From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
In the period known as The Age of Enlightenment, Eighteenth-century Europe saw remarkable cultural changes characterized by a loss of faith in traditional religious sources of authority and a turn toward human rights, science, rational thoughts and the replacement of theocracies and autocracies with democratic republicss.
The upheavals of the Enlightenment led directly to the American Revolutionary War as well as the French Revolution and significantly influenced the Industrial Revolution. Enlightenment ideas were also strongly influential in the Constitution of the United States.
One important response to the Enlightenment within the European Jewish community was the Haskalah movement.
The concept of a single, Europe-wide movement may of course be challenged in detail: it reflects a cultural dominance of French thought. One may also pursue the German, Scottish and other national movements.
Precursors of the Enlightenment were:
- Thomas Paine
- Jean le Rond d'Alembert
- Denis Diderot
- Edward Gibbon
- David Hume
- Thomas Jefferson
- Gotthold Lessing
- John Locke
- Isaac Newton
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau
- Adam Smith
- Benedict Spinoza