brief 4 - Dr. Welch HIS 240 12/13/06 Brief Four:...

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Dr. Welch HIS 240 12/13/06 Brief Four: Absolutism, the Enlightenment, French Revolution As the enlightenment took firm hold of Europe, individuals began to emerge in various countries with radical ideas and theories. These Age of Reason thinkers would turn the European world on its head. Their ideas about government would set the stage for the emergence of Western democratic powers, and would reform the very way we live in society. Looking back at history, many enlightenment historians began to wonder if they could write history in a reasonable manner. Edward Gibbon took up this banner, and began to pen extensively on the Roman Empire. He attempted to rationalize history in a reasonable manner, and to explain events in term of logic. Also, regarding the church, he took on and expanded his idea of an enlightened theory of Christianity. His “systematic explanations” broke down and attempted to explain the intricacies involved in the fall of an empire. This reasonable and logical approach to history is something we westerners take for granted, because it is what we are accustomed to. Breaking events down, examining them, and attempting to come up with a rationale explanation is a method we employ at every scientific and historical venture. This is a fantastic shift from the divinely inspired events that have been written about in the past. Also, the fact of racial and cultural prejudice is no longer prevalent. Armies no longer win because their people are “better,” but win due to tactics, or perhaps superior arms.
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As ideas concerning government began to be passed back and forth, thinkers can be categorized in two groups. One group would be classical conservatives, people who
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This note was uploaded on 06/27/2008 for the course HIS 240 taught by Professor Welch during the Fall '06 term at Mt. Wachusett.

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brief 4 - Dr. Welch HIS 240 12/13/06 Brief Four:...

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