Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794)

Sketch of a historical picture of the progress of the human mind





 (1751-1772) Encyclopédie

Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers

Denis Diderot,  Jean de Rond d’Alembert



Ephraim Chamber’s Cyclopaedia.

enkuklios paideia

1620 New Organon Francis Bacon










Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712-1778



“Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains”


The Social Contract

“general will




Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, (1746-1827)








François-Marie Arouet: Voltaire (1694-1778)


Candide, 1759

Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm (1646-1716)


          Lisbon earthquake:

                   An eyewitness account by Rev. Charles Davy



Catherine II to Voltaire, on the role of enlightened thinkers: “combat the enemies of mankind: superstition, fanaticism, ignorance, quibbling, evil judges, and the powers that rest in their hands











                   Journal de Paris 1771

The Times 1785 (circulation 5000 by 1815 >> within 40 years: 50,000 issues)


          “general will”

          “social contract”


Carl Becker: The Heavenly City of Eighteenth-Century Philosophers 1932

Theodor Adorno: Dialectic of Enlightenment 1947

Peter Gay: The Enlightenment 1995

Melton, James van Horn: The Rise of Public in Enlightenment Europe 2001


Edward Wilson: Consilience 2003

     I believe that the Enlightenment thinkers of the 17th and 18th centuries got it mostly right the first time...”


“... all tangible phenomena, from the birth of stars to the workings of social institutions, are based on material processes that are ultimately reducible, however long and tortuous the sequences, to the laws of physics."
























Turgot’s reforms

1775: “Flour War” in France

Pugachev revolt 1773-74





ancien régime


Louis XVI (1754-1793)                             Marie-Antoinette (1755-1793)





Abbé de Sieyés: (1748-1836) “What is the third estate?”


          Estates General

Cahiers des doléances




          Estates General

Cahiers des doléances


June 17:  National Assembly




June 20: Tennis Court Oath




                    GREAT FEAR OF JULY 1789




14 July Storming of the Bastille



Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834)







August 23, 1789:

Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen


1. Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good.

2. The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.

3. The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.

4. Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.

5. Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.

6. Law is the expression of the general will. Every citizen has a right to participate personally, or through his representative, in its foundation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in the eyes of the law, are equally eligible to all dignities and to all public positions and occupations, according to their abilities, and without distinction except that of their virtues and talents.


9. As all persons are held innocent until they shall have been declared guilty, if arrest shall be deemed indispensable, all harshness not essential to the securing of the prisoner's person shall be severely repressed by law.


          (The Avalon Project



Olympie de Gouges (1748-1793): Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen