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History Notes > General History X: Europe 1715-99 Notes

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Enlightenment
Professor Brockliss
18th century -- alternative way of thinking about society => the Enlightenment

Establishment ideology
! Based around belief that human beings are essentially corrupted by the Fall
! Augustinian -- human beings couldn't find way back to God by themselves => need
mediation of Christ's atonement
*> Can be no material or moral progress in this life
! Nature is a dangerous + alien phenomenon
*> Some ability to control it but will never dominate it
Some ability to control ourselves but we cannot behave in the manner that
God would
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approve of
*> We have to receive divine grace
! 5--10% of the population may be able to control themselves
*> Majority lack education -- kept down by political authority, hierarchy +
punishment
! View shared by all Christian denominations -- Catholic + Protestant
! Frequently intolerant + persecutory
! Poland 1753 -- Archbishop Cajetan Soltyk rounded up Polish Jews with accusation of
blood ritual => promoted by Catholic Church
*> Those who refused to confess -- 6 were flayed alive + quartered
*> Those who confess were simply quartered

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Enlightenment -- group v. mood
Rejection of Augustine
! Critique of this worldview
! Anglo--American world -- tendency to see it as a relatively programmatic movement
*> Small group of people
*> Peter Gay -- the philosophes
*> Critique of Augustinian world + programme of reform

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! Outside this, there is a second view -- not so much a programme or of a small group of
people
! More of a mood embracing a larger group of people -- allows one to look at the entire
18th century
*> More of a new way of thinking than a particular programme of reform
! Enlightenment as a mood consists of people rejecting Augustine
*> Moral + material progress is possible => can control nature
Concept of utility
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*> Are the institutions of the 18th century useful for understanding + improving
what we are?
*> Otherwise need to be replaced or reformed

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! Medicine -- key idea of human potential
! Had been seen fairly critically

! Medicine is the new science -- contains the possibility of improving humanity
! Improvement -- major idea of improving health

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*> Key to man's future development
Not necessarily anti--Christian
Enlightenment as a mood is a very Christian movement
Socinus
New type of Christianity -- Christ is not necessarily God or at least not in the same way
Anti--trinitarians -- just a very perfect man
Christ as an exemplar -- can be followed + imitated
*> Cannot just rely on his sacrifice
Yet Arians + Socinians still see themselves as Christian
Millenarians -- must make way for Christ by altering the world
*> Moral + material improvement
Abbe Pernety -- 4fold godhead => includes Virgin Mary
*> Frederick the Great's librarian
*> Millenarian + believed he could speak to angels
- Belief in guardian angels
- Idea of New Jerusalem in 1789
Enlightened to the extent that they believe it is necessary to improve man morally +
materially
Pernety is not seen as part of the Enlightenment of the Anglo--American approach

! Are others who are even more Augustinian -- Pietists, Jansenists + Methodists
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*> Established ideas were not being fully promoted + accepted
Is our Enlightenment the same as the Republic of Letters?
*> Similar on the surface if one includes all those who believe in possibility of
improving one's knowledge
*> Ideas of utility + religious tolerance
Clear overlap
About 30,000 in the Republic of Letters -- those who are engaged in research
*> Active members of Enlightenment
Yet many in Republic of Letters who are anti--Enlightenment
*> Support of the establishment
*> Samuel Johnson -- not Enlightened => Augustinian view of material + moral
progress
- Lack of belief in change for the better

! About 3,000 active writers in France + 6,000 in Germany on eve of Revolution

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*> Far fewer than those corresponding with each other
*> 3% are women?

! Anglo--American Enlightenment -- could be argued to be the 'radical' Enlightenment
*> Against Israel
! Enlightenment -- general mood
*> Particular group of people with specific views -- more radical
Radical -- whether or not you accept the Bible as the word of
God
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Radical Enlightenment -- treat it as any other book
Voltaire -- mocks the Bible yet does not show much critical acumen
Lack of Bible -- no work of reference to underpin our ideas
Bitter divisions amongst the radicals
*> Different attitudes to Christianity
- Voltaire -- completely absurd + untrue
- Rousseau -- Christianity is something that has a level of truth => even if he
does not think the Bible is the word of God
! Baron d'Holbach -- seen as atheist => went to church every Sunday

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! Also differ in how the state can play a part
! German -- greater emphasis on the state reforming from above => cameralism
*> State can improve economy, education etc.
! France -- physiocrats => free traders + anti--state
*> Louis XVI -- advisers divided => cameralists v. physiocrats

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These people are not modern
Growing acceptance that there is not a very 'radical' programme
Primarily interested in themselves
Do not envisage opening up opportunity
*> Promote elementary education but do not intend for large numbers to
compete with them for positions in the state
Pre--industrial philosophy
*> No understanding of present world
*> No way of getting away from fact that majority must work most of the time to
support them
- True of Adam Smith -- operates in a pre--industrial model
Most are not interested in women
*> Condorcet -- one who does start thinking about rights of women
Arguments for keeping women in their place -- secularised versions of theological ones
Lack of signs of racial tolerance
*> Voltaire -- extremely anti--Jewish => connected to OT which is even worse than
the NT
By and large object to slavery -- yet not one of their primary concerns

