1987 How and in what ways did the writings of Karl Marx draw on the Enlightenment concepts of progress, natural law, and reason?

thesis_funnel.pngKarl Marx studied Hegelian Philosophy of the Enlightenment to predict a class struggle among the bourgeoisie and proletariat that would eventually to lead to a revolution. He drew on the concepts of the thesis and antithesis, which represented the dominant class in society and the lower classes, respectively. He then further concluded that this antithesis would overthrow the capitalists and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat leading to an entirely communist society.
outline.jpg1. Rationality of Hegelian Philosophy

- Friedrich Hegel is one of the most difficult and significant philosophers in the history of Western Civilization.
- Marx based a lot of his writings on the concepts of Hegel.
- Hegel believed that ideas develop in an evolutionary fashion that involves conflict.
- At any given time, a predominant set of ideas, which he termed the thesis, holds sway.
- The thesis is challenged by other conflicting ideas, which Hegel termed the antithesis.
- As these patterns of though clash, a synthesis emerges that eventually becomes the new thesis.
- The process then begins all over again.
- This idea was rational and reasonable.
- Important philosophical conclusions followed from this analysis.
- The most significant was the belief that all periods of history have been of almost equal value because each was necessary to the achievements of those that came later.
- All cultures are valuable because each contributes to the necessary clash of values and ideas that allows humankind to develop.
- Marx adapted the Hegelian dialectic to argue that society is a reflection of economics.
- History progresses from agrarian communalism, to slaveholding, to feudalism, to bourgeois commercialism, to capitalism, to socialism, and finally to Communism.
- Communism would be a classless society in which the workers own the means of production and government is unnecessary.
- The dominant class in every society, the slaveholders, feudal lords, and capitalists, is a thesis with an antithesis.
- The antithesis is the slaves, serfs, and workers that will overthrow the old order.

2. The Antithesis (slaves, serfs, workers) Will Carry Out A Revolution

- After Marx made economic relationships between the classes the driving force, he predicted a revolution.
- This inevitable revolution is the result of the capitalists’ increasing profits by lowering the workers’ wages for labor to the point that the proletariat cannot afford to consume the products of manufacture.
- Class conflict had been a struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
- As the workers suffered increasingly from the competition among the ever-enlarging firms, Marx contended, they would eventually being to foment revolution.
- Finally, they would overthrow the few remaining owners of the means of production.
- The workers would organize the means of production through a dictatorship of the proletariat.
- This would eventually give way to a propertyless and classless communist society.
- The victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie would represent the culmination of human history. One group of people would not be oppressing another.
- Marxist doctrines appeared to be based on the empirical evidence of hard economic fact.
- Marx drew on German Hegelianism, which was rational and reasonable to predict a class struggle among workers and middle class, which would eventually lead to a revolution creating an entirely communist society.

Alex Schnapp

1994 Analyze the ways in which Enlightenment thought addressed religious beliefs and social issues in the eighteenth century.

thesis_funnel.pngThesis: The Scientific Revolution inspired a revolutionary new thinking that spread rapidly throughout Europe and led to reform in almost all areas of society. The Church, already on the decline, had to face a new challenge from the Enlightenment thought as rationalism began to gain popularity, the fixed physical laws governing nature, discovered during the Scientific Revolution, were then applied to human relationships and society, and Enlightenment thought penetrated to the highest level of government as the rulers themselves embraced and implemented its ideas and reforms.


