Impact of Enlightenment

325 Words2 Pages
1) Evaluate the ways in which the different approaches to Enlightenment held by France, Britain, and America impacted their own societies. Thesis: The extreme and different approach of to Enlightenment of the French alienated it from the British and Americans, and also led to the destruction of the country. Both America and Britain had a moderate reform, while the French had an extreme upheaval that led to its ruin. All three Enlightenments were based on the same concepts of reason, liberty and justice. Britain built their Enlightenment on ‘social virtues’, not reason. They believed ‘social virtues’ (sympathy, altruism, kindness, etc.) made a society stable. They did not refuse reason, but simply used it as a way to achieve the end. The British made reasonable reforms within their society, and made their society better through their reforms. Like Himmelfarb had mentioned, Edmund Burke should be associated with the British Revolution. According to Burke, the French would have bought good to their society had they made moderate reforms. Similar to the British, the Americans were latitudinarian. This meant that they accepted an extensive variety of attitudes. The Americans wished for ‘politics of liberty’, and like the British, did not view reason as their ‘end’. They wanted freedom in their society, and achieved it through a series of reasonable reforms. The approach the French took was drastically different from the reasonable path the British and Americans took. Unlike the previous countries, France viewed reason as their end and their ‘new truth’. Thus, France’s attitude on ‘latitudinarian’ is one of disdain. Under the reign of ‘reason’, the French began to overthrow their society rather than make reasonable improvements. There were constant rebellions and overthrow of powers, which led to the Reign of Terror. Conclusion: Although the 3 revolutions were
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