Catherine The Great’s Enlightened Policies

From the minute Catherine the Great seized the thrown in 1762, enlightened policies were enacted. That very year, She published The Manifesto Freeing the Nobility From Compulsory Service. In this script she grants the release of all nobility from the Table of Ranks, and preserves this right for future generations to come. Within this document Catherine stresses the new right to travel, showing her desire for a more cultured and global perspective for the nobility. Although the Manifesto repeals Peter the Great’s Table of Ranks, it also praises his work for progressing the military as well as civil and educational affairs.… Read the rest here

18th Century Serfdom

Something that stood out to me in this chapter was the quote by Sumner at the beginning of the reading.  He states that serfdom lasted longer in Russia than in the West because “humanitarian and other ideas of the value of the individual spirit were little developed.”  It is strange to attempt to reconcile that fact that Catherine the Great set up a Noble Wardship and a Bureau of Public Welfare for the peasants but that she was also the monarch responsible for entrenching serfdom the most.  … Read the rest here


In Mary Wollstonecraft’s The Vindication of the Rights of Women, she postulates that women are seen as being “under men” as they have been viewed as less important since the dawn of time. While I understand what she is saying and completely agree that women need to have more rights (especially in this day and age), women in general have let this “discrimination” happen to them over the course of history. What we think of as the classic housewife was what a woman strived to be for the majority of human history – a baby factory that would take care of the kids, clean the house and prepare the meals.… Read the rest here

The Great French Transition

The French Revolution was the first major upheaval of state run institutions that resulted in the under appreciated getting what they desired. As a result of the turnover from a Kingdom to a Republic, the first and second estate were brought to its knees by the populace, who in turn were able to demand a change in how they were governed. This transitionary period modified everything about French culture – everything had become more secular and new-age.… Read the rest here

Revolutionary Popular Thought and Culture in France

The French Revolution transformed France from a society based on the tradition of divine right rule of kings and fixed social status of clergy, nobility, and peasantry, to a new political order based on the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The new political order sought to change virtually everything the monarchy had established. The tax system was abolished and decision-making was taken out of the hands of the monarchy and clergy. The third estate was able to attain the rights to land ownership, which provided financial relief such that a larger more diverse population could now live prosperously.… Read the rest here

French Revolution Political and Cultural Ties

During the French Revolution, the political philosophies and the cultural identity of the people were very closely intertwined. Both influenced by the internalized philosophies of the Enlightenment, the transformations in each category was an attempt to influence the other. It is most apparent of these ties when looking at direct examples of revolutionary culture, and how basic elements of daily life transitioned so that even the smallest changes reflected the desired political philosophies.
The influences of the Enlightenment showed a mentality shift towards reason and progress- to Frenchmen at the time, this meant stepping away from the monarchy and towards democracy.
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What is Enlightenment?

Kant defines enlightenment as “man’s release from self-incurred tutelage” with tutelage being “man’s inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another.” More than anything, enlightenment is a state of mind. It requires the privilege to think freely and the mental acuity to take advantage of this acuity. Enlightenment comes solely from within and cannot be attained through the assistance of periphery sources. While it necessitates the ability to think critically and analytically for oneself, enlightenment only occurs when one makes full and total use of this ability.… Read the rest here

What is Enlightenment?

Enlightenment is the abandonment of tutelage; the active seeking out of knowledge, freedom of thought, and the answers to earthly, religious, and spiritual queries. It is a process, not a state of being; to be truly and fully enlightened is a state of being that is unattainable. Enlightenment is particularly important in the presence of monarchs and despots who may restrict certain freedoms of their subjects. It is essential that the subjects of a monarchy question and argue in favor of freedom of thought, and not blindly obey in the face of an unjust and unenlightened tyrant.… Read the rest here

What is Enlightenment?

According to Immanual Kant enlightenment is defined as “man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage.” Kant argues that a large majority of the population cannot experience enlightenment because of laziness and cowardice. “Have courage to use your reason” is the quote that is used which best describes what Kant was saying the challenges are. Kant is very critical of man saying that it is extremely difficult for them to reach enlightenment. What’s interesting is that he is saying all of this during his time, which would lead to an interesting discussion trying to determine if Kant thinks anyone can achieve enlightenment in today’s culture?… Read the rest here

What is enlightenment?

Enlightenment is the ability to think for yourself instead of being guided by a ruler. It takes courage to step out from complacence and into enlightenment. According to Kant, certain political ramifications are necessary to achieve this. Public use of reason must not be restricted while private use of reason must be restricted. Therefore the people should question why they do what they do, but not necessarily change it. In fact, if changing it would overthrow the government, that is not enlightenment.… Read the rest here