  1. Rational Approach To Religion
· Nature was believed to be rational, which was supported by Newton and many others.
o This must mean that G-d was rational too, so everything in the universe should be logical and rational.
o Encouraged empirical observation.
o Reconciled science and faith; he believed both could coexist and mutually support each other.
· Scientific and enlightened thought threatened to stability and authority of the Church, but the philosophes, the reformist leaders of the enlightenment, were very tolerant.
· The Church, however, was not so willing to compromise.
o They were against rational life and scientific study.
o Original sin made meaningful improvement impossible.
o Bitter about loss of power brought about during the scientific revolution through the discoveries of Copernicus and many others.
· The philosophes were critical of, but did not oppose religion.
o Believed religious toleration was a primary social condition for virtuous life.
o Whereas the Church encouraged working towards the afterlife, the enlightened philosophes focused on the humanist idea of enjoying daily life.
o Voltaire was a well-known intellectual and philosophe that vehemently opposed the Church and Christianity because they led to wars of religion to prove Christianity’s supremacy.
§ He adamantly supported religious toleration.
§ His cry, “Crush the Infamous Thing” epitomized his hatred towards the Roman Catholic Church.
· Deism was formed as an alternative religion for many philosophes.
o It was a religion desired by the philosophes without fanaticism or intolerance.
o Church authority should not substitute the authority of human reason.
o It acknowledged G-d as a divine “watchmaker” that created the universe, set it in motion, then departed.
o Was very rational, followed Newton’s ideas.
o There were two major points of deism:
§ 1. Belief in the existence of G-d.
§ 2. Belief in life after death- rewards and punishments measured by deeds.
o Empirical, tolerant, reasonable, and capable of encouraging virtuous living.
o Hoped it could end the feuds of Christian sects and remove the need for priests and ministers.
· Some enlightened thinkers were very radical, although most were not.
o Voltaire at times was somewhat radical in his thoughts and opinions.
o Hume denied the existence of miracles through a lack of evidence.
o Gibbon explained a natural cause for Christianity.
o Baron d’Holbach and Julien Offray de La Mettrie took positions near atheism and materialism.
· The new print culture that developed at this time had more secular concerns and issues in literature.

  1. Search For Laws In Human Relationships Similar To Those Found In Physical Nature
· Humanity was the center of interest for the philosophes.
o “Man is the unique point to which we must refer everything, if we wish to interest and please amongst considerations the most arid and details the most dry” –From the Encyclopedia.
o Believed applying human reason to society would reveal laws in human relationships similar to those found in physical nature.
o Said “Man” for a reason, there was little improvement for women at this time.
· The idea of social sciences appeared at this time.
o Studied human interactions and society.
o Applied reform when necessary.
· A great deal of reform occurred.
o Cesare Beccaria, an Italian philosophe, wrote “On Crimes and Punishment,” in which he applied critical analysis to the problem of making punishments effective and just.
o Physiocrats in France applied rational thought to economic problems in an effort to improve it.
o Adam Smith also studied economic situations and applied his knowledge of human nature.
§ In his “Wealth of Nations,” Smith promoted “laissez-faire,” which limited government regulation and gave more freedom to the people.
§ He believed that the selfish nature of people would help the economy of a nation if they are free, because they will make sure to make a profit by meeting the needs of others, thereby making the nation profit as well.
o John Locke’s belief that all humans start as “tabula rasa,” meaning a “blank page.”
§ Believes that experience shapes character.
§ Therefore, it is possible to improve the human condition.
§ Rejected the Christian belief that humans are permanently flawed by sin; humans can instead take charge of their own destiny.
o Montesquieu, in “Spirit of the Laws” claims that no set of laws will work for everyone, everywhere, all the time.
§ Stresses the importance and effect of individual people and situations
o Rousseau stressed the importance of general will, direct democracy, and separate spheres.
§ He held strong opinions about human relationships, especially regarding child rearing and the role of women in society.
· The main goal behind discovering laws of human relationships was to find a scientific way to administer effective reforms in areas that required them.
· By using empirical data and scientific methods, organizations and laws can be designed to make society run as smoothly and efficiently as nature.
o A society that runs as effectively as physical nature would maintain peace, order, and prosperity.

  1. Enlightened Absolutism
· Partly as a result of and partly as a response to the spread of enlightenment ideals, enlightened absolutism was born.
· Most of the philosophes supported the existing monarchy and they would rather not oppose power if they could use it for their own purpose.
o Tried to work within the current government and persuade the rulers to pass reforms in their favor.
o Were able to make certain policies benefit their interests.
· Enlightened absolutists, like Frederick the Great of Prussia, Joseph II of Austria, and Catherine the Great of Russia, embraced many ideas of the Enlightenment, while still strengthening their central authority and control.
o They often adopted ideas that benefitted them and their nation.
o The enlightened rulers had much to gain economically.
o There was also the added benefit of gaining public support by adopting policies promoting the Enlightenment.
· Some rulers were truly “enlightened,” however others were not.
o Frederick promoted manufacturing, helped Prussian agriculture, allowed religious toleration, and promoted legal reform.
§ He called himself “the first servant of the State,” separating the state from the ruler and replaced the personal monarchy with the impersonal state.
o Joseph tried to improve life for his people, centralized authority, made a stronger bureaucracy and more efficient tax system with Maria Theresa, expanded the educational system, favored toleration, got rid of internal tariffs, improved the judicial system, abolished serfdom, and proposed a daring new tax system that would require everyone to pay.
§ Although many of his reforms were repealed after his death, the fact that he made them while expanded his authority validates his status as a true enlightened monarch.
o Catherine was the biggest fraud of them all.
§ Although she attempted minor reform, she heavily favored the nobles (partly because they had the power to remove her from the throne).
§ She created a legislative commission to discover and resolve many of the problems of Russia, but it was not very effective. She passed the Charter of the Nobility, guaranteeing many noble rights and privileges.
· One of the major setbacks to the Enlightenment was the difficulty of getting many of its reforms implemented.
o Enlightened absolutists, although they did not fully embrace ideas of the philosophes and often only used those that improved their power, did put some enlightened ideas and reforms into effect.
o They made a big impact in this way and helped to spread enlightened ideas throughout Europe and the world.
· Also, politics and government was another area of reform that the Enlightenment thought needed to permeate.
o Even if very little progress was made, the seeds were planted for later reform and development.

