Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Enlightenment, Age of
As a historical epoch, “The Age of Enlightenment” comprises the crucial developments of Western civilization in the 18th century. In France, which is considered the cradle of the Enlightenment, this period included the time from the death of Louis XIV (1715) until the coup d'état of Napoleon Bonaparte (1799). But Enlightenment was spread also over Europe, involving a range of developments in Germany, Britain, Scotland, and Russia, and crossed even further over the Atlantic to influence the substantial events in the history of North America. The founding fathers of the United States were devoted followers of either British or French Enlightenment thought. The Enlightenment is generally known as a broad social, political, cultural, and intellectual movement, which had been the culmination of a longer period, initiated by the Renaissance and Humanism of the 14th and 15th centuries and followed by Reformation and the natural philosophy and science revolutions of the ...