Enlightenment & Great Awakening

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, American Revolution Pages: 2 (564 words) Published: September 22, 2012
The Enlightenment shook the grounds of Europe, seeking a more intellectual society. Centuries later, the Great Awakening had a similar effect on America; pulling the colonies back to religion. Although the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening were pushing for two different causes, and took place on opposite sides of the globe, the two eras are quite alike. Both of these time periods produced profound intellectual and religious ideas. A major goal of the Enlightenment was to utilize the means learned from the scientific revolution to the problems of society using reason and observation. The leaders of this movement aimed to enlighten others through discussions and writing about new ideas about the future. Attention being drawn to the future suggested that old traditions should be abolished. Enlightenment philosophers were aiming to minimize the power of the government and the Roman Catholic Church over society. The Great Awakening was a reaction to the Enlightenment, wanting to turn people back to religion and God. The Great Awakening looked for a religious unity and was directed towards people who were previously members of the church. It modified their rituals and piousness. Both of these movements emphasized the importance of the individual, promoted equality, and challenged authority. Almost every factor of Western civilization was influenced or created somehow by the Enlightenment. These factors include individual rights, knowledge, and free enterprise, scientific and civic improvements. These aspects eventually led to military expertise, industrial advances, as well as improvements in government. People started to not to depend on church and the kings and to look more towards themselves to make their own decisions. Literacy rates all over Europe improved significantly. A new demand was created for the printing of books and news papers. Ignorance was now considered evil and this form of evil was blamed on the religious and political leaders. The biggest...
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