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[13] The Early Enlightenment.doc

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Kenneth Bartlett

November 24, 2010 The Early Enlightenment - Voltaire - satire & wit making fun ofAncien regime ==> destructive - Didn’t offer anything in exchange for what he accused (i.e. Didn’t offer a solution for every- thing he made fun of) Charles de Montesquieu (1689-1755) • Offered a solution • Involved in politics (unlike most of philosophes) • Baron • Sat on parliament of Bordeaux --> but happy in his estates (didn’t like to go out in public) • Unflattering exterior but brilliant mind • Realized the world he lived in needed fundamental change • Read Locke etc. • Wrote stuff similar to Voltaire’s writings st - 1 book: lettres paris (1721) -- written as persian traveller going through france - Used “guise” that he could say what he wanted without openly accusing the society - Realized europeans are “euro-centric” (look at world from small perspective) - Pointed out all absurdities that voltaire did, but from point of view of an “outsider” - New genre: critiquing society through guise of an outsider - Spirit of the laws (1748) - dependent on locke’s treatise of gov’t - Dependent on how he saw how english constitution worked - Social view of how constitution worked -- no divine intervention in human affairs; let’s look at stuff that humans have control over - Humans have control over their lives on earth - People live in an environment -- geography, climate, religious traditions… = all elements which affect creative mentality of people who affect decision-making in constitution - You can make a new type of person based on the laws that govern you --> e.g. if laws are strict we become fearful; relaxed laws means we’ll be more creative - Laws, climate = create nature of people - Law = instrument of change that affects how people are - Economics, religion, laws = causes & effects of large forces which determined character of the state and the men and women living in it - Society had to be pluralistic --> if law will be fair and just, it has to take into account that ev- eryone’s different - Degrees of freedom, education, religious practices --> determine nature of personality of people - Local traditions, local effects --> have plurality, several perspectives - If a king/church tries to impose “alien structure” (i.e. one that would match a different climate etc.) it won’t work --> must follow NATURAL laws - Anything in any society -- must be organic (must arise from “soil” -- anything else is tyranny) - Enemy: Bourbon monarchy (absolutist) - Ancien Regime worked against freedom, organic development - England = model: mixed constitution - King, house of commons - each represented something but worked together under constitution - Monarchy, aristocracy, house of commons --> all worked together; if one group tries to take over power, the other one can push them back to their place - Separation of power: one is not dependent on the other, but they check up on one another --> balance, make sure unnatural growth does not happen - France: despotism - Growth of royal power altered balance of power -- power used to be divided more equally amongst king, church, house of commons… - If they could be balanced again, maybe all the power would not be all given to the king - Power of royal absolutism was too deeply established --> nothing could be changed - Reading of english theorists -- made him appreciate english society - Thought english society = free - Freedom = secure in life, liberty, property 1. King couldn’t impose order 2. Army = instrument of oppression --> in england if parliament won’t pay for amry, it won’t exist 3. judges didn;t depend on royal favor --> law could operate independently of king and parlia- ment - Nature of parliamentary representation: in order to be part of parliament, you need property and money - Those who don’t can’t use authority of parliament to take property
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