). Similarly, Locke had the idea that mind was like a blank sheet of paper, thus there cannot
be a difference between male and female minds for they were both subject to the same experiences and
stimuli. Aside from Descartes and Lockes views on the workings of the human mind, many other
philosophers presented ideas that supported the equal intellect of men and women. Paul-Joseph
Barthez greatly emphasized the importance of female education, and he believed that other societies
have produced intelligent women who are highly skilled in a variety of aspects. In his article Femme
on the anthropology of a woman in Encyclopdie (1751), he wrote:
We have so severely neglected the education of women among all of the refined peoples, that
it is surprising that we can identify so many whose erudition and written works have made
them renowned. pp. 468-471
Denis Diderot agreed with Montesquieu that a woman's role as a mother is simply one aspect of her
life; therefore, it cannot be used to generalize or define the complete image of a woman. Voltaire had
also stated that women are capable of all that men are and that there was no such thing as the idea of
distinct male and female minds (Spielvogel, 2008, p. 326).
While ideas of individualism and rationality started emerging, women writers and thinkers
began to challenge their role in society. They presented new perspectives to the roles of women and
gave suggestions on changing their conditions (Spielvogel, 2008, p. 326). One of the important voices
that stood for the equality of women was Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797). Wollstonecraft is often
regarded as the founder of classical liberal feminism and has contributed greatly to the feminist
perspective with her work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and
Moral Subjects (1792) (Campbell, 2011). In her book, Wollstonecraft offered a response to the
philosophers and writers who believed women should not receive a formal education. She stated that
women are only perceived as being inferior to men due to their lack of education (Kidner et al., 2009,
p. 502). She argued that the so-called deficiencies women possess would disappear if only they were
equally educated with men. For Wollstonecraft, women are human beings who are capable of thinking
rationally like men. However, she did not call for the equal rights of men and women for she still
believed that women were naturally suited for lives as wives and mothers (Saylor Academy, 2015).
According to her, God gave all humans natural rights; therefore, women should possess these rights as
well. With her early stand on feminism and womens rights, Mary Wollstonecrafts works served as a
key source for future feminist writings.
Another prominent feminist writer during the Enlightenment period was Mary Astell
(1666-1731). Mary Astell shared similar views with Wollstonecraft regarding the education of women.
Her well-known books A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, for the Advancement of Their True and
Greatest Interest (1694) and A Serious Proposal, Part II proposed the idea of having a womens college
where theyll receive a formal education and develop their intellectual and moral faculties (Colburn,
2008). Astells other work, Some Reflections upon Marriage, Occasion'd by the Duke and Dutchess of
Mazarine's Case (1700), suggested that women living in a patriarchal society at the hands of unjust and
abusive husbands should just avoid marriage. Because of the dominant position of men in society, she
advocated the independence of women from men through women educating and supporting
themselves and seeking friendships with other women (Colburn, 2008). Astell's works and legacy as one
of the first feminists became inspiration for many writers who supported womens rights during the
Enlightenment era, even fellow influential writer Mary Wollstonecraft.
Throughout the Enlightenment period, women found ways to explore and enhance their
intellect in their own domestic private sphere. They participated in the salon culture which were social
and intellectual gatherings that paved way for free discussion of the latest cultural trends and topics
(Saylor Academy, 2015). These gatherings were spaces for fun and entertaining intellectual stimulation.
Marie-Therese Geoffrin (1699-1777), one of the most elite French women during this time, was
perhaps the most important salonierre. Originally from the middle class, Madame Geoffrin was able to
educate herself to the upper class of the French society (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2016). Her famous
gatherings catered to many creative and intellectual minds. This allowed her to correspond with
Catherine the Great of Russia and even sponsor Diderots Encyclopdie. Her work during this period
transformed the salon culture into from a noble, leisure institution into an institution of the
Enlightenment (Goodman, 1989).

Spaces in the Enlightenment

We now know that women were a force in the Age of Enlightenment society. But more than
that, they were the masterminds to a significant key to the Enlightenment: the use of physical spaces as
incubators of new ideas. In France, such a place is the salon, made popular by Madame Therese
Geoffrin and her apprentices Mademoiselle de Lespinasse, and Madame Necker.
The salon, according to Larousse which was a French encyclopedic dictionary, simply referred
to a room for rest after hunting, having friends over for dinner, and the like, until the nineteenth
century when the word salon referred to the social gathering happening within a salon room. The
word can then be used for both the physical space and the event happening within it. The concept
actually originated in Italy, possibly a result of the extravagance of the Renaissance period, and was only
brought into the palaces and hotels of France during the seventeenth century (specifically to Versailles
and hotel de Soubise) . To mimic the lifestyles of the powerful, households later began to have mini
versions of salons in their own homes, where they could host their friends as they came over for
dinner, conversation, and the like. (Goodman, 1989, p. 330)
In the Age of Enlightenment, a salon was a place, usually a room in a private house, where
people were invited to come over and hold discussions about specified topics. It was a venue where
nobles and non-nobles, men and later on women, came together and were equal as long as they were in
that space(Goodman, 1989, p. 331). The salon was a central clearing house for people to meet others
with a common purpose, and for them to hear about the latest news, information, and gossip
(Goodman, 1989, p. 340). It was also a place for manuscripts to be read (Goodman, 1989, p.344) and
for authors and speakers to be discovered. One could also get a good meal, as the women offered to
exchange delicious food for the presence of an intellectual. Madame Geoffrin, for example, thought
that the bait of a good dinner might be attractive to thinkers and to creators of the beautiful(Noziere,
n.d., p.256). The women who maintained the room and organized the talks, called salonirres, would
also invite the guests, decide on the topics to be discussed, cook a meal, and shift the tone of the salon
from a casual, leisure gathering place to a place of discourse and seriousness. It was an art that was
learned. Women generally managed the salons, and men were the participants. Salons were, according
to Goodman:
directed by male guests, rather than female salonnieres. Women both provided and
structured the space- social and discursive-that was the salon, but men filled that space
with their projects of Enlightenment that would change the world through changing the
common way of thinking (p. 331)
Later on though, women began to be admitted to salons instead of simply helping the host as
an apprentice, the first woman of which was Mademoiselle de Lespinasse. Women actually learned how
to manage their own salons by apprenticing in other, usually older womens, salons. Madame Geoffrin
apprenticed under a Madame de Tencin, and later Geoffrin would patronize Mademoiselle de
Lespinasse. It is significant to note that this was present despite women not joining the workforce nor
wanting to be a part of it at that point in time. Therefore there must be something driving the women
to have their own salons. (Goodman, 1989, p. 333)
The main reason why salons came about were because women were curious about the world
around them and wanted to be educated like their male counterparts. Education for their gender only
came through private tutors which were then very expensive. Aside from sheer wonder about the
world, women also created the salon because they wanted a place to get together with people and
interact without having to gamble, which had become widespread at that time. Others even claim that
women were motivated to manage a salon by their unsatisfying marriages. Women at the time were
married off as teenagers to men who were pre-chosen for them by their parents. Madame Geoffrin for
example was married to a man four times her age. Since they did not marry out of love, women lacked
true satisfaction and passion in their lives, so it was displaced to organizing a salon which gave them the
excitement and thirst for life that they craved (Noziere, n.d.). Some say that the women set up salons to
gain fame. After careful studying though, one can see that these sources are biased towards the society
revolving around men, and they tend to glorify the actions of certain ones. Madame Geoffrin was
accused of this, but we are still led to believe that she was just one among many women who developed
a new sense of ambition and who wanted to learn from other powerful, intelligent, and ambitious
people (Goodman, 1989, pp. 332-333).
Why salons and not a more public space? Let us take the other major space in this period, the
coffee houses of England. Compared to Londons coffee houses, Frances cafs were not as safe. Spies
and policemen were everywhere to detect any conversation against the king and his policies (Withers,
2008, p.79). The French then had to resort to a more private space to truly have the freedom of
expression they craved.
A main result of the emergence of salons was that women became more aware and acquired
knowledge that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to gain had they not organized salons.
The culture also empowered women as they took their own initiatives to gain that knowledge.
Sometimes though, the empowerment they gain leads to self-entitlement and self-righteousness. This
was said about a salonierre: She was rather a prig- it is the besetting sin of ladies who have a literary
salon and ...little by little they grow bolder, till, encouraged by friendly praise they come, in all
good faith, to believe themselves the intellectual equals of the artists and men of letters who surround
them. (Noziere, n.d., p. 258). More than anything though, salons, if they were handled by great
salonierres, were the place where people could express their knowledge without judgment and uncover
their skills for speech and criticism. A passage about Abbe se Saint Pierre, a man who did not expect
to participate much in salons, about Madame Geoffrin, he was merely an instrument that she could
play. (Noziere, n.d., p.262) The salon became an instrument for Enlightenment by being a safe,
private, undiscriminating haven to discuss and build on each others ideas which characterize the Age
of Enlightenment.
Similarly in London, England, people gathered and held lively discussions in coffee houses.
There were several of these places around the country, and they were dubbed penny universities
because of the depth and volume of knowledge one could gain just for the price of a cup of coffee.
Aside from these, gossip, demonstrations, and news were commonly seen and heard as well. Coffee
houses were open to everybody instead of being invite-only, although specific social circles were
identified with specific coffee houses. For example, stockbrokers were the majority in Jonathans,
artists flocked to Old Slaughters, and Newtonianism followers had the Marine Coffee House as their
base. Due to this specialization of sorts and to the physical space that binded the people together,
various societies formed such as the Coffee House Philosophical Society in Paul Yard, and the
Spitalfields Mathematical Society. The latter was known to have members with diverse careers
including weavers, teachers, apothecaries, and brewers, but whom all stand for education and
mathematics (Withers, 2008, pp. 77-78). These societies provided formal groups with a consistent
meeting place and topics to tackle for discussing and demonstrating, thus furthering Enlightenment in
those fields.
Local space was a physical, social, and epistemic thing. (Withers, 2008, p.78). They could
get together freely in a tangible place and let their minds run free. It was in these more or less private
spaces where people did not have to worry about the discrimination and biases of the governing bodies
of their countries Royal Society in England and monarchy in France (Withers, 2008, p. 79). They were
democratic and inclusive. Ultimately, these spaces tell us that Enlightenment was very local and began
at the micro level, building up until the whole epoch was known for it. These spaces affirm that even in
the smallest spaces and in the simplest meetings, Enlightenment was to be found.

