Enlightenment Ideas


Enlightenment, or Age of Reason was a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th century celebrating new ideas, scientific research an individual freedom. The Enlightenment thoughts primary concerned God, nature and reason. The philosophers believed that the people were able to control their destinies by learning from and following the laws of nature.

People wanted to understand the nature by close observation, to make scientific experimentation, to discuss and promote rational ideas. The main goal of the movement was considered to be a pursue of knowledge, freedom and happiness.

Like the Renaissance (“New Birth”) which represented a cultural rebirth from 14th through the middle of the 17th centuries, when the artists and scholars noticed the medieval artworks as misrepresentation of the classical art of the Greeks and Romans, the Enlightenment opened human minds to natural laws, reducing God from a daily presence. The intellectual movement spread to the colonies and was a very significant time period for great thinkers. The colonists continued the connection to the Classical tradition, but in a new and more politically-charged spirit.

Cerebral people saw the evil in the world coming not from original sin, but as a symbol of ignorance and completely ignorance of the laws of nature and value of human nature. All these illuminating ideas profoundly influenced Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and lead to the rational concept that “all men are created equal”. The main idea of the Enlightenment was well rooted in the Declaration of Independence “life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”