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Lecture 19

Lecture 19 - The Early Enlightenment.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Kenneth Bartlett

HIS109Y1- Lecture Nineteen The Early Enlightenment November 19/2012 C. de Montesquieu (1689-1755) D. Diderot (1713-1784) J. d’Alembert Buffon Encyclopedie - voltaire had good critiques and appealed to reason but did not provide a practical alternative to the regime - Montesquieu (politician, baron, feudal Lord) was engaged in the movement against absolutism. He tried to undo some of Louis XIV’s principles. He was an elitist who thought nobles should offset the power of the King, although others should share some of this power too - he wrote Persian letters (commenting on French institutions) that helped to establish a new genre of literature: foreign observations - he then wrote The Spirit of Laws which is one of the foundations of the Enlightenment - he decided he would talk about the elements of society rather than abstract concepts - the constitution he says is a result of social conditions and reflects what people want - people are largely determined by the laws that govern them so there must be a mechanism for change/development - he determined society had to be pluralistic that required more voiced & representation because there were so many complex forces working on society - therefore monarchies are un-natural; government systems should be organic and grow from the society. Any system that isn’t organic is tyranny - the target was the absolute monarchy of France - England was an example of an organic government since it was
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