The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment of the 16th and 17th centuries revolutionized thought and learning. Scholasticism and humanism were replaced with rationalism and the scientific method- empiricism. Scientists were aided by funding by some governments, while others could reject findings that conflicted with their authority. Scientists, or philosophers, were both praised and condemned by religious authorities for either glorifying the intellect of God through research or delving into matter of which only the Scriptures had intellectual authority. The society of other scientists allowed them to combine ideas, while women's expected role kept them from succeeding in the same real. All in all, we see that political, religious, and social factors could both aid and hold back the work of scientists.
As science was popularized in the Enlightenment, governments found they would gain wealth and prestige through funding and encouraging scientific research. Jean Baptiste Colbert, the financial minister under Louis XIV, knew this well and suggested that they cause "the arts and science to flourish" by establishing "several academies for both letters and sciences." This would increase the "splendor and happiness of the state (Doc 11)." In fact, Louis XIV had visited the French Royal Academy six years before Colbert sent him this letter, as shown in Document 10, showing his consideration for the activities and possible finding of the Academy. Still, political patrons of the sciences had the power to censor or reject the findings of their protégés. One French monk and natural philosopher, Marin Mersenne, told his patron directly in writing: "if you object to anything, I am ready to remove it entirely (Doc 5)." Than said, he went on to assert the validity of his experiments. Mersenne was willing to make his work acceptable to his noble patron because he needed the funding. Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher, reasoned that humans were inherently guilty in the...
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