The French Revolution

On the other hand, Enlightenment can also be traced in the events that can define a nation.
Macro events such as revolutions that can determine the political, economical, and cultural aspect of a
country. In this case, it can be found in the French Revolution against the monarchy that occurred
from 1789 to 1799. This resulted in the disestablishment of the Monarchy of and the establishment of
France as a republic. The French Revolution primarily revolved around the people in the social
hierarchy that France had. This social hierarchy of France was divided into three sections or estates.
According to Hazen (1917), the First Estate of France was made up of the clergy and some
priests of the Roman Catholic Church. They were the keeper of records of births, marriages, and
deaths of the French people. In addition, they had the power to impose a tax of 10% called tithe and
was reported to have a scorn against enlightenment ideas. Hazen (1917) states that the Second Estate
of France was made up of the rich nobles of the society; this included members of the Royal Family.
They had the privilege of being able to hold high offices in government and had no obligation to pay
any taxes. The people in this estate also had to power to collect tithes and also disagreed with the ideas
of enlightenment. About 97% of the people belonged to the Third Estate which consisted of
bourgeoisie, urban lower class, peasant farmers, and basically everyone else. They had none of the
rights and privileges of the other two estates.
There were members of the Third Estate that were dissatisfied with the current social hierarchy
and who wanted freedom and more equal distribution of wealth and power between the three. This
empowered the revolution of the people of France. The inequality experienced by the Third Estate led
the paveway for the Forces of Change of the revolution, which were Enlightenment Ideas, Economic
Problems, and Weak Leadership.
During the age of Enlightenment, new ideas and views of the government spread among the
people of the Third Estate. The people started questioning the views of the government and the
structure of the social hierarchy.
According to Schama in his book Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (1990), he
quoted DAntraigues stating that The Third Estate is the People and the People is the foundation of
the State; it is in fact the State itself; the People is everything. Everything should be subordinated to
it. . . . It is in the People that all national power resides and for the People that all states exist.
Economic problems started to show in the country as the economy of the nation was starting
to decline. The taxes implemented by the crown made it impossible to set up businesses and sustain
them properly. The cost of living shot up drastically and made life difficult for everyone.
To top it all off, the presence of a weak leader did not help France at all. King Louis XVI was
an incompetent and indecisive king. He barely listened to his advisers and only listened to the queens
advices. The queen only added to the problem at hand and often interfered with the government.
Rather than interfering and cutting expenses to lessen the nations debt, Louis kept setting aside the
issue to the point that he was bankrupt. According to Hanzen (1917) his solution was to impose taxes
on the nobility. However, the Second Estate forced him to call a meeting of the Estates-General an
assembly of representatives from all three estatesto approve this new tax.

