AP Euro Chapter 16: Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment
Terms in this set (20)
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was a Polish monk who created the heliocentric theory stating that the sun, not earth, was at the center of the universe. His theory put the stars at rest and thus destroyed the main reason for believing in crystal spheres capable of moving the stars around the earth. It also suggested that the universe was huge and in creating his theory using mathematics instead of philosophy, Copernicus challenged the traditional hierarchy of disciplines. By showing that earth was just another planet, Copernicus created the question of where Heaven and the throne of God were. Because he wanted to be certain of his claims, Copernicus waited to publish his On the Revolutions if the Heavenly Spheres until the year of his death 1543.
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), a German mathematician, had been an assistant to the astronomer Tycho Brahe. He proved Copernicus's ideas with math using data Brahe has collected. Kepler discovered that the planets orbit in elliptical motions around the sun and demonstrated that planets do not move at uniform speeds in their orbits. He also said that the time a planet takes to make its complete orbit is precisely related to its distance from the sun. Kepler also pioneered the field of optics and invented an improved telescope.
Galileo Galilee (1564-1642) an Italian astronomer who created the experimental method saying that the proper way to explore things is through repeatable experiments rather than speculation. He formulated the law of inertia stating that the motion, not rest, is the natural state of an object. He made an updated telescope and saw the moons of Jupiter. Galileo was placed under house arrest (not killed since he was a friend of the pope) near the end of his life for publishing his ideas which went against the Catholic Church.
William Harvey (1578-1657) was an English physician. He used the experimental approach to discover the circulation of blood through veins and arteries in 1628. He was the first to explain that the heart worked like a pump and to explain the function of its muscles and valves.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was an English politician and writer. He endorsed the new experimental method and argued that new knowledge had to be pursued through empirical research which used inductive reasoning (go from particular ideas to general concepts). He formalized the empirical method after it had been used by Brahe and Galileo, into a general theory or inductive reasoning known as empiricism.
René Descartes (1596-1650) was a French philosopher who used seductive reasoning (reason out a general law, then apply it broadly to all causes). He used this reasoning to come up with his view known as Cartesian dualism which said that all of reality could be reduced to "matter" and "mind", or to physical and spiritual entities. Descartes also discovered analytic geometry.
Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet, 1694-1778) was a French philosopher, although he moved to England to avoid being put in prison in France. Voltaire wrote the satire Candide about the French king and society. He believed women were unequal, but only because of their lack of education. He thought Enlightened Despotism was the best form of government. He also challenged the Catholic Church and Christian theology, although he did believe in God; he was a Deist. Like many other philosophes, Voltaire hated all forms of religious intolerance.
Deists saw God as a clockmaker who set the universe in motion and then ceased to intervene in human affairs. Deism was originally close to Christianity, but strayed farther from Christianity later on. Many famous people including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Voltaire were Deist.
John Locke (1632-1704) was an English physician and member of the Royal Society. Rather than using deductive reasoning, Locke insisted that all ideas are derived from experience. He formulated the Tabula Rasa theory, or the blank slate theory, saying the human mind at birth is like a blank tablet on which the environment writes an individual's understanding and beliefs. His essay contributed to the theory of sensationalism, the idea that all human ideas and thoughts are produced as a result of sensory impressions.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) believed in popular sovereignty where the people rule. He did call for strict division of gender roles and believed women to be inferior. Both of these ideas were displayed in his book The Social Contract (1762). Unlike other Enlightenment thinkers, he attacked rationalism as cold and thought emotion was positive and his ideas influenced the early romantic movement that rebelled against the Enlightenment. He wrote Emile which advocated for education for all (except women). He also thought children should be treated as children and not adults.
Natural law and natural rights
Natural law describes the rights all humans have based on nature, rather than society. It holds that humans can discover what is fair, just, and natural in political and societal realms by consulting reason. John Locke believed humans had the natural rights of life, liberty, and property. He used natural law to defend limited government. Thomas Hobbes used natural law to justify absolutism in his book Leviathon (1651).
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was an English philosopher. He had a pessimistic view of human nature and believed that without intervention, humans would compete violently among themselves. He used natural law to defend absolutism in his treatise Leviathan, saying that the only solution to balance human society would be for all members of society to place themselves under the rule of an absolute sovereign who maintains peace and order. He thought of society as a human body in which the monarch is the head and the subjects are the body, and as a body cannot sever its own head, the people cannot rise up against their king.
Adam Smith (1723-1790) was a Scottish philosopher. In Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), he argued that the thriving commercial life of the 18th century produced civic virtue through the values of competition, fair play, and individual autonomy. In An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) Smith attacked the laws and regulations, that he claimed, prevented commerce from reaching its full capacity.
Frederick II (the Great)
Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia (r. 1740-1786) wanted to modernize Prussia and connect their scattered lands. He invaded the province of Silesia which belonged to Maria Theresa of Austria and forced Maria Theresa to give up most of Silesia. This doubled Prussia's population to 6 million people and made Prussia a Great European Power. Frederick the Great was an Enlightened monarch and abolished torture (except for traitors), introduced agricultural reforms (potatoes and turnips introduced), and offered some religious toleration.
Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great (1762-1796) was originally a German princess who married Peter III. In 1762, Catherine's lover and his 3 brothers who were all army officers murdered Peter and Catherine became the ruler of Russia. She liked Enlightenment ideas and wrote to Voltaire. She worked to westernize Russia and imported Western architects, musicians, and intellectuals, and patronized the philosophes. She started the Smolny Institutes to provide higher education for women and offered free national education for everyone but serfs. She also opened many foundling homes (orphanages). Catherine the Great died in 1796 and was the last absolute monarch in Russia.
Maria Theresa (r. 1740-1780) of Austria fought the War of Austrian Succession to defend her territory against Prussia and succeeded other than the loss of Silesia to Frederick II of Prussia. She initiated church reform and limited the papacy's influence, eliminated many religious holidays, and reduced the number of monasteries. She strengthened the central bureaucracy, smothered out some provincial differences, and revamped the tax system, even taxing the land of nobles. She also improved the lives of serfs and peasants in agricultural field by reducing the power their lords had over them.
Joseph II (r. 1780-1790) was the son of Maria Theresa. He passed over 11,000 laws during his reign. He passed the Patent of Toleration in 1781 offering the freedom of worship. He abolished serfdom in 1781, and decreed that peasants could pay landlords in cash rather than through labor on their land. However both the nobility and peasants (didn't have enough money to pay) were upset about this decree. Joseph II was known as the "Musical King" because he supported Mozart and Beethoven.
Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794) was a nobleman in northern Italy. He denounced torture and capital punishment and his On Crimes and Punishments (1764) called for reform of the penal system. Beccaria had the rehabilitation idea and advocated for the prevention of crime over the reliance on punishment.
Denis Diderot (1713-1784) was an editor of Encyclopedia: The Rational Dictionary of the Sciences, the Arts, and the Crafts (1751-1872). Diderot wrote in a variety of genres including drama and education for the deaf which made him a favorite in salons and courts like Catherine the Great's of Russia. He was also one of the first outspoken atheists.
Baron de Montesquieu
Montesquieu (1689-1755) wrote his social satire The Persian Letters in 1721 from the perspective of two Persian travelers in Europe which allowed him to criticize existing practices and beliefs. The Persian Legters is considered the first major work of the French Enlightenment. Montesquieu's The Spirit of Laws (1748) is a complex, comparative study of republics, monarchies, and despotisms. He argued for a separation of powers which later had an impact on the young United States in 1789 and France in 1791. Montesquieu also thought a strong upper class was necessary to society to prevent abuses.
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