American Literature 1750-1800 (Enlightenment of America)

Topic: CultureSubculture
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Last updated: May 12, 2019
John Locke
wrote An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and argued against the idea of “innate ideas,” saying that it was a blank slate and the environment plays a role

Thomas Hobbes
believed society was nasty and brutish, agreed with Locke on idea of social contract

Sir Isaac Newton
philosopher regarded as the most original and influential theorist in the history of science

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
philosopher, writer, and composer, wrote Emile: or, On Education, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and On the Social Contract

American thinkers influenced by European Englightenment
Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine

Enlightenment thinkers saw the world as
an orderly system in which with the application of reason humanity would understand the universe. praised moral choice and scientific inquiry

system of thought advocating religion based on human morality and reason rather than divine revelation…

Deists believe (3 things)
harmonious universe proves the beneficence of God, humankind was naturally good, the more we understand and sympathize with each other the richer our social and spiritual lives will be

Jonathan Edwards
brought renewed interest in Puritan heritage and pre-destination; wrote sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

classical style
aspire to Roman/Greek literature; use restrain rather than emotion; dignified language; poetry to impart timeless truths not private expression

expectation of lives
lives should be organized into an ordered sequence of reasoned thoughts and virtuous behavior – aim was human perfection

new core values
individualism, freedom, and change replaced community, authority and tradition

new interests in
education, science, and literature

characteristics of Enlightenment literature in America
political writings, lack of emphasis on Bible , use of logic and science

impact of Enlightenment today
human rights, religious tolerance, self-government

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