Last Updated 24 Mar 2020

British Enlightenment

Category Belief, Enlightenment
Words 817 (3 pages)

It is the realization of major reforms in life and its beliefs occurred during the age of enlightment which was a short period in our human history when thinkers gave realistic recognition of the sad human state and condition and giving optimism to a new set of ideas. (Roy P. 35) These set of ideas question tradition the very basis of pre conceived thoughts of the past. The set of ideas also had an attitude within themselves, which did a way with beliefs and justified modernism (Roy P. 50)

The British Enlightenment The British enlightenment was a movement which started about the year 1680 and it is believed to have ended in the year 1820. This was a time and age which many philosophers and thinkers thought of ways to cope with challenges faced like ignorance and superstition. (Gregory C. 114) It was characterized by much scientific and intellectual accomplishment. It was the age of great thinkers.

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The British enlightenment was a movement which in many ways named itself since the thinkers and writers thought they were more enlightened than the general population at that time, since most of them were poor and lived in rural settings and thus the thinkers set out to enlighten them. (Roy P. 43) But the British enlightenment did not start from within, it was influenced by the greater Europe which had been undergoing “Enlightenment” the greatest influence on Britain was the Scottish and the French enlightenment which had started a little earlier than the British enlightenment.

(Burke, P. 55) But also the British overthrowing their king earlier in the 17th century creating an opening for democracy and Protestantism started the French and the Scottish enlightenment. The British enlightenment was commonly referred to, as empiricism in Britain since the main characteristics of enlightenment namely search for knowledge and defiance of tradition were not so visible due to their social conditions. Nonetheless the things mainly targeted for change were hereditary aristocracy and religion especially Catholicism. (Gregory C.

116) This period of enlightenment in Britain was characterized by rise in intellectual life, which brought improvement in Britain’s key sector of agriculture. More ways of maximizing output were realized thus reduced famine commonly experienced after every eight to nine years. The economy also advanced due to this and more people moved to urban areas in such of prosperity especially London which had close to a million people at the time. (Gregory C. 112) There were also a growing number of people who believed in science and disciplined reason.

There was also a chance for common people to explore fanatism and passions, which were earlier, deprived by traditions and beliefs. Enlightenment had its benefits but had its fair share of downfalls. Due to increasing urban population, citizens drank and gambled causing a decay of morals and family values, streets were filled with prostitutes and people had lack of respect to values once strongly upheld. (Gregory C. 112) Thinkers like John Locke and David Hume led this revolution.

They believed that humanity was deeply inclined to emotion than reason thus sparking a wave of people who believed less in magic or supernatural things but more on the power of human reasoning. Enlightenment though welcomed openly in Europe especially in England, Scotland and France had its enemies most prolific being Karl Marx the founder of maxim or better known as socialism. It also led to uprisings like the French Revolution but all these did not deter the British from being enlightened thus forming the basis of capitalism and a new era.

(Gregory C. 113) Conclusion The enlightenment is mostly viewed as an anomaly in our history when people believed perfect societies would be built in a matter of reasoning, sense and tolerating each other. But these infatuations can never be realized since religion is a key mover in modern society and still has a strong following of disciples who believe in supernatural beings and customary beliefs. Superstition is still a major setback in the enlightening of people.

But enlightenment is still alive with us with the human rights activism and belief in pursuing your passion and fanatism without fear of authority but belief in human equality and prosperity Thus nobody is left out when fighting for there rights even in minorities like the poor or disabled. Though the brief enlightening era is long gone there are still a few enlightenment pioneers in the modern age who believe in human knowledge and prosperity without fear of authority but belief in human equality and prosperity, to this day the British still concerned with the affairs of politics and morality with intensity.

(Burke, P. 66) Works Cited Burke, Peter. Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe. New York: Harper and Row, 1978. 23-67 Gregory Claeys: Utopias of the British Enlightenment, Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought: Cambridge University Press, 1994 112-118 Roy Porter: The Creation of the Modern World: The Untold Story of the British Enlightenment: New York: Norton, 2000. 34-56

British Enlightenment essay

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