Brett Teplitz

2000 Evaluate how the ideas of Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud challenged Enlightenment assumptions about human behavior and the role of reason.

thesis_funnel.pngSubsequent to the Enlightenment period in European history, a determination to seek advancements in science and philosophy existed. The birth of social scientists, such as Charles Darwin, challenged prior social and ethical thoughts from the Enlightenment as social darwinism and the theory of natural selection caused an abundance of controversy. As a psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud maintained support that the unconscious human mind molded a foundation for one's personality, behavior and their duty of reason.


Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species explains his theory of natural selection which encountered extreme criticism from the religious and scientific communities.

A. The Theory of Natural Selection
a. Charles Darwin did not originate the concept of evolution
b. Worked together with Alfred Russell Wallace formulated the theory of natural selection which explained how species had changed or evolved over time
c. Survival of the fittest-the organisms having a marginal advantage over the others survived and thrived as the others died out
d. Later applied this idea to human beings and stated that humans' moral nature and its physical frame has developed over time in the response to the changing environment

B. Darwin's ideas contradict biblical terms
a. The theory of evolution by natural selection undermined nature's biblical pattern and the concept of the universe
b. Stated that the purpose of God has mechanically developed over time
c. The origin as well as character of humankind on Earth did not use God as an explanation for its existence

C. Social Darwinism
a. Herbert Spencer derived ideas from Darwin and believed that human society progressed through competition
b. All ethical beliefs that differed from the time of the Enlightenment were coined terms of social Darwinism

D. Ethical Beliefs Contradict New Ideas

a. Thomas Henry Huxley declared that the physical cosmic process of evolution contradicted the ideas of the human ethical development
b. Most people tended to believe the scientific view on ethics yet much of the general population were more conservative with their ideas

Sigmund Freud's assessment on the unconscious human mind and psychoanalysis proved to be a successful way in determining human behavior and reason.
A. Freud's Early Theories
a. Had interests in psychic disorders and worked with Jean-Martin Charcot who used hypnosis to treat patients
b. Published his ideas with Josef Breuer and published Studies in Hysteria
c. Later abandoned the idea of hypnosis and discovered that patients neurotic symptoms relate to earlier experiences in their life
d. Concluded that human beings are sexual creatures from birth to adulthood

B. Concern with Dreams
a. Believed that the irrational content of dreams must have a reasonable scientific explanation
b. Concluded that dreams allow unconscious wishes, desires and drives to enjoy freer pay in the mind
c. Argued that unconscious drives and desires contribute to conscious behavior
d. His findings and discoveries were later published in The Interpretation of Dreams

C. Psychoanalysis Divides the Human Mind
a. Id- amoral, irrational, driving instincts for sensual pleasure
b. Superego- embodies external moral imperatives imposed on the personality by society and culture
c. Ego- mediates between the impulses of the id and the superego
d. Revolutionized the idea of human nature and humans were beginning to realize that they were rational thinkers

D. Opposition Faces Freud's Conclusions
a. Carl Jung later questioned the primacy of sexual drives
b. Jung also put in less faith toward Freud's discoveries involving human reason and consciousness
c. Wrote Modern Man In Search Of A Soul which leaned toward mysticism and positive values in religion

By Jared Siegel

2002 Both Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683) and Adam Smith (1723-1790) sought to increase the wealth of their respective countries. How did their recommendations differ?


Jean-Baptiste Colbert, French Minister of Finance under Louis XIV, believed in the ideas of mercantilism, positive balance of trade in ones economy which results in more bullion for yourself and keeps restriction on trade for your people and any other states your country more control or influence. Adam Smith, a physiocrat in the enlightenment, on the other hand believed in the idea of capitalism, which was an idea of free trade amongst your people where competition will make low prices and the “invisible hand” will guide the economy.