Conclusion
Most of the theories and facts in science were founded in the period of Enlightenment. Also,
new approaches to reasoning and problem solving were discovered at this era. This period grew out the
turmoil of Europe following the rise of the absolute monarchs. The ideas, principles and works in this
era still continues to affect Europe and the rest of the word even until today.
Amongst all of the 18th century thinkers, Immanuel Kant was able to describe the era in his
essay entitled An answer to the question: what is Enlightenment? in which he wrote:
Enlightenment is mans emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to
use ones own understanding without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred if its
cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of
another. The motto of the Enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude (dare to know)! Have courage to
use your own understanding (Kant, 1784).
Bibliography

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Mary Wollstonecraft, founder of classical liberal feminism


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Appendix

I. Timeline

1651 Hobbes Leviathan is published

1687 Newtons Principia is published

1690 Lockes Two Treatises on Government

1694-1778 Voltaires life span

1715 Louis XIV dies

1715-1774 Louis XV reigns as King of France

1751 Voltaires The Age of Louis XIV is published

1751-1765 Diderots The Encyclopedia is published

1756 Mozart is born

1758 Voltaires Candide is published

1762 Rousseaus Social Contract is published

1776 Smiths The Wealth of Nations is published

1784 Kants Critique of Pure Reason is published

1789 French Revolution begins

1804 Napoleon crowns himself as Emperor of France

II. Group Members Work

Name Work Assigned Actual Work Done Leaders Rating

Angeles, Carlo Philosophers: Bishop Introduction to


George Berekeley and Philosophers,
Voltaire Philosophers: Bishop
George Berkeley and
Voltaire, got coffee
grounds for classroom
smell

Gutierrez, Sam Spaces in the Spaces in the


Enlightenment Enlightenment, added
to Scope and
Limitations, skimmed
whole paper for
corrections, brought
aprons for
presentation

Magno, Anton Philosophers: David Thought of the game,


Hume and Jean bought candy
Jacques Rousseau giveaway for
classmates,
Philosophers: David
Hume and Jean
Jacques Rousseau,
Dictated which
Philosophers to
research on

Ochoa, Job Philosophers: Philosophers:


Immanuel Kant and Immanuel Kant and
Adam Smith and Adam Smith,
philosophers philosophers
conclusion conclusion, got the
coffee giveaway for
Maam Coo

Santos, Ponch The French The French


Revolution Revolution, created
the PowerPoint
presentation

Saulog, Marga Women in the Women in the


Enlightenment Enlightenment, made
decor for the
classroom, printed
handouts for class

Villonco, Camille Introduction, Scope Introduction, Scope


and Limitations, and Limitations,
Timeline of Events Timeline of Events,
was in charge of the
game and handout