Enlightenment refers to the intellectual movement that developed within the hundred- year span beginning with the english revolution and culminating in the french. Revolution -movement s leading representatives were religious skeptics, political reformers, cultural critics, historians, and social theorists who exercised considerable influence. Committed to the rational pursuit of truth, but also had their philosophical and political differences. The british thinkers were relatively content with their social and political institutions - French philosophes who most vehemently (strongly) criticized both church and state campaigned unrelentingly for the basic freedoms freedom from arbitrary power, freedom of speech It was in 18th century france that the conflict of the enlightenment with the. Enlightenment has its roots in the past several centuries earlier a secular mode of thought had been slowly developing (between 1300 and 1700) The medieval mind was dominated by the church, literally, emotionally, and intellectually. A revolution was necessary to bring men back to common sense rousseau.