The Enlightenment was a sprawling intellectual, philosophical, cultural, and social movement that spread through England, France, Germany, and other parts of Europe during the 1700s. Enabled by the Scientific Revolution, which had begun as early as 1500, the Enlightenment represented about as big of a departure as possible from the Middle Ages—the period in European history lasting from roughly the fifth century to the fifteenth.The millennium of the Middle Ages had been marked by unwavering religious devotion and unfathomable cruelty. Rarely before or after did the Church have as much power as it did during those thousand years. With the Holy Roman Empire as a foundation, missions such as the Crusades and Inquisition were conducted in part to find and persecute heretics, often with torture and death. Although standard at the time, such harsh injustices would eventually offend and scare Europeans into change. Science,
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