· His basic aim was to maximize foreign exports and store the bullion (bars of either gold or silver)
· Used paternalism (tight parent like control over ones colonies)
· Restricts merchants’ ability to trade but instead only allows favorable trade for the government Ex. Putting a high tariff on foreign textiles so you only want to buy the textiles in your own country even if originally they coasted more. Now the money stays in the country not in foreign markets
· Organizing economic activity under state supervision
· Used protective tariffs in order to regulate imports (resources or goods coming in for money) and the exports (giving off resources or goods for money) through the country
· Called for the creation of more national industries or industries with a tight influence on
· Made a smaller but more efficient bureaucracy, which eliminated excess jobs as well as getting rid of many nobles’ tax exempt privileges
· Increased the taille (tax put on the peasantry)
· Increased other indirect taxes as well, this made it possible to tax the nobles easier, since they were exempt from many direct taxes
· Improved collection of taxes
· Made a solid base of economy as well as a commercial power to colonies in the Americas, Africa, and India
· Created and supplied the creation of the French East India Company to rival Britain and the Dutch
· Tried what he could to make the provinces to centralize currency them. Currency exchange rates still continued to be between the provinces despite a policy focusing on the unification of French trade.
· These policies consisted of improving and creating roads and canals


· Wrote, “Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” (1776) Believed economic freedom was the key to a natural and successful economy Believed the mercantile system was a failure waiting to happen
· Thought England needed to drop the navigation acts, tariffs, trading monopolies, and there powerful regulation of trade
· Thought old system only took the wealth of others but was never able to expand a governments economy and production
· Capitalism shows that individuals on interests would stimulate the economy instead of a government protected system
· People would try to gain money by seeking out the needs of other consumers
· The consumers would also expand due to the competition experienced by the manufactures and merchants selling off there products
· Mercantilism was based off the idea of a finite source of resources in the world where everyone would need to fight to get it and for one to prevail all others must fall. But this idea was completely re-invented by smith saying but if we looked at it the other way and there is an endless supply of water, air, soil, mineral, and etc. then all that is needed to be done is to just exploit these resources and all can prosper and grow
· Shows the basic ideas and policies of many modern day countries economies and was a large prelude to the first industrial revolution
· Lais-sez faire- economic policy of a limited role for the government to interfere with the economic life
· The limited role however did include providing schools, armies, navies, and roads. The basic essentials for the growth, protection, and transportation of a society
· Limited role on occasions should also take expand trade routes where economic trade is desired but it is unable to be accessed by a company or another outside force

· Believed the economy could be controlled by the consumers and guided by the “invisible hand”, Smith once said, “If a product shortage were to occur, that product's price in the market would rise, creating incentive for its production and a reduction in its consumption, eventually curing the shortage. The increased competition among manufacturers and increased supply would also lower the price of the product to its production cost plus a small profit, the ‘natural price.’ ”

Matthew Williamson

2003 Describe and analyze the influence of the Enlightenment on both elite culture and popular culture in the 18th century.

thesis_funnel.pngUpon examining how the Enlightenment led to the emergence of a secular print-culture, where learning had a new importance, and how aristocrats and royalty patronized the philosophes (the thinkers of the Enlightenment), it is evident that the Enlightenment had greatly influenced both the elite and popular cultures of the eighteenth century.


