The Enlightenment

By: Anderson Kim

Major Ideas

The Enlightenment was a period of time when a cultural movement of intellectuals in the 18th century Europe emphasizing reason and individualism. It's purpose was to reform society using reason, to challenge ideas grounded in tradition and faith.

1. One of the major ideas was to abolish serfdom, which meant to stop slavery. That would help with the idea of more freedom provided to each citizen. People shouldn't have the right of controlling another person without their consent.

2. Another major idea of The Enlightenment punishment and justice. Most European states had developed a system of courts to deal with the punishment of crime. Punishments were often cruel. The states police force was weak, so they had to make the punishment really cruel so people were avoiding any crimes.

3. Centralizing the government was another idea, which means that the government has 3 different branches (Judicial, Executive, and Legislative). All of these branches have power over each other, so that one of the branches doesn't gain too much power. This system provides greatest freedom and security for the state.

4. Giving people more freedom was another major idea, meaning that people deserve more freedom to do whatever they want instead of having restrictions. People have the right to choose what they do. The laissez-faire meaning to let people do what they want.


Montesquieu was a huge impact towards The Enlightenment period, he came from the French nobility. In his study of the governments, Montesquieu tried to use the scientific method to find the natural laws that govern the social and political relationships of human beings. Montesquieu indentified three basic kinds of governments (1) republics, suitable for small states; (2) despotism, appropriate for large states; and (3) monarchies, ideal for moderate size states. Montesquieu was a powerful person that had great influence among others. He was into government and developing the 3 beaches which made a big impact towards the government then and now.


Science has always been happening throughout history, and there have been major contributions from multiple scientists. During The Enlightenment a huge problem was that people were concerned about the physical world. But the scientific method changed that, it was a systematic procedure for collecting and analyzing evidence. The scientific method was crucial to the evolution of science in the modern world. The founder of the scientific method was actually not a scientist, his name was Francis Bacon, an English philosopher with few scientific credentials.