The Age of Enlightenment (or simply the Enlightenment, or Age of Reason) is an era from the 1620s to the 1780s in which cultural and intellectual forces in Western Europe emphasized Logic reason, analysis, and individualism rather than traditional lines of authority. It was promoted by philosophers and challenged the authority of institutions that were deeply rooted in society, especially the Roman Catholic Church; there was much talk of ways to reform society with toleration, science and skepticism.

Philosophers including René Descartes (1596–1650), John Locke (1632–1704), Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), Montesquieu (1689-1755), Voltaire (1694–1778), David Hume (1711–1776), Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), Isaac Newton (1642–1727)[1] and Thomas Paine (1737–1809) influenced society by publishing widely read works.

New ideas and beliefs spread around the continent and were fostered by an increase in literacy due to a departure from solely religious texts. . Some of these ideals proved influential and decisive in the course of the French Revolution, which began in 1789.


  1. Sootin, Harry. "Isaac Newton." New York, Messner(1955)

Adapted from Wikipedia