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Lecture 5

History 1401E Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Antireligion, Age Of Enlightenment, The Roots

Course Code
HIS 1401E
Pierre Reynard

of 4
The Impact of the Enlightenment on Religion
1. Limited Warfare
a. War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713)
b. War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748)
c. The Seven Years’ War (1756-1763)
d. War of the Bavarian Succession (1778)
2. The Roots of War
3. The Tools of War
4. The Costs of War
The enlightenment and religion are two conflicting situations
oTension between the leaders of each
Need to start with the understanding that, before the early modern age, the
European way of thinking had been of a religious nature
oIn the Middle Ages, the study of nature was a way in which one could
understand the way in which God made the world
oThe study of government was the way in which God wanted the world to
oChristian teachings taught people how to behave in society
Until the early modern age, religion held all the answers to all the questions
oThe answers had to be compatible with religion
There came about a time when people began to think that religious teachings
were not at the root of all knowledge
oNature could be understood without references to God
oBegan to realize that European societies did not mirror the societies in the
oBegan to realize that human reason could distinguish between good and
oPeople could think about the world beyond Christian teachings
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The Enlightenment brought about a faith in progress
oIf human beings start to believe that they can improve the world, they start
to create their own goals
Only reasonable goal is that of general happiness
Working towards the general good/ greater good for the
greatest number of people
Became a fundamental dimension of the Enlightenment
This quest for happiness can be problematic for the Christian church
oMeans that thoughts, goals and efforts are focused on the physical world
whereas Christian teachings are focused on the world beyond
oTension created as people began to focus on human goals instead of
divine purpose
oSome philosophes became obsessed with the facts that the Church stood
in the way of the Enlightenment
They were against the clergy running everything
Anti-clerical as opposed to anti-religious
While reason and faith are compatible, the people of the time did not see it that
Limited Warfare
Most European states were engaged in war during the 18th century
oThe core of the 18th century (1715-1780), warfare was limited in scope and
oWarfare was much more widespread before and after this period
oIn the late 16th and early 17th century, the French were trying to impose
themselves on the rest of Europe (Louis XIV)
oIntense warfare began again in 1792 and latest until 1815
Continuous period of war
One can argue that warfare was limited because it was not driven by powerful
oNot the religious wars of the past
Religion was no longer a reason for war
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oNo country was extremely ambitious during this time
French need for power was contained
Came to the conclusion that no one country can control all of
oFewer powerful reasons to go to war
oRevolution fever had not hit the continent at this point
Roots of War
The diversity of states
oLarge and powerful states, small and weak states
This favoured predatory behaviour
The complex nature of some states led to conflict within a state
Economic motive are also at work
oColonial competition
Between England and France
oThey are becoming more aware that war if about resources
oThe problem is that they are hard to pin down
Most visible trigger of war in the 18th century is the dynastic principle
oIt tied the fate of each states to the claims and ambitions of the ruling
oThey were connected through marriage, wars, alliances
Within each is a line of succession which leads to deals being
made between the dynasties
The conflict between the dynasties became a major trigger for war
Marriage were at the heart of diplomacy between dynasties
Often enough, the vital interest of the larger states were not threated so they did
not grow to be too large
The Tools of War
Changed with the times
oGet better and better every year; new weapons, forms of warfare
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