Sample Essay on Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment also known as Age of Reason or simply Enlightenment was a cultural movement comprised of intellectuals which started in the 17th century in Europe. It emphasized on individualism and reason instead of tradition. Lets delve deeper into this topic in this Sample Essay on Age of Enlightenment.
The purpose of the movement was reforming society by use of reason and challenging ideas that were grounded in faith and tradition as well as advancing knowledge through scientific method. It promoted skepticism, intellectual interchange and scientific thought.
In the human thought, the enlightenment was viewed as a revolution. Intellectual leaders of the movement viewed themselves as elite and courageous and regarded their purpose as that of leading the world towards progress.
There are different factors that contributed towards growth of Age of Enlightenment and some of these include:
- The clout of the state and the church.
- Power struggle between the state and the church.
- The western discovery of new societies that had radically different norms and cultural traditions.
A large percentage of intellectuals also felt unhappy and discontent with the social striations which were fixed among their collectives and annoyed by the unwillingness of their governments to grant them personal rights.
All these aspects paved the way for Cultural Revolution which promoted new values and ideas concerning economic, political and philosophical debates. There was also growing skepticism about the absolute authority of the church and monarchy that sowed seeds for a revolution that was intent on freedom, individualism, self determination as well as other agents of change.
Age of Enlightenment was operational in most countries and while this is the case, it had a specific local emphasis. For instance, in a region such as France, it was associated with anti-church radicalism and anti-government while in Germany it spread deep into middle classes and expressed a nationalistic and spiritualistic tone that did not threaten the established churches or the governments.
The response of governments also varied greatly. The government of France for instance was hostile against the philosophies and fought for its censorship. There were instances when some believers of the enlightenment movement were either hounded into exile or imprisoned.
On the other hand, the British government ignored the Enlightenment leaders in Scotland and England though it did give Isaac Newton a knighthood as well as a lucrative government office that was in charge of the mint.
In most of the nations though, some of the powerful rulers called by historians ‘enlightenment despots’ welcome Enlightenment leaders at court and asked them to help design new reform programs and laws in order to build national states that were stronger.
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