Topic Eight Objectives and Terms
- From what earlier sources was the thought of the Enlightenment
drawn? What elements are suggested
as basic to the spirit of the Enlightenment? Of what significance was the idea of progress?
- What currents of thought and practice contradictory to Enlightenment
attitudes were also prevalent in this age? How did these differences reflect the gap between popular
and elite culture?
- What general observations may be made about the philosophes and the
audience for whom they wrote? What
effect did censorship have upon the writings of the day?
- What contributions to the Enlightenment were made by the
Physiocrats? Adam Smith?
- Discuss and compare the contributions made to the thought of the
Enlightenment by (a) Montesquieu, (b) Voltaire, (c) Rousseau.
- Explain the attitudes held by thinkers of the Enlightenment toward
(a) religion and the churches, (b) the function of the state, (c) the
problem of liberty.
- What characteristics distinguished the enlightened despots from
earlier monarchs? How did the wars
of the mid-eighteenth century contribute to enlightened despotism?
- Assess the successes and failures of enlightened despotism in
France. How did the attempted
abolition of the parliaments illustrate the nature of enlightened
- Compare the changes introduced by Maria Theresa and by Joseph II in
the Austrian empire. Would you
characterize both as enlightened despots?
- Discuss the nature and results of enlightened despotism in Prussia
under Frederick the Great. Of what
special importance was the stratification of Prussian society?
- How did the intellectual currents of the Enlightenment affect
- Describe the personality and personal qualities of Catherine, and
assess her reform program. What
seems to have thwarted that program?
- Describe Catherine's foreign policy and the territorial growth of
Russia during her reign. What did
Russia gain in the partitions of Poland?
- What general observations may be made about the accomplishments,
shortcomings, and limitations of enlightened despotism in Europe in this
- What observations may be made about political developments in the
European world beginning about 1760?
What arguments may be advanced for and against the thesis that the
revolutionary movements of the age were aspects of "one great
- What common demands were raised by the revolutionary movements of
the age? Which could be
characterized as "democratic" and which as not?
- "How did the Enlightenment in Britain differ from the
Enlightenment on the Continent?
- Why was there political and social dissent in England? What special factors served as barriers
- What relationship developed between reformers in England and the
- How was the trend toward centralization in the British empire in
this age reflected in developments in Scotland? in Ireland? in
- How do the portraits by Gainsborough and by Copley (pp. 347 and 352) illustrate social classes
in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world?
- How would you characterize the behavior and attitudes of the
American colonists in the years preceding the American Revolution?
- How did events connected with the East India Company lead to the
"Boston tea party"? What
retaliatory measures did the British government take?
- How did the War of American Independence become part of the European
struggle for empire?
- How did the principles announced in the Declaration of Independence
reflect the thought of the Enlightenment?
- What advances toward democratic equality were made in connection
with the American Revolution? What
limitations on these advances need to be pointed out?
- Discuss the political consequences of the American Revolution for
Europe and the world. What effect
did it have on older European political attitudes?
Ancients and Moderns
Mme. de Stael
Decline and Fall of the
The Spirit of Laws
Philosophical Letters on
La Barre episode
Origin of Inequality
Wealth of Nations
apres moi le deluge
the Eastern Question
partitions of Poland
treaty of Kuchuk
age of the Atlantic
age of the "Democratic
Act of Union of 1801
India Acts of 1773 and
Revenue Act of 1764
treaty of 1783
Articles of Confederation