! Whole area of the world + mankind who are excluded from liberation
! Very unliberated view of sexuality
*> Emphasise the natural
*> Homosexuality is very unnatural
*> Masturbation is also very unnatural
Something has to be done because Europe's population is falling -- by the middle of the
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18th century
*> First gathering of hard data
- Europe's population was much smaller than anyone thought --
assumption that something has happened
*> Blame of women for not breastfeeding
*> People not sacrificing themselves to have a family

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*> Tax rewards for large families in France

! From the 1730s there is a growing belief that we should do our best to save people who
are drowning
*> Population should be kept up
*> Humanitarian
By the 1760s there are societies dedicated to saving the drowning
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! Boxes by rivers -- insert small tube into anus + blow smoke into it
*> Not modern

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Diffusion of the Enlightenment
! New institutions -- coffeehouses, societies, clubs, Masonic societies + above all, the salon
! Idea of salon with moderate, feminised discussion
*> Old view -- lack of evidence
*> None of these institutions are primarily owned by the enlightened
! Salons were not places of Enlightenment
! One location is the academies -- circles of enlightened people
*> About 6,400 academicians in the 40--60 academies of France
Academies also reach out to a wider audience
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*> Set prize essay competitions
*> Kant -- 'age of enlightenment, not an enlightened age' => appears in a Berlin
prize essay
- Question was 'what is Enlightenment' -- not the Enlightenment
! 12--15k people in France participated in prize essay competitions
*> 2,000 contests across C18th -- 50 won by women
! Location for Enlightenment is the academies
*> Not in new institutions of sociability -- these are colonised by anti--
enlightenment as well as enlightenment

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! Many ideas spread through simple correspondence
! Publications -- expands very fast
*> More + more journals -- many books are reviewed in these
- No need to even read books
! Newspapers -- not really outside England + United Provinces
*> French newspapers produced in London + Amsterdam -- main newspaper came
out every 3 days
New forms of diffusion are also being used by those who dislike the Enlightenment
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*> Enlightenment did not control public sphere

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! Darnton -- society of publishers in Prussia
*> Source of all radical publications
*> New digital technology has disproved his conclusions
! Large majority of publications was very conservative + for local area

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! Public sphere is not the same as the Enlightenment

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*> Much conservatism

! Enlightenment exists side by side with a powerful establishment ideology throughout
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the entire age
*> Must look at the traditional worldview
There is a contest over which of the 2 ways of looking at the world is correct
*> Experiments e.g. wild boy phenomenon -- corrupt by nature or by civilisation?
- Nothing was concluded
*> Tahiti -- seen to be a 'natural' society
There is some movement towards the enlightened way of thinking -- primarily in science
*> From about 1760, Newtonian science has captured the universities -- possibility
of understanding + controlling nature
- Particularly in medicine
*> Less movement towards beliefs in human progress -- although some movement
away from extreme pessimism
Many of the enlightened are within the Protestant churches
*> Arian v. Socinian view of society -- deeply rooted in the church
*> Geneva -- is the heart of the Socinian way of thinking
- Where Rousseau came from
Enlightenment ideas were deeply embedded in the state
*> Not just on the fringes
*> Contested yet had made inroads into positions of power + authority

States
Professor Brockliss
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Sovereignty
*> Bodin -- invented term in 16th century
- Broadly understood by the 18th century
Owners of sovereignty have complete + absolute power
*> Resistance is illegitimate
Legitimacy of resistance
*> Locke
*> Not a theory that was appealed to very much
French Revolution -- none of the revolutionaries legitimised action through Lockean
theory
*> In some ways just a transference of power -- power goes to National Assembly
- Not a true revolution in 1789

! Founding fathers of America appeal to Locke
*> Quite exceptional
! General acceptance of absolute sovereignty -- wherever it is deemed to be
*> Governments cannot do what they like -- constrained
- Natural Law -- should promote moral value
Those who broke this were acting illegitimately
*> Issue of raison d'etat

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! None of these states are large enough to enforce will on the majority of the population
! Yet in French Revolution, manage to round up 500,000 people + lock them up
*> Large number of people for a pre--industrial state to incarcerate
- Did not even have enough prisons -- old convents + churches
! Numbers of murders per head in population was declining
*> Violence against property is much more important

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! Great deal of opportunity to question the authority of the state
*> Dispute as to where sovereignty lies
Allows those who are aggrieved to show opposition without necessarily being rebellious
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! Poland -- members of the nobility claim that it is part of the constitution that they can
rebel against government when it is not working in their interests
*> State allows for legitimate rebellion

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Can divide states into 2 kinds -- bureaucratic + representative
Bureaucratic -- France + Prussia
Representative -- Britain + Poland
France + Prussia
*> Little connection between distribution of power + wealth + power in the state

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