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The Enlightenment And The Emergence Of Free Thinkers

762 words - 4 pages

The Enlightenment brought a wave of new thought and information into a society dominated by one controlling force: The Church. This final authority over the people in these dark times controlled them with religious dogma and powerful “suggestive” power over their state leaders. Being the largest and richest organization in the world for centuries gave The Church the ability to squash any free thinkers. Before the printing press, the majority of the educated and literate were the christian monks who controlled the information, mostly religious texts, and delivered this selected information to the ignorant masses. After the printing press, information could be massed produced and ...view middle of the document...

Voltaire condemns the hypocrisy of the inquisition and points out the unnecessary superstitions in A Treatise on Toleration when he states “perhaps you are reasonable; I am convinced that you wish to do me good; but could I not be saved without all that?”. He points out the irrelevant subject matter and also does an extremely radical move for his time: he poses the notion that “perhaps” you are right. He doesn't bow down without question to authority, he opens his mind to the possibility that THEY MIGHT BE WRONG. This kind of thinking led to a movement of information, science, and knowledge.
After Gutenberg's printing press opened up new avenues of information in books aside from religion, knowledge began to spread as literacy rates began to rise. New ideas from The Enlightenment about public schools, hospitals, and government began circulating and eventually became a reality with countries like The United States and France with Democratic Republics that were created of, by, and for THE PEOPLE. People's lives were no longer dedicated to the will of The Catholic Church, they were dedicated toward the betterment of the people. The Enlightenment provided real quantitative evidence of a better lifestyle.
With this revolution of ideals came a wave of new science and technology. The industrial revolution, a product of...

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