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Unformatted text preview: Western Civilization II Chapter Twenty-Five The Birth of Modern European Thought The New Reading Public In 1850 approximately one-half of western Europe was illiterate while most of the population of Russia was illiterate. Following the revolutions of 1848, mass public education saw steady gains throughout Europe. By 1900, about 85% of the people of Western Europe were literate, whereas in Eastern Europe rates ranged from 30 to 60%. The Three- Rs Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic, was the basis for public education throughout Europe. Conservatives and liberals both favored such education in order to develop an better informed group of voters. They also hoped a better educated workforce would allow for a more prosperous country. Supported the Enlightenment idea that : right knowledge would lead to right action. Readings for the Masses A more literate Europe led to the development of a new market for various reading materials. Cheap mass-circulation newspapers. Le Petit Journal (Paris) Daily Mail & Daily Express (London) Advertising found in the papers promoted the purchase of new consumer products created by the Second Industrial Revolution. Since most of the readership was only semi-literate many of the newspapers of the day relied on sensationalism and political scandals. Though overall the subject matter of the literature of the day was quite low, it was a breeding ground for more advanced learning and a more informed public. Science of the Mid 19 th Century Positivism During the early 1800s Auguste Comte, later known as the Father of Sociology, would write his most famous work, The Positive Philosophy. Comte believed that human thought had developed in three logical stages. Theological Stage Physical nature explained in terms of the actions of gods. Metaphysical Stage Abstract ideas were used to explain natural laws. Positive Stage You can discover and explain laws of social behavior thru research and experimentation. The work of Comte showed that knowledge in any area of study should use scientific methods in discovering solutions to social problems. Charles Darwin The Origin of Species, published in 1859, by Charles Darwin, may have caused one of the greatest debates in history between the world of religion and science....
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