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Big Era Six: Closeup Unit 6.6.1

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Leaders of the Enlightenment
1650 – 1800 CE

Why This Unit?

The Enlightenment is credited with changing the way Europeans thought about government, politics, property, and liberty. Influenced by the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution, these thinkers wanted to apply a new perspective, using reason, to examine the way society functioned. The exchange and diffusion of ideas on government, religion, and human rights led to changes in the structure of society and government in Europe. Many of the ideas of the Enlightenment thinkers influenced the political reforms and revolutionary ideas of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The Enlightenment remains today a vital part of the world’s intellectual, cultural, and political heritage.

 

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Explain how the main ideas of the Enlightenment can be traced back to the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution.

2. Identify, compare, and contrast Enlightenment thinkers and their ideas.

3. Describe how major political reforms and revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were influenced by Enlightenment thinkers.

4. Analyze the diffusion of Enlightenment ideals and their influence globally.

5. Formulate and support a hypothesis using evidence.

 

Time and Materials

This unit is designed to be completed within 5 days of 55-minute classes. Materials are specified within each lesson. A computer will be needed for the PowerPoint presentation.

Table of Contents

Why this unit?

2

Unit objectives

2

Time and materials

2

Author

2

The historical context

3

This unit in the Big Era timeline

5

Lesson 1: Enlightenment vocabulary

6

Lesson 2: Roots of the Enlightenment (accompanying PowerPoint presentation)

8

Lesson 3: Who were the Enlightenment thinkers?

10

Lesson 4: Democratic thought and “enlightened despots”

25

This unit and the Three Essential Questions

39

This unit and the Seven Key Themes

39

This unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking

39

Resources

40

Correlations to National and State Standards

41

Conceptual links to other lessons

42

Complete Teaching Unit in PDF Format

 

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer, download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view, download Adobe Acrobat Reader.