January 21, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Political Science, Government
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Rationalism “Age of Reason” The pendulum swings far from Puritans— the obvious dichotomy of time periods

Vocabulary Deism  American Dream  Connotation  Denotation 

Historical Background 

1600’s: Scientific Revolution 

Time to reason and experiment  Sir 

Isaac Newton (1642-1727) Discovers laws of gravity--physics

People want real answers for events  Ex. 

Smallpox breakout: Boston 1721

Cotton Mather (1663-1728)  

Puritan doctor Inoculates 300 people – saves town!!

Creates a life of leisure (faster, easier, better)

Historical Background 

1700-1800’s: The Enlightenment  Questioning

place in life

 Technology

has created free time to think  Ponder: equality, happiness, power, property, government, inalienable rights, freedom, etc.  American  Result

Revolution (1775-1783)

of Enlightenment in the colonies  Declaration of Independence (1776)


Themes and Beliefs

 God

created the universe but does not interfere in its workings  Clockmaker

Analogy– makes the watch, winds it, then leaves it alone

 World

operates according to God’s rules –use reason to discover those rules  “God

made it” stories (origin/creation myths) no longer good enough

 God

wants people to be happy --worship God best by helping other people

Themes and Beliefs 

Conquering vs. surviving nature  Birth

of cities  Self-made Americans emerge  Tradesmen

(silversmith, newspapers)  Making money 

Education  Shift

from moral teachings to practical/scientific

Form and Style Rooted in reality  Appeals to logic  Forms of writing 

 Practical

and sometimes political

 Pamphlets

 Newspaper  Speeches


The Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin

First American tale of the self-made man  Beginning of the American Dream 

Connections??  Do

we see similar Rationalist beliefs and themes today? How? Why? Why/not?  Is there any writing, film, music, etc. today that has a similar form or style to the Rationalists?  Does this connect with any of your other classes? Studies?

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