Map Exercise 11: Europe in the Eighteenth Century (This exercise includes 1 maps)
The momentous intellectual transformation brought about by the Scientific Revolution gave the eighteenth century a new method with which to analyze and criticize man and society. Across the decades of the eighteenth century, the philosophes of the Enlightenment, a truly cosmopolitan "party of humanity," used Reason as a scalpel to cut away at the intolerance, prejudice and fanaticism that they identified with the ancien regime. Although there is no direct causal relationship between Voltaire, Rousseau, or Hume and the French Revolution of 1789, it is clear that the philosophes may have revealed to the revolutionaries their utter discontent with the "present state of things."
Although religion and a fanatical Church were specific targets of the philosophes, all of Europe adhered to one religion or another. The rationalism of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment ate away at this consensus, but religion remained a fundamental aspect of the lives of ordinary men and women. And while the philosophes attempted to enlighten European monarchs, war was still endemic in the world of the eighteenth century. One of the distinguishing features of eighteenth century wars is that they were no longer based upon religious issues.
You should consider some of these general questions in this exercise:
• Why did the philosophes attempt to make Christianity more reasonable?
• What are the defining features of enlightened monarchy?
• For what reasons was religion no longer a necessary factor in the wars of the eighteenth century?
• How do the wars of the eighteenth century foreshadow the global wars of the twentieth century?