By: Serena, Ashley, Sarah, Drew
Voltaire, Diderot, Montesquieu
Voltaire was known as the greatest figure in the Enlightenment era. Although he studied law, his passion was writing. He was a successful playwright who wrote 2 tragedies, Edipe and Henriade. In his Philosophic Letters, he wrote about English life. Especially its freedom of the press, political freedom and religious acceptance. He criticized Frances royal absolutism, lack of religious toleration and freedom of thought.
Denis Diderot, one of the philosophers of the Enlightenment era, pioneered revolutionary thoughts, which gained him a place among the great thinkers that formed part of the Enlightenment movement. Through his works, specially the Encyclopedia, Diderot extensive information and recent scientific discoveries like the size of the universe. His humanitarian and radical ideals helped transform society’s view of the human being. He robustly opposed slavery. By expressing his modern and liberal ideas Diderot incited people to think and join him in the struggle for social and political change. Denis Diderot collected and presented scattered knowledge of the divine rights, reasoning, and toleration, and in doing so, ushered in Europe’s modern era.
Montesquieu was one of the first of the Enlightenment philosophers to prescribe both universal and specific laws to individual societies and their governments. Misinterpreting the English government as made up of three separate parts (in reality in the English government, the legislative and judiciary were combined in the power of parliament), Montesquieu discussed both his most favorite form of government (separation of power, especially in a constitutional monarchy), and the different types of government that suited the specific situations of a country, i.e., its size, population, climate, soil, etc.