The Age Of Reason Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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and power with reason. By 1750 the realignment of the old and the new forces in British and French society was already far advanced. Britain had undergone a “Great Rebellion” and a “Glorious Revolution” in the seventeenth century. It was the first in Christian Europe. In France, the Bourbon monarchy had already produced in the 17th century its great autocrat, Louis XIV. He curbed the power of the nobility and imposed upon the state, a centralized, bureaucratic mechanism. The absolute monarchy under Louis XIV’s successors failed to combine the nobility and the bourgeoisie. Toward the end of the century the rivalry of these two classes was sharply stressed until it flared forth in a civil war. This was the French Revolution. The intellectuals used the discoveries and the

methods of science to refute and to mock the teachings of medieval Christianity. They turned the attention of their contemporaries to the pursuit of happiness, and tried to free them both from fear of the church and respect for the aristocracy. The whole history of the 18th century could be written in terms of a struggle for power among dynastic states on the European continent and in the colonies. Battles were fought intermittently throughout the country. By the eve of the French Revolution, the European states system as formulated at the Peace of Utrecht had undergone rather important altercations. The traditional diplomatic alignment of Bourbon versus Hapsburg had been upset by the rise of Russia and Prussia. These two states of eastern Europe had emerged as nations of great

potential power; the impact of their dynamic expansionism was first felt in this period.