Lecture 007 - The Enlightenment at Large

Lecture 007 - The Enlightenment at Large - The...

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The Enlightenment at Large – October 1 st , 2008 Enlightened Reforms Enlightened despots were rulers that found a new way to justify their use of power, based on the new idea that a ruler should rule with the goal of improving the conditions of life of his/her subjects. More rulers in the 18 th century came to pride themselves on being “good” rulers. Rulers considered to be “enlightened despots” included Catherine the Great of Russia, Frederick the Great of Prussia, and Marie Therese of Austria. The term despot, however, still had a negative connotation. They would have to impose authoritative measures in order to progress and advance their society. The Enlightenment was a very elitist current of thought. What kinds of means would justify such good goals (Machiavelli)? How far should the application of reason go in changing society? How far aside and fast should old traditions and customs (the church for example) be swept away? European rulers found it extremely hard to implement Enlightened ideas; in fact they were only
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2009 for the course HISTORY 1401 taught by Professor Nathans during the Spring '09 term at UWO.

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