The Enlightenment in America
Jul 09, 1999
This course will begin by examining the crucial philosophic ideas that established the foundation for the culturewide embrace of reason during the Enlightenment. American intellectuals, drawing on Locke and Newton, created a culture that set the mind free as they struggled for political independence. After surveying the accomplishments of a handful of minor figures, the course will focus special attention on Americaís pair of intellectual giants, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, men who advanced human knowledge in fields as diverse as botany, zoology, electricity, astronomy, archeology, paleontology, scientific agriculture and mathematics. The course will conclude with a discussion of how the American Enlightenment helped set the stage for the Industrial Revolution and an examination of some philosophic mistakes that began to dismantle those achievements.