Enlightened Despotism

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3. Why is Romanticism described as a reaction against the Enlightenment? What factors represent a change in perception and understanding?
In the book, The Beginning of the English Romantic Movement, William Lyon Phelps asserted that “the romantic movement, while it followed its own genius, was not altogether unguided.” Put differently, he claimed that new movements, like Romanticism, were a reaction of some elements of the movement that preceded it, and a consequence of the progressions made by previous influential thinkers. Applying this approach, Romanticism’s source can be traced back to the enlightened writers who fought censorship in the pursuit of truth and understanding, a cornerstone of Enlightenment thinking. For example, Bayle developed
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I would describe Napoleon as an Enlightened despot because he satisfies all of their characteristics. Firstly, Napoleon standardized the law across the country by creating the Napoleonic Code, a unified judicial system influence by the Enlightenment ideals whereby it affirmed natural and civil rights. Secondly, Napoleon agreed with the other Enlightened Despots like Joseph II on educational reform, a major enlightenment idea. Through the Concordat of 1801, Napoleon established a system in which free primary public schools were maintained by Catholic church and set of secondary schools organized by the state. Furthermore, Napoleon’s rule, while authoritarian, remained inclusive by emphasizing that people should be judged by their actions rather than their social class, another Enlightenment ideal. As a result, Napoleon set up a meritocracy, a system in which positions are based on a person’s qualifications instead of their status. Finally, while he made Catholic Church the preferred religion in the Concordat of 1801, he also held his consistent conviction of judging men according to their ability with regards to religious …show more content…
Through challenging common views of the world, they promoted a novel way of thinking that relied on skepticism and empiricism rather than accepting fundamental truths. For example, the Revolution’s astronomers like Copernicus and Kepler challenged the Church’s view that the Earth was selected by God as the center of the physical and spiritual universe. This questioning of the natural laws that left little room for a God, caused philosophers to rethink His nature and existence. Some of society, spurred on by philosophers, rejected the idea of a God while proposed the idea of Deism, a belief in a distant, non-interfering deity that pictured God as a "Watchmaker". Then with the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century, rational thought and reason were applied to society. Prominent French intellectuals, known as philosophes, repudiated the authority of religion, the shackles of tradition, and the power of the Catholic Church and replaced it with rational thinking and human intelligence. One of the most important figures of the Enlightenment, John Locke, inspired the French Revolution with his support on religious tolerance, human equality and liberty and his opinions on the role of law and government. Many thinkers of Enlightenment also argued against slavery and described it as a violation

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