  1. The emergence of a secular print-culture
    1. The Enlightenment was the first major intellectual movement of European history to flourish in a print culture, one in which books, journals, newspapers, and pamphlets had achieved a status of their own
      1. The amount of printed materials (i.e. books, journals, magazines and daily newspapers) increased sharply
      2. The printed word was now the chief vehicle for the communication of ideas, replacing word of mouth
    2. Secularism in Literature
      1. People were now more concerned with the everyday and material goods, as opposed to religion as would be shown in the past
      2. Example: At the end of the seventeenth century half of the books published in Paris, France were religious; however, by the 1780’s, only about ten percent were
    3. Libraries
      1. As books were still too expensive for the general population to afford, new means of circulating books and with them, their ideas, in order to reach a larger group.
        1. Most prominent way of this: Libraries
      2. Private and public libraries grew in number and amount of material being held.
      3. This in turn led to a sharp increase in the learning of the general population, which in turn led to a change in popular culture.
        1. Education was no longer only for the rich, but for people of all classes
    4. Public Opinion
      1. An expanding literate public and the growing influence of secular printed materials created a new and increasingly influential social force called public opinion
        1. Defined: The collective effect on political and social life of views circulated in print and discussed in the home, the workplace, and centers of leisure
      2. Effect on elitist and popular culture
        1. Governments could no longer operate in secret or with disregard to the larger public sphere
        2. It led to an increase in power of the voices of the general population, and with this, the popular culture became increasingly heard.
  2. The emergence of aristocrats and royalty as patrons of the philosophes
    1. Salons
      1. In France, the salons of women suchas Marie-Thérése Geofrin, Julie de Lespinasse and Claudine de Tencin gave the philosophes access to useful social and political contacts and a receptive environment in which to circulate their ideas
      2. Association with a fashionable salon brought philosophes increased sales
      3. Additionally, the women who patronized these philosophes were well-connected to major political figures who were able protect the philosopes and pay them pensions to work for them
      4. Salon hostesses purchaed writings of the philosophes
    2. Philosophies in royal courts
      1. Voltaire worked in the court of Frederick II of Prussia
        1. Here he wrote historical and political tracts
      2. Catherine the Great of Russia became a friend of Diderot and Voltaire
Ben Spiegel

2003 Explain why Europe saw no lasting peace in the period between the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 and the Peace of Paris in 1763.

thesis_funnel.pngDuring this time period, monarchies in Europe were going through great change and evolution, causing several political conflicts to occur, namely the transformation of England from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional one, the fight for the Spanish throne and prevention of Bourbon power, and the fight for the Austrian throne and prevention of Hapsburg power.


I The transformation of England from an absolute monarchy, to a constitutional one.

❑ A Due to a war called "The Glorious Revolution"

❑ i Was bloodless, no battles fought
❑ B James II was Catholic, which caused dispute between Whigs and Torries over his claim to the throne
❑ C Parties wished for the throne to pass on to Protestant daughter Mary and her husband, William of Orange
❑ D After a revolution against James, he was forced to flee to France, and William and Mary were asked to take the throne by both Whig and Torries.
❑ E They accepted, and Britain had transfered power successfully
• ❑ E They accepted, and Britain had transfered power successfully
❑ F Forced to sign the "Bill of Rights" before taking the throne

❑ i This document officially transfered England from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional one
❑ ii Spelled out certain rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of petition
❑ iii Declared James II fleeing to France as abdication of the throne.
❑ G The whole "Glorious Revolution" caused international conflict between France, the Netherlands, and especially Britain
❑ H Reaffirmed Britain as a strictly Protistant state
• ❑ H Reaffirmed Britain as a strictly Protistant state

II The fight for the Spanish throne and prevention of Bourbon power.

❑ A Charles II of Spain was unable to produce an heir.
❑ B This caused 2 familes: Bourbon's and Hapsburgs to make claims to the Spanish throne.
❑ i Louis le Grand Dauphin-son of Louis XIV of France
❑ ii Maria Theresa-Charles' half sister
❑ C Fear was that Louis would have control over both France and Spain at the same time, upsetting the European balance of power
❑ D Further conflct was former king of England, James II died, and Louis XIV recgonized his son as heir to the throne, not William of Orange who was currently ruling
❑ E All of these conflicts were conflict enough for full blown war.
❑ F 1701-The War of the Spanish Succession oficially begun
❑ i All major European powers were now involved in some way
❑ G Louis le Grand Dauphin died during this war, and his son Phillip was now in his place for sucession
❑ H In 1714, the war was ended with major French victories
❑ I Peace of Utrecht was signed, making Phillip V king of Spain
❑ i To take the throne he was forced to give up his sucession to the French throne
❑ ii Ceded much land holdings in Italy to Britain.

III The fight for the Austrian throne and prevention of Hapsburg power.

❑ A 1740-Maria Theresa tried to succeed her father as Holy Roman Emperor
❑ B Law prevented a woman from holding the throne, though this was forseen by her father Charles VI
❑ i Charles had almost all German states sign the Pragmatic Sanction allowing her to take the throne.
❑ C Prussia violated this Pragmatic Sanction by invading Italy
❑ D All major nations took sides on the conflict, and the War of the Austrian Succession oficially had begun
❑ E War would last 8 years, until the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was signed in 1748
❑ F Austria lost nothing except Silesia which was ceded to Prussia
❑ G Began anti-austrian feelings in other German states.
❑ H Maria Theresa succssfully took over as the Holy Roman Empress, and assured the Hapsburg line.

--Zach Zadek